Electrotherapy, sometimes referred to as ‘electric muscle stimulation’, is based on the principle that small electrical impulses can repair tissues and stimulate muscles. It has both medical and cosmetic uses, and has been used to counter the effects of various medical ailments, as well as to tone, slim, tighten, and lift the body. Let’s take a closer look at the history of electrotherapy, as well as some of its many uses today:
Electrotherapy actually has quite an extensive history that dates way back to 2500 BC. While electricity in the modern sense did not exist back then, Egyptians discovered an electrical fish which they used to treat pain. Records show that as early as 46 AD, a physician called Scribonious Largus used electric eels to treat pain in a process referred to as the ‘seashore treatment’.
By the 19th and 20th centuries, scientific studies were being conducted on the ability of electrical currents to produce muscle activation, and it was discovered that such electrical stimulation can lead to long-term muscle change. Today, these electric currents have a wide range of uses and benefits whose effectiveness is supported by scientific studies.
How does it work?
When a person undergoes electrotherapy treatments, currents are delivered to the body through conductive pads that are positioned over specific groups of muscle. As the current travels through the pads, motor points of the muscles are stimulated, creating muscle contractions. Depending on the needs of the individual receiving treatment, the current, the wave form, and the pulse length can all be customized for optimum results.
What are the benefits of electrotherapy treatment?
Body Toning and Shaping
One of the most common uses of electrotherapy is for toning and shaping the body. Electrotherapy can help to restore and re-educate our untrained muscles, resulting in a slimmer, toner appearance. On the basis of some research results, it is claimed that a 20 minute electrotherapy session is the equivalent of doing 300 sit-ups, and a 30-45 minute session is about equal to a 5-6 hour complete gym workout. (It sounds amazing, but I’m always a bit sceptical about claims like that.)
Electrotherapy is often used in sports and strength training to help develop, build, and condition joints and muscles. In fact, electrotherapy has been used by Olympic athletes and body builders for over 20 years to help in strength training and muscle recovery.
Not only is electrotherapy used to tone and shape the body, but it is also employed to tone and shape the face.
Other benefits are claimed for it by doctors (spin doctors, that is – mostly employed by manufacturers of electrotherapy equipment and the breeders of eels, would be my guess).
- Prevention of injury
- Loss of strength and balance in the elderly
- Incontinence rehabilitation
- Stimulation of natural collagen production and improving skin appearance
- Pain reduction
- Improvement in healthy blood circulation
- Stimulation of the lymphatic system, thereby aiding in the release of toxins from the body
- Turning your toenails into gold (okay, I made that one up.)
I have been a bit cynical, but it does seem that electrotherapy can provide wide range of bodily benefits. It is not too expensive and it is worth trying it out to see how it works for you.