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TENS vs EMS – How are they different?

Although both are already widespread practices, there are still doubts about the actual operation of TENS and EMS. Therefore, in this post, we want to tell you what their main differences are, how to choose TENS or EMS and their advantages. Certainly, they are two techniques directly related to stimulation, but we can find great differences between them.

What is TENS?

Its name is an English abbreviation for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This technique is used to reduce pain through control, so it sends the brain pleasant sensitive information rather than the information that corresponds to the pain. The sensation is similar to a tingling that excites only sensitive fibers.

What is EMS?

EMS means electrical muscle stimulation and it is responsible for making the muscles work through the appropriate electrical impulse to cause a muscle contraction of a predetermined intensity on the user. The stimulus is generated directly on the desired muscle through an electrode-equipped equipment, improving fitness and toning the area. It has different sporting, therapeutic and aesthetic uses.

Main differences between TENS and EMS techniques

Let’s take a quick look at the differences between these two techniques. On the one hand, its goal: while TENS generates pulses to act as a painkiller, EMS pursues muscle work. This is the big difference between them, because if you are looking to reduce the pain located in a certain area of the body, you will use TENS technology, but if you need to improve your physical condition or performance, among other things, it is advisable to use EMS.

On the other hand, the intensity varies: for TENS it is usually lower (up to 50 mA approx.) and for the EMS, a peak of 80 or 100 mA. Electrodes also vary in one equipment and another, as for TENS they are usually small and equal, while for EMS they can be combined and adapted to different muscles and stimulation methods. In addition, the motor responses are different, since in muscle electrostimulation the motor threshold is exceeded to tone and enhance the muscles, except when the fixed frequency is applied. While TENS acts on the stimulus of sensitive nerve fibers, the latter acts on motor nerve fiber stimuli.

What to choose when you need stimulation: TENS or EMS?

In the case of percutaneous electrical stimulation, its application is ideal when you suffer both chronic and acute pain. Some studies have shown that it is effective at soothing postoperative pain, chronic musculoskeletal pain and osteoarthritis. However, it is important to know what the recommended intensity level is to achieve each of your analgesic goals. Science has shown that high and low frequency TENS causes effects through the activation of receptors in the central nervous system itself.

When the goal is to achieve aesthetic and sporting results, you should use EMS. As such, many trainers have included it as one of its main tools in individual, group and multigroup training. It is ideal for working strength, endurance, toning the buttocks, abdomen, etc., and carrying out active recovery. In short, electrical muscle stimulation is a technique applied, especially in the sports, health and aesthetics sector.

Advantages of stimulation techniques

  1. Thanks to TENS

Pain can be blocked at the spinal level, and it can be used for about 30 minutes once or twice a day. In other words, “it’s about performing a transcutaneously differential stimulation. They are tactile adaptive fibers at high driving speed with the minimum response of slow-driving nociceptive fibers and efferent motor fibers”, as the TENS Electrotherapy Manual points out.

Conventional TENS is ideal for blocking spinal pain, TENS in endorphinic mode serves to produce a vascularizing effect on the pain area, etc.

  1. Thanks to i-motion EMS

Trainers get quick answers to any abnormal solution that may occur with electrostimulation equipment; it is cost-effective, as it does not require the physical presence of any technician; improves the quality of life and the health of the user; enables an increase in physical activity; allows gyms to position themselves as benchmarks; stands out from the competition; improves performance, etc.

With i-motion’s muscle electrostimulation equipment, personal trainers and fitness trainers can add to their workouts the most advanced electrostimulation equipment on the market. It has an intuitive software easy to use and in continuous development, remote assistance, etc.

Do you want to learn more about the i-motion EMS equipment? Request a demo and discover all its advantages!

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