Neuromuscular stimulation (NMES) or electrical stimulation is a process used to remove muscle contraction using electrical energy. Electrodes, controlled by the unit, are placed on the skin above the pre-determined area. Electrical energy is then transferred from the unit to the electrodes and then to the cutting-edge muscle.
Is it good for you?
Well, yes it is good in many ways as it can reduce edema (swelling) and speed up the healing process of any disabled or damaged tissue. It also helps in reducing chronic pain and improving joint pain and edema. This stimulation improves strength, communication, endurance, nervous response, and time in the muscles involved in eating, drinking, and swallowing. While delivering electric power, a certified therapist helps patients train their muscles with special exercises. Over time, a child’s muscles are trained to absorb food and drink. The main purpose of energy-boosting therapies is to strengthen weak muscles and help children gain control of their oral skills.
Types of electrical stimulation
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Used for temporary pain relief in aching and sore condition of muscles.
- Cheap as a result but limited in functionality.
- The most pervasive version of electrical stimulation
- Example: TENS 7000 unit
- Interferential current (IFC)
- Used for symptomatic relief of acute, chronic, and PT or PS pain.
- Less common but more functional
- Example: Amrex-Z-Stim IF150
- Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS)
- For strengthening muscles, improving endurance, and accelerating muscle recovery.
- Mostly used by athletes, mainly for muscle recovery.
- Example: Compex Sport Elite
- Russian stimulation
- Similar properties to EMS, but has a high frequency, sinusoidal stimulation waveforms.
- Example: RS 2500 Russian Stimulator
- Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
- Used for relaxing spasms, preventing muscle atrophy, and shooting up blood circulation.
- It is the same as EMS but focused on rehab instead of training.
- Example: Intellect NMES Digital Unit.
- Functional electrical stimulation (FES)
- Typically used for muscle spasm relaxing and increasing blood circulation with re-educating the neuromuscular system while maintaining and increasing range of motion
- Consumed while doing exercise or bracing device to maximize functionality.
- Example: the MyoCycle Home and Pro.
Side effects of electrical stimulation
No related side-effects are known at this time. Side effects include redness and irritation of the skin that is usually wiped off with a topical moisturizer within 24 to 48 hours. Electric power can start as a small irritating sensation and create a pulling sensation. In addition to previously published studies, researchers are continuing to study the use and efficacy of electrical neuromuscular stimulation as part of the treatment of dysphagia. CHOC uses FDA-approved devices for face and neck use.