Posted on July 16 2019
How Electrical Muscle Stimulation Can Help You: Meet the World’s Smartest Muscle Recovery Tool:
So, imagine this scenario: you’ve just finished a grueling HIIT workout and your aching muscles just can’t seem to take the pain. Enter electrical muscle stimulation, or known simply as, EMS.
What is Electrical Muscle Stimulation?
Contrary to popular belief, electrical muscle stimulation isn’t as scary or as painful as it sounds. The concept of it is, in itself, quite straightforward - it is simply the practice of using electrical pulses to stimulate gentle muscle contractions, very similar to the ones triggered by physical therapists.
In fact, EMS devices used to be allowed only in highly controlled environments, such as therapy centers, where there could be an expert on hand at all times. These past few decades, however, modern innovation of the unit’s old, unwieldy design made using an EMS device at home much easier and buying a portable EMS device became a cheaper alternative to going through a whole 21 sessions of physical therapy with a doctor.
These days. the use of EMS units for both recovery and strength training has seen a rise in popularity, with most top athletes and fitness enthusiasts reaping its benefits. Of course, the range of effects ultimately depends on the device chosen and the specific setting used; but most, if not all, EMS devices promise to speed up muscle recovery, improve muscle strength, provide non-invasive muscle relief, and reduce the overall risk of injury.
Fact or Fiction? The Science Behind EMS
It is well-known that EMS machines work to contract the muscles where each individual electrode (the rounded adhesives) is placed, but have you ever wondered exactly how they do it?
Well, normally, our muscles move and contract naturally due to electrical impulses sent by our brains through our central nervous system; but, in this case, the EMS device recreates these same impulses and so fool our muscles by overriding the “authority” of our nervous systems. Our muscles are then wired (literally) to contract on command.
This process is neither painful nor unnatural, instead it can be taken as a possible alternative to traditional strength training, working to increase muscle efficiency by decreasing the amount of wasted energy in a workout. This is because, usually, our muscles only contract a few of its own fibers when in motion so that the remaining fibers can take over when the first few tire out, but an EMS device makes our muscles contract all of its fibers, teaching it to be both quicker when in recovery and stronger under tension (Matthews, 2019).
The Benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation
Now we all know what EMS can do for Russian athletes but what exactly can electrical muscle stimulation do for you?
Well, whether you are an athlete by profession or just a fitness enthusiast at heart, as long as you lead an active lifestyle EMS can be very useful to you.
First of all, as stated before, EMS can encourage muscle recovery, but despite how it sounds like, this doesn’t limit its use to after grueling workouts or long games. Electrical muscle stimulation can be used to relax the muscles when one’s traveling. In fact, most athletes use them to keep limbs from going stiff while waiting in the airport or numb during long flights, minimizing the possibility of getting cramps after a trip.
Next, EMS can activate muscles that have long been considered immobile, as it keeps the muscles in virtual motion. Firing up muscle fibers for people suffering from chronic atrophy, a condition in which the lack of movement causes muscles to break down. This setting has the potential to help people with all different kinds of situations, from athletes recovering from injuries to the recently disabled (Croteau, 2019).
And finally, EMS can help you live your life at peace. If you think we’re exaggerating, studies have shown benefits of using electrical muscle stimulation on people having difficulty with both insomnia and depression. Most athletes report feeling calmer and more at ease after an EMS session, while others say that it helps them sleep. Meanwhile, researchers are currently proposing EMS as the safe, effective therapy the world needs to alleviate the worst symptoms of depression (Croteau, 2019).
There are still a number of benefits that we haven’t covered in this section but if we were to go through them all, you would be reading an 8000 word article at the very least. We encourage you to try different settings on your EMS device for different results and remember that if you tailor the machine to your own specific needs - you won’t be disappointed.
