The potential benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) are undeniable. Possible positive side effects include cellulite reduction, muscle building, and more. One of the most obvious downfalls of traditional resistance training is muscle soreness. However, EMS has also proven beneficial for muscle recovery.
For most of us, the discomfort following an intense workout is something we’ve grown accustomed to. Following leg-day, you might find it difficult to even walk up a single flight of stairs.
Muscle soreness that shows up a day or two after exercising can affect us all, regardless of your fitness level. Often, the level of soreness is celebrated – equated to the level of intensity with which the previous day’s workout was performed.
Sore muscles after physical activity occurs when you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or increase the duration or intensity of your regular workout.
When muscles are required to work harder than they’re used to or in a different way, it’s believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibers, resulting in muscle soreness or stiffness.
The stiff, achy sensation following a grueling workout is normal, and typically goes away within a couple days. Until now, heat, ice, or a massage were the only relieving factors.
EMS Improves Muscle Recovery
Thanks to EMS, there’s a better way to treat your sore muscles. The TENS unit, developed by C. Norman Shealy, has been used since the 1970s for pain management therapies. But with the advancement of EMS technology, we’re able to use similar technology for new purposes. And one of those purposes is muscle recovery.
Professional athletes and average men and women can benefit from using EMS muscle recovery protocols. EMS improves muscle recovery by helping muscles warm up to proactively prevent excessive post-workout soreness. EMS can also be used to treat damaged or achy muscle tissue through massage and muscle recovery protocols.
Chiropractors and massage therapists commonly use EMS for its endorphin production. The varying pulses help increase blood flow and circulation to decrease soreness, stiffness, and aches. There are also features that create rapid contractions that squeeze the blood out of the capillary beds and make room for fresh blood to supply the muscle with the oxygen and nutrients your muscles need to recover.
EMS Provides Complete Muscle Contraction
We are continually bombarded by stress in today’s fast-paced society. Both physical and psychological stress leads to harmful symptoms related to ongoing fatigue. In addition to anxiety, this tension impairs our our body’s autonomic signals within our brain and body.
The involuntary muscle contraction provided by EMS alleviates the body from certain amounts of stress that the body would otherwise be forced to undergo. EMS requires no central nervous system input, and prevents the brain from needlessly exerting energy.
Combining EMS with traditional training provides an improved training experience because the result of both methods provides a more effective training scenario but with less energy needed to be exerted. Using particular stimulation frequency is especially beneficial for targeting fast-twitch muscle fiber.
EMS Helps Repair Damaged Muscle Tissue
EMS technology has also been used to help diagnose problems related to fatigue and injury in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. An Olympic weightlifter, unable to fully recover through conventional treatment after a severe knee injury, adopted EMS protocols to strengthen the knee.
As Derek Hansen, MASc, CSCS, an international sport performance consultant explains, “In essence, the lifter’s brain was not allowing the muscles to contribute fully to the movement of the knee joint in basic squatting and pulling motions. Because the message from brain to muscle was not getting through, inhibition was dominating the program.”
EMS was used to repair the damaged connection between the body and the brain. It allowed the Olympian to progress through the rehabilitation helping the body contract the damaged tissue. And by monitoring the amount of current needed for contraction, the team was able to monitor the progress of muscle rehab.
This isn’t the only time an Olympian has incorporated EMS protocols into recovery. Edwin Moses, the 62-year-old track Olympian who broke the world record in the 400m hurdles during the Montreal Olympics, has also experienced the benefits of EMS during recovery.
However, his injury didn’t take place during training. Moses fell down the stairs while carrying a load of household items and ended up in the hospital, unable to walk, and potentially paralyzed. He rejected the traditional recovery process he was offered and instead turned to Rene Felton Bessozi, renowned therapist and coach of the Italian Olympic track team.
“I started working with him on Sept. 26, and on Oct. 26, he was able to fly over to Switzerland by himself”, Felton Bessozi said. “I know how fast the body can recover. The human body is the most phenomenal machine on the planet.”
Through workouts that involved pool work, EMS stimulation, and weights, Felton Bessozi was able to help Moses achieve an expedited complete recovery.
EMS Expedites Recovery
We live busy lives. One of the most notable benefits of EMS and EMS training is the efficiency it provides to the individual using it. When we experience an injury, the last thing we want to do is adhere to a lengthy rehab process.
Faster recovery can be obtained through active recovery protocols that promote circulatory mechanism within the body. When you experience an injury, an EMS pulsing program will promote circulation and also help loosen muscles.
Ongoing use of EMS prevents your muscles from becoming sore and stiff. This is especially beneficial for frequent travelers. The resulting supple muscles will promote more relaxed sleep. And better sleep provides your body more opportunity to recover.
The benefits of EMS technology go beyond efficient exercise routines. The positive impact EMS has on muscle tissue benefits both athletes and non-athletes alike. Whether you’ve experienced a sports-related muscle injury or have stiff, achy muscles from frequent travel, you will benefit from EMS therapy.
Charles Laverty is chief executive officer and founder of Nuzuna. Mr. Laverty has committed four decades to health and fitness starting with his studies in physical education at Parsons College in Fairfield Iowa. An advocate for wellness and physical education, Mr. Laverty is a well-regarded writer and speaker on issues affecting the US healthcare system including adult and childhood obesity, coronary disease and healthcare reform.