In the fitness industry, new trends emerge every year. Some of them go on to become incredibly popular, such as the Keto diet & cross-fit training. Others fade into obscurity after a couple of months. However, the one thing in common with these trends that pick up speed and gain traction is that they are all backed by science. Research and studies show that these fitness trends are able to help you achieve your goals when adhered to. This gives your average Joe the confidence and assurance they need to pick it up and join the movement.
So this begs the question – is Electrical Muscle Stimulation actually backed by science?
Before we dive into the deep end, let’s go back in time to when EMS was first discovered.
History of EMS
The Egyptians were the first to discover the effect of electrical impulses on pain receptors in the human body. Using certain fishes that emitted these impulses, they were used in treatments for bodily pains. EMS only really started being acknowledged in 1745 when German physician Altus Kratzstein wrote a book about his findings regarding electrical therapy. His work was considered outlandish and ridiculous then, but it paved the way for the EMS as we know today.
Over the years since then, there were a couple of EMS inventions used primarily to treat hospital patients. Most notably, London’s hospitals started implementing Electrical Stimulation Therapy in the 1840’s. In the 1960s, EMS was used to prevent atrophy that occurs in skeletal muscles due to denervation.
In 1976 during the Montreal Olympics, EMS took centre stage once again when Russian scientist Dr. Kots enhanced the performance of his country’s Olympic athletes through EMS technology. The electrical current was able to stimulate fast-twitch muscles for greater bursts of speed and help in muscle building too. This was shared with the rest of the world, and the rest is history.
Scientific Studies & Research on EMS
Fast forward to today, EMS is still applied in many top athletes’ training routines. It is also used by physicians and physiotherapists to treat injuries and aid in rehabilitation efforts.
A recent study conducted by Pusan National University, one of the top universities in South Korea, found that EMS devices do result in waist reduction among a test group of abdominally obese adults.
Another study on whole body EMS training on a group of 64 participants also revealed that there were no abnormal or negative changes in the body post-EMS training. On the flip side, there was a significant decrease in blood pressure and increase in oxygen uptake. Psychophysiological factors such as anxiety, soreness and fatigue also saw a sharp decrease post-exercise with EMS. This confirms that whole body EMS training can improve your overall health and even psychological states.
Regarding fitness, muscle strength and sports performance, a study by two professionals in the field of medical science discovered that EMS is effective in increasing general strength among athletes and common folk alike during conventional training. Another study in the form of a comparison between HIIT (High-intensity interval) and whole body EMS training over 16 weeks also revealed that EMS training is truly more efficient. The HIIT group trained twice a week, while the WB-EMS group trained three times every 2 weeks. The end results show that there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of lean muscle mass and fat loss, leading to the conclusion that WB-EMS is more time-efficient than the gold-standard conventional training represented by HIIT.
EMS is highly reputable and trusted among the medical and sporting fields. You can rest assured that EMS is scientifically proven to be effective and safe for use.
If you have any other enquiries regarding EMS, we’ll be more than happy to answer them! You can contact us here.