How to Start Using EMS Like a Pro
Just like any other exercise equipment, you have to learn how to use the EMS machine before actually turning it on. Here are just some of our own top tips for maximizing your use of an electrical muscle stimulation machine:
Place the electrode pads on as detailed in the instructions
The most important piece of advice that can be given in regards to EMS. The machine won’t work to the best of its abilities and will be rendered just about useless, if the connection to the muscles fail - a very real possibility if the electrode pads are not placed evenly on your skin.
Never (ever) skip the warm ups
Your EMS device has those settings for a reason! You have to let your muscles get used to the feeling of gentle contractions first before firing a virtual electrical storm at them. Just because starting with the strongest setting is faster, doesn’t mean it’s better (Matthews, 2019).
Target only one part of your body at a time
EMS machines work best when its current can flow continuously into just one limb at a time. Placing electrodes on, let’s say, both your hamstrings and your quads at the same time won’t just dilute the flow, it’ll also keep the EMS from working properly (Matthews, 2019).
Never work antagonistic muscles simultaneously
First question: what are antagonistic muscles? These are the muscles that work in opposite to each other when in motion. For example, the biceps and the triceps are the most simplistic type of antagonistic muscles. Using electrical muscle stimulation on both muscles at once when one is supposed to be resting won’t really help accomplish anything (Matthews, 2019).
Have around 2 to 3 EMS sessions per week
Practicing electrical muscle stimulation has the potential to change your life, yes, but it can only do that if it is allowed to - so make it a habit. Set a schedule for yourself and make it a point to use it either every MWF or TThS, before you know it, you might not even remember a time without it.
ProTip: Choose to stick with a trusted brand that provides only the latest technology in the world of EMS.
Why Choose PowerDot?
PowerDot, launched in 2016, is the world's smartest muscle recovery and performance tool. As the new face of electrical muscle stimulation, the brand focused on finding the perfect balance between the old design and the new; presenting us with a wireless, Bluetooth-controlled device so compact that it fits right into the palm of your hand - the first of its kind.
This new tech is both easy to use and understand, taking as little as only 5 minutes to set up due to the ease of just using an app on your smartphone. Sounds too good to be true? With Powerdot, the previously impossible is now here. Suddenly, by using an app instead of a bulky shoebox-sized device, the highly effective EMS just became easily accessible for everyone.
What are your experiences with EMS? Let us know down in the comments.
Please note: If you are equipped with a pacemaker, or any other similar devices, please make sure to consult a doctor before using an EMS device like PowerDot.
Croteau, J. (2019). Tired Of Muscle Pain? PowerDot Puts Relief At Your Fingertips. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannecroteau/2018/12/21/tired-of-muscle-pain-powerdot-puts-relief-at-your-fingertips/#72a9aabad 4ed [Accessed 13 May 2019].
FlexTone. (2019). Learn about the history and evolution of Electrical Muscle Stimulation. [online] Available at: https://stimrx.com/history-of-ems/# [Accessed 13 May 2019].
Hansen, D. (2019). Electrical Muscle Stimulation: Five Reasons Why You Need to Adopt This Technology for Your Athletes Now - SimpliFaster. [online] SimpliFaster Blog. Available at: https://simplifaster.com/articles/electrical-muscle-stimulation-five-reasons-need-adopt-technology-athletes-now/ [Accessed 20 May 2019].
Lakin, D. (2019). PowerDot Reviews - Ideal for Muscle Stimulation?. [online] HighYa. Available at: https://www.highya.com/powerdot-reviews [Accessed 20 May 2019].
Lappe, M. (2019). What the Heck Is a PowerDot and How Do You Use One?. [online] Gear Patrol. Available at: https://gearpatrol.com/2018/04/20/review-powerdot/ [Accessed 13 May 2019].
Matthews, M. (2019). Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation Work? What the Science Actually Says. [online] Muscle For Life. Available at: https://www.muscleforlife.com/does-electrical-muscle-stimulation-work-what-the-science-actually-says/ [Accessed 13 May 2019].
PowerDot.com. (2019). What is Electrical Muscle Stimulation? Smart Muscle Stimulation. [online] Available at: https://www.powerdot.com/pages/what-is-ems [Accessed 13 May 2019].