Muscles are normally worked when a person moves. Electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) is a process that uses electrical impulses to do this job instead. An electronic muscle toner, also known as a powered muscle stimulator, is usually the source of those electrical impulses. Such a device can be used for medical purposes and athletic purposes, but they are often marketed and used for cosmetic reasons, too.
The basic idea behind EMS is to work muscles using electrical power. To do this, electrodes are usually placed on the skin. They are positioned over the muscles a person hopes to affect. Electrical charges pass from the electrodes, through the skin, and to the muscles’ nerves, causing them to contract.
There are medical conditions for which this type of device may be beneficial. Muscle spasms, for example, are sudden, uncontrolled contractions of the muscles. These could be caused by a condition such as dystonia. Muscle atrophy is wasting of the muscle tissue. This can be caused when a person becomes inactive perhaps due to a bed-ridden illness.
When an electronic muscle toner is used for such medical purposes, a professional is normally involved. The machines used also tend to be different from those available to mainstream consumers. Professional machines may be more sophisticated and allow the operator more control.
EMS is also used for athletes. In some cases, it is used to treat sports injuries, but in many cases, it is a part of athletes’ fitness training. There are debates over how beneficial an electronic muscle toner is for this purpose. It is believed that results produced by the use of these devices are temporary.
There are further claims that an electronic muscle toner can help an average person in a lot of ways. These machines are often advertised as exercise alternatives. This means if a person cannot or does not want to exercise, she can still have a body that looks as if she does. There are claims that people can use these machines to sculpt, tone, and burn fat. These claims are generally supported by testimonials since supporting research is minimal.
Some people may falsely assume the worse that can happen with an electronic muscle toner is that it does not work. Some users have experienced effects that are much worse than wasted money. For example, some users have experienced burn marks following use of these devices. Others have reported skin problems in areas where the device was used.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the long-term effects of chronic electrical simulation are not known. People are advised not to use an electronic muscle toner on areas that are infected or swollen. This includes areas close to cancerous lesions. People who are pregnant, epileptic, or those who have heart problems may want to get professional advice and carefully consider whether the use of such a device is a wise choice.