A therapy that uses electrical energy to speed up recovery time
When we talk about professional electro-stimulators, we mean electrotherapy. The current discharges used by this equipment are low-frequency and are very often used in the medical physiotherapeutic treatment of normoinnervated and/or denervated muscle tissue, in pain or circulatory syndromes and in the treatment of hypotonic or hypotrophic muscle states by means of passive gymnastics.
Athletes use electro-stimulation to increase muscle mass, but it can also be useful for people who have suffered injuries, trauma or ligament ruptures and have been forced to take a long break from physical activity. Professional electro-stimulators, along with the right training programme to strengthen muscles, help stimulate muscle fibres to recreate lost mass.
Muscle electro-stimulators are used to relieve pain and increase muscle mass. After an injury, electrotherapy can help re-educate the muscles to contract and is an important ally in restoring brain signals in patients with neurological damage. In the field of aesthetic therapy, on the other hand, this equipment is mainly used to treat cellulite or to lose weight; however, there are no studies confirming the positive effects of this equipment for toning the buttocks or abdominals. These results can in fact be achieved through proper nutrition and constant physical training, but electro-stimulation cannot replace movement to strengthen muscles.
Electrostimulators send small electric pulses through the skin to stimulate muscles and nerves, trying to mimic the nervous system. By using a series of repeated cycles of contraction and relaxation, blood flow increases in the muscles which helps them to heal faster. This therapy is suitable for people who need to regain strength after an injury.
Electrical stimulation can take place in two ways: transcutaneous (TENS) or electrical (EMS), depending on the power used and the patient’s needs. This stimulation is performed with a device that creates a current applied to the patients’ skin via adhesive sensors. The underlying muscle tissue is stimulated, causing a sensory response and a current-induced contraction.
The therapist chooses the type of current to use based on the patient’s need. The main currents used are TENS and EMS.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is an electrostimulation technique that helps relieve pain through small pulses of current in the areas to be treated. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including neck pain, arthrosis, periarthritis, back pain, etc.
Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS), on the other hand, is used to obtain benefits in sports or rehabilitation. Here, electrical impulses act on the muscle and create contractions that are very similar to voluntary muscle contractions. The aim of this type of therapy is to improve explosive strength, speed and endurance.
Professional electro-stimulators in the sport field are able to treat muscle injuries such as strains and sprains by stimulating movement. They also relieve the pain of the injury and accelerate healing. More specifically, electrotherapy treatment helps to:
Relieve muscle pain
Improve blood circulation in muscles
Repair a damaged muscle
Improve explosive strength, speed and endurance
There is always a risk factor when an electric current is induced in the body, especially when this type of therapy is done in a home setting without a professional therapist. If the machine has not been properly serviced, unintentional electrical discharges may be accidentally released on the muscle during the treatment, causing muscle burns that can worsen the patient’s situation. The therapies must be carried out in special centres and cannot be given to certain categories of people, such as pregnant women, epileptics, people with cardiac problems or pacemakers. In any case, it is always a good idea to seek a doctor’s advice before using this therapy.
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