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Here is an interesting story I want to share with you, about the misuse of Electrical Muscle Stimulation. Even though I promote the Globus SpeedCoach, the story has to do with EMS in general. Names have been left out to protect the innocent (or guilty!)
I motioned in a pervious blog posts that EMS is great for hamstring pulls and if you miss a workout. As a primer, you can read Electrical Muscle Stimulation Benefits and this article is a Live Training Session with EMS with a rugby player.
The bottom line is that Electrical Muscle Stimulation is victim of a vicious circle:
- EMS is not trusted enough because there aren’t good enough results or “success stories” coming from it
- There aren’t good enough results because practitioners are not educated about EMS use
- Finally, practitioners are not educated because evidence with EMS is inconsistent (go back to point 1)
I spoke to a reader who recently purchased a traditional Globus machines (not the Globus SpeedCoach) to rehabilitate an atrophied muscle. Here is the background story:
This person was getting results at the physiotherapist and feeling that the muscle was getting stronger with EMS. However, progress was inconsistent because of inconsistent application: sessions were being alternated between two different physiotherapists, one was using only 10 mA the other was using around 20 mA. (I’ll save the rant about physiotherapy clinics at a later time)
Also, as this person was getting the atrophied muscle stronger, the compensation that the patient had previously acquired was thrown out of balance, and a gait limp became more visible. So the therapist decided to stop EMS, saying that one only uses EMS to get the muscle firing pattern started, and then one has to continue with traditional physiotherapy exercise. The patient therefore lost the gain that had been acquired with EMS.
Understanding that EMS was instead the key to counteract atrophy, the patient looked Globus up because that was the device being used at the clinic (incidentally, the therapist said Globus was better than the other machines out there), called the distributor and bought a unit to do it on his own.
Now, I don’t expect everyone to rush out and buy an EMS device. But the moral of the story is always ask questions and sure enough, you’ll zero in on what works and what doesn’t work. This can apply to selecting weight training sessions or even choosing a pre-workout “mental alertness” drink.