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Contraindications of electrostimulation you should know

If you wish to do general EMS training, you should first check with a doctor. A medical check-up can exclude possible contraindications.

These contraindications may be due to a prior disease that has affected the user. The diseases that are not compatible with electrical stimulation include, for example, some cases of:

  • Metabolic diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Respiratory diseases
  • The use of medications or dietary supplements
  • Addictions
  • People over the age of 50

In other words, you have to spend some time interviewing a client interested in doing electrical stimulation training. This interview will be used to take their medical history. By taking a medical history, the client gives you information on any possible diseases. The client will also explain their evolution over time and current health conditions.

Besides saving the aforementioned information throughout the time the client is doing electrical stimulation training, it must be updated regularly.

Diseases that are not compatible with electrical stimulation

EMS training cannot be done if there is a history of any of the following diseases without first obtaining authorization from a doctor:

Electrical implants

The pacemakers currently on the market do not usually fail when training with electrical stimulation. However, electrical implants may in fact fail. You should check with a medical specialist in any case. It is absolutely contraindicated with pacemakers featuring defibrillation coils.


The muscular tension produced by EMS in the abdomen, hips and pelvic floor is harmful for the foetus. Also harmful are the tight belts and heat generated by this type of training.

Moreover, blood flows to the limbs during training which causes insufficient blood flow in the abdominal area.

All of this causes a risk of miscarriage.

Serious diseases, bacterial infections or inflammatory processes

Any type of sport is prohibited when a person has fever. The pathogens could reach the heart and cause myocarditis, endocarditis or serious cardiopathies.

Open skin wounds and eczema

A sterile bandage is necessary on open wounds or other affected areas. There is a danger of transmitting bacteria through the electrode patch.

Sunburns and burns in general

Electrical stimulation in areas with sunburns or other types of burns will cause swelling and pain.

Skin intolerances

Caution must be taken with skin intolerances such as skin allergies or irritation with redness and the formation of pustules. It is best to check with a doctor before putting your skin in contact with the electrodes.

Recent operations

You must check with the surgeon. The size of the wound determines the recovery time needed, which may be 6 to 8 weeks.

Thrombosis and thrombophlebitis

In these cases, electrical stimulation may cause a clot to break loose. The clot can then move through the blood to the heart or lungs and cause death.

Stents that have been active for less than six months

A stent must be perfectly integrated and, therefore, a period of at least six months must pass before starting or restarting EMS training.

Atherosclerosis, blood circulation problems

In these cases, training with electrical stimulation is contraindicated. This is because of the high muscle tension produced.

Untreated high blood pressure

If high blood pressure is not being treated, there is a risk of an uncontrollable increase while exercising. However, if controlled and medicated, there is no problem with EMS training.

Cardiac arrhythmias

EMS training with continuous pulses is discouraged. You must first check with a doctor.

Other cardiovascular diseases

There are charge restrictions for these cases. Checking with a doctor is recommended.

Bleeding disorders (haemophilia)

This disease involves a clotting deficiency when bleeding and major haemorrhaging. Therefore, any blood vessel breakage may be lethal. EMS training is discouraged.

Serious forms of diabetes mellitus

You must check with a physician. There is a danger of diabetic shock due to a drop in the level of glucose in the blood after intensive training.

Cancer or tumours

Malignant tumours can get worse. EMS may speed up metastasis.

Acute arthritis

There is a danger of overheating and thereby increasing the rise of any of the symptoms as this disease is also caused by heat.

Neurological diseases and epilepsy

You must not engage in EMS training if you suffer from any type of neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis. If you have epilepsy, you must go 12 months without any attacks before doing EMS training. You must check with a physician first.

Progressive muscular dystrophy

EMS training can speed up the dystrophy.

Abdominal and inguinal hernias

The great tension in the abdomen and pelvic floor may worsen this condition.

Undiagnosed back pain

The causes must be known for safe training.

Internal organ diseases

Kidney diseases can be particularly problematic. This is because the kidneys are responsible for filtering and eliminating metabolic waste. And this waste is higher following exercise.

You should also check with a doctor if you retain a lot of liquid or suffer from lymphedemavaricose veins or if you take certain medications.

Why take a patient’s history before training with electrical stimulation?

The purpose of taking a client’s complete medical history is not only to rule out the possible existence of contraindications but also in order to collect important information. For example, the following must be known about the client:

  • their blood pressure
  • their resting heart rate
  • sedentarism in their daily and work life
  • their sport history
  • orthopaedic aspects
  • prior surgeries or injuries

All of this will help adequately structure their training, so it is completely personalized.

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