Is Electrical Muscle Stimulation Safe?

EMS (electric muscle stimulation) is sometimes called electromyostimulation and employs electrical impulses to induce muscle contractions. Detachable electrodes are used with these portable devices to impart the impulses to the skin. Most often the electrode pads are lubricated before contacting the skin to provide a method of conduction for the electrical current. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) devices has provided observable relief for those suffering from sprains, lower back pain and arthritis.

All electrical muscle stimulators are governed by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Under this law, the FDA is responsible for regulating the sales of these devices in the United States. All manufacturers must comply with the FDA pre-market requirements before they can legally sell these devices. Generally, EMS devised that have been appraised by the FDA are for use in physical therapy and rehabilitation while under the supervision of a health care professional. If a manufacturer wants to sell directly to consumers, they will need to prove to the FDA that the EMS units can be used safely and effectively in a home environment.

A number of electronic muscle stimulators have been cleared by the FDA for use in treating specific medical conditions. Doctors use electric muscle stimulation for such things as muscle re-education, relief of muscle spasms, increasing range of motion, the prevention of muscle atrophy and for treating conditions resulting from stroke, serious injury or major surgery. Generally, these devices are used to help a patient recovered from impaired muscle function and not to increase muscle size enough to actually affect appearance.

Electrical Muscle Stimulators which have not met FDA pre-market requirements are illegal. The FDA has not been able to determine their safety and effectiveness.

While it is possible for an EMS device to strengthen, tone and firm muscles, at this time none are capable of providing weight loss, k

Using these devices just by themselves will not result in “six-pack” abs. Although, applying an electric current to certain muscles can make them contract. You can strengthen and tone your muscles by repeatedly stimulating them with an electrical current, however, given the current data, the only way to change your appearance is by also doing regular exercise and eating a sensible diet.

Be sure to report any medical device malfunctions directly to the manufacturer. Also, you can submit a report to the FDA’s voluntary reporting program – MedWatch. You have four options for submitting a report to MedWatch: MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form online, by telephone at 1-800-FDA-1088; by FAX at 1-800-FDA-0178; or by mail to MedWatch, Food and Drug Administration, HF-2, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857

Leave a Reply