Background Information

There is quite a lot of conflicting TENS information on the internet - including misinformation from well-meaning but poorly informed sources.

Clearly, TENS will not perform well if it is not used properly.

We provide education, photos and treatment guidelines so you can get the best results possible from your TENS machine.

If in doubt - consult a medical professional, physiotherapist or TENS therapy consultant.

A major TENS therapy pain relief survey, conducted by Bio Electronics

Between 2002 and 2009, Bio Electronics (renamed to ActivLife Technologies) conducted multiple customer surveys. Each response was written and anonymous, and is retained on file to this day. In summary:

  • 8 consistent surveys over 8 years
  • 13,667 questionnaires dispatched
  • 2,986 valid responses received
  • A response rate of 22.4%
  • A very large sample size and an excellent response rate

Results at a glance

96% of the 2,986 respondents were satisfied with the pain relief provided by our TENS machines.

  • 780 or 27% received excellent pain relief
  • 1,032 or 36% reported very good relief
  • 676 or 24% answered to good pain relief
  • And 249 or 9% were satisfied with their pain relief
  • This is a total of 2,847 or 96%
  • Only 110 (4%) found their pain relief to be not satisfactory.

These results compare very favourably with over-the-counter analgesics, anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture or dry-needling, massage or pressure, and heat or cold therapies.

These results were accumulated from customers using Bio Electronics and ActivLife products.

    Analysis of pain relief

    By gender and age

    There were no significant differences between the sexes - men and women achieved similar levels of pain relief satisfaction.

    There were no significant differences between the age groups either. For obvious reason, our sample had a high proportion of respondents who were over the age of 45 years.

    Body location

    Pain relief outcomes were equally positive, no matter which part of the musculoskeletal system was experiencing the pain


    Frequency of use and length of therapy session (dose)

    People seem to be able to work it out for themselves - and use their TENS unit when and for as long as they need to, for satisfactory to excellent relief of their pain.

    While some people do benefit from only 30 minutes of TENS therapy, most people get the best results from a longer duration - typically one or two hours.

    Time suffering pain

    People in pain for more than one year achieved results that were very similar to shorter duration pain experiences.

    [Pain of more than 1 year duration usually represents the experience of people who have tried most other methods of relief first].


    Pain intensity

    Most people described the intensity of their pain as severe, with a smaller number nominating moderate.

    Virtually no-one called their pain mild.

    Pain relief satisfaction for the severe pain group was as high as 98%.

    Other benefits

    Quality of Life

    64% of all respondents believed that their use of our TENS device had helped them improve their Quality of Life.

    Preferred method of pain relief

    59% of all respondents reported that our TENS machine was their preferred method of pain relief - outstripping other options by a large margin.

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    Respondent profile


    The sample comprised 60% women and 40% men - each survey was consistent.

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    Respondents were consistently well represented in the decades from 46 through to 75 and then there is a small drop-off for the over 75 group.

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    Pain History

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    By far the vast majority of respondents had been suffering pain for more than a year before they first tried TENS therapy. In other words, the results are not based upon new pain, but rather long term intractable pain - where patients have been long-suffering and have usually tried many other options first. While this underscores the value of TENS therapy, it is a shame that the option was not adopted earlier in the pain management experience.