EMS Units – Excellent and Now Affordable

EMS units – Electro-Muscular Stimulation units are devices that provide an electrical impulse to muscle groups via sticky pads put on your skin. These small portable devices are now not only a viable adjunct to training, injury prevention, strengthening and relaxation – they are affordable!

First an EMS is not a TENS unit. A TENS unit is a similar device designed to provide an electrical stimulation at different depths and frequencies and are intended for pain relief and pain management. TENS units stimulate sensory nerves to block pain signals and stimulate endorphin production (a normal occurring chemical in our bodies).

EMS units are like TENS units on steroids. They have many settings and work to stimulate muscles themselves. EMS units stimulate the motor nerves – the ones that trigger muscle contractions. They are highly effective in treating musculoskeletal and vascular conditions. Athletes use them during rehab to train and condition atrophied muscles. They can also be used to strengthen muscle groups that may be prone to injuries. There are also settings that equate to “massage like” movements that help relax muscle groups.

I Should Know

A couple years ago I was having pain in the tendons around my knees. There was no “knee” injury. It was the result of poor conditioning and weakness of my quads. This led to poor form and favoring muscle groups. That yielded knee pains. I used an EMS unit to help condition myself after this long term layoff to bring my quadricep muscle groups back. Within 2-3 weeks my knee pains were gone. 100%.

I used the unit as part of my exercise routine and integrated it like cross training. I used it 2-4 times a week. Sessions lasted 20-40 minutes.

I am now using the EMS unit as part of rehabbing my calves post-Achilles tendon surgery. The atrophy in my surgical side calf is leading me to change my gait. I have no pain whatsoever in my Achilles tendon however I am still having compensatory aches and pains. The EMS is a critical piece to my recovery and NOT becoming injured someplace else on my body!

If you are an athlete who has chronic injury issues – I especially couldn’t recommend these more! Of course the only way you will know if it is what will get you back to 100% and rolling along full speed again is to try it out. At least the process is now pain free…

And though EMS units can be very pricey and the average athlete may not be ready to add this as an adjunct to their conditioning and injury prevention routines. That has all changed!

[Note: Do not use this company – DME Plus. I have disabled the links as they have shown me that they do not follow through as promised. DMH 7/25/11]

There is a company called DME Plus, Inc. (billed as “Your pain management company”). They do far more than pain management. But, the interesting thing I discovered is that they can get athletes (ok, non-athletes too) EMS units with little or no cost out of pocket! It requires a doctor’s prescription order (MD, DC, DO). DME Plus then works through your insurance company to work out all the details.

They will send you supplies (the electrode patches) each month.

Would you like to learn more? Contact Dimitri Hatzimbes and he will get you rolling. Once you submit your pre-autorization intake form, they take it from there!


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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6 Responses to EMS Units – Excellent and Now Affordable

  1. Jed says:

    I’ve got an EMS machine I bought for some injuries a few years ago. Do you think it would be effective on a muscle group as large as the glutes?

    • Dean Hebert says:

      Yes. I had one of my runners using mine for her glutes just lats month. The key is to place the electrodes on the belly of the muscle (group) and not at the distal or proximal ends of the muscle (insertion points).

  2. Steve says:

    Could you describe the protocols that you used to treat your tendon problems around your knees? I am having the same problem, I have a good EMS machine but I need to know what to do for my training sessions with it.

    • Dean Hebert says:

      The key for many (but not all) of those knee tendon problems is weak quads. So your sessions should focus on quads.
      Your EMS unit should have different settings. I’ve seen/used only two types. The one I currently have is a Globus product.
      You may need to experiment but I found the “endurance” and the “strength” settings really worked well for me and I had relief already within just a couple weeks. Also you should treat this like a workout – 3-4 times a week is plenty. Each session should also have an automatic default time for each session – mine last 25-40 minutes. I did my sessions whenever I could fit them in – I didn’t pay attention to whether it was the same day I ran or did other workouts.. I just did it. It never interfered.
      Hope this helps a bit.

      • Steve says:

        It does, thank you. I agree that in my case it has to do with equalizing the strength in my quads. My muscles got imbalanced (from repetitive workouts that I should have varied) I think. One day I tried training my inner quads and the knee pain was reduced significantly. I will keep trying to strengthen my quads with EMS training sessions. Did you use any specific frequency or wavelength on your unit for your quad training sessions? or did you simply go until the muscles were fully contracted and begin doing your exercises?

  3. Dean Hebert says:

    As far as wavelengths it was the default of the programs (strength/endurance) built in. My unit is set up for lots of different types of workouts already so I don’t have to mess with that (I guess I could but never did). I progressed the intensity of the contractions as i could tolerate more – typically every other session or so. Simply getting a contracted muscle is not enough… the goal is to make it a progressively stronger contraction. It has to progress just like all other training or benefits drop off.

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