Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
EMS is predominately used by physical therapists to prevent or reduce muscle atrophy. Atrophy is the weakening and loss of muscle tone, and is usually experienced after surgeries or injuries. EMS has proven to be an effective means of preventing muscle atrophy. Physical Therapists also see EMS as a means of increasing blood flow to muscles, increasing range of motion, increasing muscle strength, and enhancing muscle endurance.
During an exercise, your brain sends a message down the spinal cord through the nerves with all the muscles you're using that causes them to relax and contract. This is called voluntary muscle action. Your brain is controlling the muscle. The brain sends this message to the "motor point" of your muscle. When the EMS is used, the electrodes are placed over the motor points of the muscle group to be exercised. When the stimulation is applied through the pads, the signal finds its way to these motor points and causes the muscle to expand and contract. This makes it possible to duplicate a conventional exercise, similar to an isometric exercise.
Studies have shown that EMS stimulates large nerve axons (long outgrowths of a nerve cell body), some of which you cannot stimulate voluntarily. It is possible that EMS might allow for additional muscle hypertrophy (growth), endurance and strength.
At this clinic we use various forms of EMS including Russian Stimulation. Russian Stimulation uses a high frequency of 2500 Hz sinusoidal carrier wave, interrupted to create pulse trains or bursts. This current allows for deeper muscle penetration and a more complete/stronger contraction of the muscle fibers. Originally developed by the Russian Olympic team for muscle mass enhancement, EMS is now often used for muscle strengthening, muscle spasms and edema reduction.
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