Have you reaped the benefits of electrotherapy yet? If not, you really ought to hop on the bandwagon because you're missing out. Electrotherapy in all of its various forms is a great way to treat pain, enhance recovery and/or encourage muscle growth. This probably comes as great news to anyone in the audience, but for athletes in particular, these benefits may have caught your attention. Indeed, there are lots of benefits to using EMS for athletes. Before you can understand most of these benefits, however, you must understand how EMS works.
The Advantages of EMS for Athletes
EMS—which stands for electrical muscle stimulation—should not be confused with another common type of electrotherapy called TENS. While TENS is used to treat pain, EMS does just as its name suggests—it stimulates muscles. An EMS device sends gentle electrical impulses through electrode pads which can be placed on muscle groups all over the body. These impulses cause the muscle stimulation which occurs in two steps. First, the muscles contract as they would in exercise. Next, the muscles relax. This passive exercise increases blood flow to the area which helps to decrease inflammation and to encourage muscle growth. Knowing this, it seems pretty obvious why EMS would be helpful to anyone concerned with training or strengthening muscles. Still, let’s look at four specific benefits of using EMS for athletes.
Use EMS for Warming Up
All athletes are aware of how important it is to warm up before any workout, especially in the colder seasons. Going into rigorous physical activity without warming up your muscles first makes it far more likely that you’ll injure yourself. Since EMS helps to increase blood flow to the area, it’s great for warming up muscles before performance. This is especially useful if you need some extra care in a specific area, but don’t want to tire yourself.
EMS Enhances Recovery
To enhance muscle recovery, athletes can apply EMS after a workout. It helps to decrease inflammation, therefore reducing post-workout soreness. You can get even more out of a post-workout electrotherapy session by using a two-in-one wired or wireless TENS + EMS machine like that by iReliev. This way you can find relief from sore muscles or joints while also increasing muscle recovery and growth. This is a much better option than using over-the-counter painkillers like Advil which actually diminishes the positive effects of muscle recovery.
Use EMS During Rehab
Similarly, EMS is a great tool during rehab. Many athletes dread the time they have to spend away from their sport during an injury. EMS not only helps expedite the recovery as mentioned above, but it will also continue to activate muscles even while you rest them. This way athletes don’t have to worry about losing some of the strength they’ve worked towards.
Today, manufacturers like iReliev make their EMS machines so small that they are easily used on the go. About the size of a smartphone, iReliev’s EMS machine fits in a carry-on, a purse, or even a pocket. For athletes, traveling with EMS is a plus because it allows you to stimulate your muscles even while you’re sitting on a plane or train for several hours at a time. This is especially useful if you’re traveling to an athletic competition because with EMS, you’re able to keep your muscles in shape and ready to perform even in the most restraining settings.