The Difference between TENS and EMS

Learn the difference between TENS and EMS

Just hearing about TENS and EMS for the first time? Wondering whether these unusual alternatives are as new and unusual as they seem?

If you’re not already benefitting from the natural, drug-free treatments that electrotherapy offers, then it’s time for you to consider it. There are multiple options with different names and many retailers on the market, so admittedly the acronyms can become confusing. To keep it simple, iReliev offers two basic therapeutic options: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). On a basic level, both of these devices do the same thing: they stimulate nerves. This is done by placing electrode pads on the skin at specific locations wherever the user needs healing or is experiencing pain. Electrodes conduct electricity and as the machine generates electrical currents, the pads deliver those gentle pulses through the skin and to the nerves.

What is the Difference Between TENS and EMS Therapy?

It’s in the output where TENS and EMS differentiate. TENS stimulates the sensory nerve endings, while EMS stimulates the muscle. TENS treatment acts as a drug-free pain reliever, and EMS helps muscles to recover and strengthen. The combination of the two is often ideal for those in need of recovery.

How TENS Works Comparatively to EMS

Here’s how it works. When TENS stimulates the sensory nerve endings, it blocks the pain signal from traveling to the brain. This creates a pleasantly relieving, tingling sensation in place of the pain. The currents that TENS treatment sends can also produce endorphins. Stemming from the words “endogenous” (from within the body) and “morphine,” endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller and can even create a sense of euphoria, like morphine. The pain-killing properties of endorphins work just as TENS nerve stimulation works—by naturally inhibiting the transmission of pain signals to the brain. TENS therapy is often used to manage pain while the body is healing in situations like post-surgery recovery, athletic or other injuries, tension headaches and chronic or acute pain.


How EMS Muscle Stimulation is Different from TENS

The signals that an EMS machine sends treat the muscles like a passive exercise. They work by first stimulating the muscle creating a contraction—similar to what actually takes place in resistance exercise—then relaxing the muscle. This cycle creates many benefits, such as increasing blood flow to the area of treatment, warming up the muscle, building muscular endurance and overall conditioning  which in turn decreases inflammation and helps encourage muscle growth. The use of EMS therapy can also relax muscle spasms, treat paralysis, and be used to prevent muscle atrophy in patients who can’t do their regular exercise routine. Using EMS when you’re resting fits naturally with the way exercise works, as muscles growth occurs during rest.

Using simple currents of energy, electrotherapy is providing people an all natural drug free form of pain control and muscle conditioninig. You can check out more on the subject by visiting


By Mike Williams | August 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

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