Does Using A Tens Unit Burn Calories? We have researched how to use tens machine for weight loss. Below, in this article, you will find electronic muscle stimulator for weight loss side effects. Read on to discover them.
The term Electric Muscle Stimulation or EMS needs some clarification, so I will attempt to dissect the facts, fiction and certain laws to prevent misleading advertising!
This article is primarily vendor non-specific, but I will point out the differences in the various SpeedCoach EMS models based on phone calls and emails I receive on a weekly basis.
Does Using A Tens Unit Burn Calories
how to use tens machine for weight loss
Electrical Muscle Stimulation devices have been advertised to do the following:
- Weight loss
- Pain relief similar to a TENS unit
- Rehabilitation & Muscle Toning
The term EMS also goes by the name of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES), or simply “electromyostimulation”… it’s all the same.
1. No Weight Loss Claims
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows Electronic Muscle Stimulation devices for over the counter usage as long as it’s clearly marked as muscle toning and strength building, because after all, it really does tone the muscle, IF you crank the intensity high enough.
You CANNOT call EMS units a “weight loss” product, despite the fact you might lose weight with it.
You think your muscles are burning calories, but if you just want to burn calories, you are probably better off burning calories by doing some sort of aerobic activity.
2. Pain Relief similar to a TENS unit.
Not a true TENS, but…
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) is common in the use of electric current for pain therapy, especially people with lower back problems.
In theory, Electric Muscle Stimulation units are not the same as a TENS unit used for pain relief, because it is a therapy which requires a prescription.
However, in the Globus EMS SpeedCoach units [NOTE: SPORT and PLUS units only… see the chart below] or even the standard Globus EMS units, there are programs such as “Active Recovery”, “Massage” and “Stretch Relax” that obtain the same effect of pain relief.
Some of the muscle toning programs are similar to certain TENS programs, and users have reported they obtain good pain-killing results with the programs above.
3. How EMS helps Rehabilitation
Probably the best use of Electrical Muscle Stimulation in rehab is the ability to have tone & atrophy reduction, recruitment training and endurance reinforcement.
This is the first impression people have when they are not familiar with the full benefits of EMS.
4. EMS for Recovery
The beauty of owning an Electronic Muscle Stimulation device is you can use it all year ‘round, and not just for rehab or training.
I know several marathoners use EMS for active recovery, as most marathoners travel to races, and often have time to do the active recovery protocols on their hotel rooms.
EMS units are small enough to fit in your carry-on bag on an airplane, unlike the models you see at Physiotherapy clinics.
5. Benefits of EMS for Sport Training
Before we get into the benefits of electromyostimulation in training, you have to ask How Does EMS Work?
The electrical impulses are generated by the EMS unit and delivered through electrodes on the skin fairly close to the muscles that you want stimulated. The impulses resembles the action potential (AP) coming from the central nervous system (CNS), causing the muscles to contract. The electrodes stick to the skin via pads.
For training, electrical muscle stimulation can provide greater contraction as compared to a normal voluntary contraction, up to 30% higher. (i.e. more muscle fiber recruitment)
In addition, EMS can be used in training to alter the order of muscle recruitment. Normally, your body would use red fiber (slow twitch) first to do a specified movement, followed by white fiber (fast twitch) when needed. However, with EMS, all fibers in proximity of the electrode pad regardless of their type are recruited. Therefore a greater number of fast-twitch fibers are activated earlier than they would be with traditional training. This is beneficial for speed, power and strength athletes.