Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 07 Oct 2022 Electrical Muscle St ...

Electrical Muscle Stimulation: The new trend in the fitness sector

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SWATI SHARMA
Published Oct 8, 2022, 12:03 am IST
Updated Oct 8, 2022, 12:03 am IST
Actress Jessica Alba and athlete Usain Bolt using electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) while exercising. (DC Image)
 Actress Jessica Alba and athlete Usain Bolt using electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) while exercising. (DC Image)

Recently, actress Jessica Alba’s long-time trainer Ramona Braganza shared a snap of Alba using electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) while exercising.
“[Twenty-five] years as a celebrity trainer has allowed me to introduce many up-and-coming trends to my clients. Electro muscle stimulation is the latest technology in the fitness market and very popular in Europe. EMS training utilizes varying ranges of electric currents to stimulate muscle contractions. The extent of muscle [fibres] activated is great, there is increased blood flow throughout the body, [and] greater calorie burn in a shorter amount of time,” writes Braganza in her Instagram post.

Many gyms are implementing EMS equipment, from the US to the UK to India. The fitness and health sector makes extensive use of this technology since it is non-intrusive, secure, and practical.

So what exactly is EMS? Does it actually improve physical fitness? Is it secure? Does it result in a more muscular body with less effort?

EMS is described as a science-backed exercise method that delivers the equivalent of a full-fledged training session by using low-frequency electrical impulses to stimulate muscles that are normally overlooked.

Doctors have long used EMS to help patients with a variety of medical disorders, including those recuperating from a stroke and those with multiple sclerosis, to regain their mobility.

Suit up!

Users must wear a full suit of electrodes that are connected to a machine in order to use this technique. The machine sends electric waves through wires and electrodes into the muscles of the body. The specialised suits are typically a short-sleeved top and shorts and sales of these are witnessing rapid growth.

Meenakshi Mohanty, fitness expert

“An exciting development in the fitness industry, EMS suits have become increasingly popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. They work on transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units, that use low voltage electric current to relieve pain in a targeted area. This is used in treating a number of conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, low back pain, chronic pelvic pain, diabetes-related neuropathy and peripheral artery disease,” says Meenakshi Mohanty, fitness expert.

“EMS suits, when compared to traditional strength training, produce 85 muscle contractions per second, activating over 98% of muscles through major muscle groups. This system has been shown to help with muscle relaxation and recovery, increasing flexibility and mobility, improving stability, tightening and toning, and increasing energy levels and blood circulation. EMS training is low-intensity and gentle, which reduces the risk of injury, and working out in an EMS suit for 20 minutes is equivalent to working out for 90 minutes of conventional high-intensity training,” she adds.

Relax for fitness

Yasmin Karachiwala, celebrity fitness trainer

EMS is a great way to relax muscles. Celebrities like Heidi Klum, Elizabeth Hurley and Madonna have all used this technique, which is widely advertised as an easy way to build muscle without breaking sweat. Yasmin Karachiwala, a celebrity fitness trainer who has worked with Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt, posted an intense video of herself in beast mode at the gym. She wrote: “Wait, wait, wait what! You have always seen me working out in the Gym or doing Pilates, but you also know that I keep trying different things to make my workouts fun and effective. Here’s my session of Kickboxing with EMS (Electric muscle stimulation) and damn, it was intense.”

Aman Puri, fitness enthusiast and founder, Steadfast Nutrition, says, “Earlier only available with physiotherapists, now it is an easily available product in the market for athletes. There are many portable EMS devices that help in better muscular stimulation and help people relax after workout, warm up for workouts or help during rehab stage if an athlete is injured.”

Use with care

EMS devices works on targeted muscle group and should be applied with utmost care.

“It allows athletes and practitioners to achieve greater results in less time, allowing for longer rest periods and better recovery,” says Meenakshi.

“EMS is a supportive therapy for an athlete; using it gives additional muscle recovery but over-usage leads to severe issues. Improper application can lead to muscle disengagement. Taking expert advice is necessary for this device initially,” says Aman.

In short, EMS suits hold great promise for fitness enthusiasts looking for a more efficient and simple way to achieve their fitness goals.

Can everyone use EMS?

It is not recommended for people who have a pacemaker, defibrillator, or other electronic or metallic implanted devices.

Short but intense

A typical EMS workout lasts 15 minutes and includes low-impact exercises like planks, lunges, and squats. EMS pulses make every move feel harder, accelerating how quickly you feel fatigued, despite the fact that that you spend only a short period of time exercising.

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