Electricity is pretty awesome. Without it, we wouldn't be able to do much of anything- literally. It may not be super apparent, but our bodies constantly use electricity to move our muscles and help cells to function properly! That being said, it's no wonder that treatments like electric muscle stimulation (EMS), transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) and interferential current therapy (ICT) have "sparked" an interest in those looking for more natural healing remedies. But how do they work?
In short - EMS targets muscles, IC targets tissues deep within your body, and TENS targets nerves but can also affect muscle.
EMS is an excellent treatment for rehabilitation of muscle disease, injuries, and neuromuscular disorders. It helps to strengthen muscles by encouraging contraction using a low voltage current to mimic your body's electrical system. It is such a powerful healing tool that it has even been shown to drastically improve muscle tone and rehabilitation after spinal cord injuries!
Interferential Current (IC) is unique in that it uses two medium, alternating pulses to penetrate deeply into muscle fibers without causing pain.Studies have shown that IC decreases inflammation, promotes bone healing, and helps with pain management.
TENS is used to stimulate nerves to alleviate pain, although it can also affect muscle if used at a high enough setting. There is compelling evidence suggesting that TENS can be a great tool for pain management and even proved to be effective after surgeries or injuries. The coolest thing about this treatment is its ability to be used without a practitioner. TENS units are widely available and easily transportable.
If you are suffering from any neuromuscular issues such as tight muscles, injured/ overworked muscles, or muscular disorders - it might do some good to give electrotherapy a try!
Dr. Melissa Wilke,chiropractor, triathlete, soccer coach
Dr. Melissa Wilke, is a board-certified chiropractor, who “gives you the tools to love the body you live in.” She believes that everyone has the power of health within; it is her job to create a better environment for each body to heal themselves. She listens to the needs of each individual and uses a variety of techniques to help them achieve health. The founder of Wilke Chiropractic, Melissa has been treating and helping people for over 16 years. She attended McGill University in Montreal, Canada where she earned her Bachelor in Arts, Psychology, and the National University of Health Sciences where she received her Bachelor’s in Science, Human Biology and her Doctorate of Chiropractic in 2001. She currently lives near Chicago, where she's active in coaching her kids in soccer, running and racing triathlons and traveling with her family as time and opportunity allows. Follow Dr. Melissa on Facebook.