Muscle stimulation is the process by which they are excited to contract and relax in a rhythmical way. Muscles generally receive signals from the brain. The central nervous system relays impulses that cause the muscles to contract. Electronic muscle stimulators aim to mimic the action of the central nervous system by production of the signals. The machine used, Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES), delivers the signals using electrodes and onto the skin close to the muscles being stimulated.
Perhaps it is of essence that a brief history of the technology is considered prior to the consideration of how it works and the concept behind it. Electric current is able to activate muscles. This was proven in the 16th century by one scientist, Luigi Galvani after much experimentation. In 1791, he gave the very first evidence of changes that can be brought about by current on the action of muscular cells.
In the 1960s, the Soviet Union scientists concerned with sports applied the technology in athletics. With the knowledge that the technology was essential in muscle building, applied it to training elite athletes. This was with the hope that athletes so trained would gain energy by close to 40%. The increment would in turn enhance performance during the races.
Adaptation of muscles is brought about by EMS. This is the basic principle of operation of the fibers. Skeletal muscular fibers are designed in such a way that the different types in the body are able to undergo activation to differing proportions by the different kinds of stimulation. Modifications so induced depend upon the patter utilized. This independence of transmission and reaction implies that muscle action does not have to wait for brain action for them to function. What does this imply? Fatigue resistance is enhanced and so is production of energy.
Conventionally, the brain sends impulses to muscles via the spinal cord. Irrespective of this, the NMES machine, through the use of electric signals, is able to excite the nerves that are attached to the muscles connected at the motors. Stimulating the nerves lead to muscular expansion as well as contraction, just like in normal exercise. As a consequence, even without exercise, those using the technology can have increment in strength. This is without consideration of brain actions.
When it comes to their use, they are mostly used for therapy purposes. Those being rehabilitated and those going through physical therapy make use of it, albeit under strict supervision from experts. Over the years, it has been known to aid in quick repair of limbs that are broken. Similarly, for people who have excessive muscles and pain in shoulders and elbows, it is a great asset.
Training is the other use for which the system is meant. For aesthetic goals, those who want stronger muscles can apply it, in which case they also achieve increase in strength. Fats in the body have also been known to be minimized and circulation of blood improved.
On the dark side however, EMS are expensive when compared to the little results achieved with their use. Those aiming to only use them to arrive at their goals are misled. They are merely used to enhance natural methods.
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