What is my electrical stimulation unit doing for me?
At first glance, all portable electrical stimulation units may look very similar. The reality is that each type of unit is different, and if you’re thinking about using electrical muscle stimulation you should know what each one does so you get the right result.
A very common type of electrical stimulation unit available for personal and clinical use is TENS. We often times are compared to TENS devices on the market and asked how PowerDot is different. We also are often asked why our product is priced higher than most TENS units. The answer is simply that the two are vastly different in function and outcome. Below is an explanation of both.
TENS is the most universally known modality of electrical stimulation. Used widely for pain relief, TENS sends a series of electrical pulses across the skin and along nerve strands. These electrical pulses “distract” the brain from the pain signal, according to the Gate Control Theory. The Gate Control Theory of Pain says that non-painful stimulus or input closes the “gates” to the Central Nervous System, preventing it from feeling any pain. TENS also stimulates an endorphin release, which likewise mitigates pain.
NMES (often referred to as EMS) stands for NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation, and uses electrical signals at higher Hz rates to stimulate muscle fibers. PowerDot specifically contains programs designed to stimulate both Type I and Type II muscle fibers to cause muscle contractions. These muscle contractions increase blood flow as well as nutrient distribution, and additionally can recruit more muscle fibers than a standard warm up or workout. This recruitment of muscle will help the body to recover faster, increase muscular strength and endurance, and reduce the risk of muscular injuries.
Although TENS might seem like a quick and inexpensive way to avoid pain pills or trips to the physician, it is a short term solution. However, NMES is a great way to proactively reduce injuries that can set you back, and maintain your health throughout training. Stay on track with your goals and be a better version of yourself. Above all, make sure that whichever device you go with is tested and FDA approved.