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Is electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) really effective?

Credits: Screenshot Youtube / Chattanooga DJO France

Sportspeople are generally fans of electrical muscle stimulation, as well as many regular people. For some people, it is a matter of reinforcing the muscles or recovering after an injury, while others use it to try and work their muscles without having to make the slightest physical effort 

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) involves wearing a belt made up of numerous electrodes around the waist, and has for years been sold on television shopping channels. In fact, the promise of “exercising” and losing weight without lifting a finger is an idea that many people find highly seductive.

The fact is that this type of belt cannot make you lose weight, because the cardiovascular system is not implicated, and it is certainly not sufficient to build muscle. In reality, it can be used to complement actual physical exercise – even muscle building exercises. The device on its own is never enough to create a slim silhouette and abs of steel!

Electrical muscle stimulation in fact has several advantages, if it is used intelligently. In fact, the electrodes, when strategically placed during an exercise session, can work the deep muscle fibres and the surface ones. This method is also very good for helping with rehabilitation after an injury, in order to stimulate the muscles without having to carry out movements of the joints that could lead to a relapse.

EMS is also available as part of electrotherapy, and is mainly used in functional rehabilitation for nervous system traumas, or as a treatment for chronic muscle or nerve pain. This more complex approach (which is more in the domain of health professionals) is the one most often recommended by physiotherapists.

Sources: Science & VieCosmopolitan