EMS mechanisms of action - motor nerves and muscle
Electrical muscle stimulation: to improve circulation, re-establish function, prevent atrophy and strengthen muscle
Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
- Stimulation of motor nerves of voluntary muscle
- Stimulation of motor nerves of involuntary muscle
- Direct stimulation of voluntary muscle fibre
- Direct stimulation of involuntary muscle fibre
- For improved circulation
- For muscle strengthening
- To re-engage and re-train motor nerve neural pathways
How it works
- Electrodes must be placed accurately
- Intensity must be above muscle contraction threshold
- The signal pulses ON (for between 6 and 12 seconds) and then OFF (for between 12 and 24 seconds)
- While the signal is ON the muscle is contracted and held in contraction
- When the pulse is OFF the muscle contraction is released and the muscle relaxes
- The relaxation period should be approximately twice as long as the contraction period
Mild muscle stimulation helps the circulatory system to function normally.
- Improved overall circulation
- Improved local blood circulation, oxygen and nutrient availability
- Elimination of waste fluid, reduction of swelling and inflammation
- Breaking down scar tissue
- Maintaining or increasing the range of joint movement
Stronger muscle stimulation builds muscle strength:
- Each muscle contraction slowly develops muscle fibre - just like manual exercise
- Actual muscle development is directly proportional to the number and strength of the contractions, over time
- Preventing muscle atrophy
- Improving muscle tone and bulk
- Protecting joints, ligaments and tendons through improved muscle strength
- Increasing stability and balance through improved muscle strength
When manual exercise is not possible, then electrical stimulation is an excellent option.
When neural pathways are damaged, EMS can act as the source of initiation of the contraction. This is a goal in itself.
Secondly, sometimes the neural pathway memories can be restored with repeated use of EMS.
Electrodes are placed at the upper insertion (or top) of the muscle and over the motor point of the muscle group to be exercised.
The motor point is the most electrically excitable area of the muscle, where a minimum amount of electrical stimulation will easily excite that portion of the muscle. It is usually located at the centre of the muscle mass, where the motor nerve enters the muscle.
If the motor nerves are denervated, the muscle can be stimulated directly.