What is TENS Therapy?

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 a 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.

It’s in the details 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.

When both EMS and TENS are used together, users can find relief from pain and soreness without using drugs, which are known to hinder muscle growth. Instead, the use of EMS will stimulate those very muscles. Using simple currents of energy, electrotherapy is giving people more control and a better understanding of pain and recovery.

How Does a TENS Unit Work?

Here’s how TENS Units work. When TENS stimulates the sensory nerve endings, it blocks the pain signal from travelling 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.

What is EMS Therapy?

The signals that an EMS machine sends treat the muscles like a passive exercise. They work by first stimulating the muscle, then contracting the muscle—similar to what actually takes place in exercise—then relaxing the muscle. This cycle creates many benefits, such as increasing blood flow to the area of treatment, 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.

What are Muscle Stimulators?

Muscle Stimulators tend to be used as a generic term defining both TENS and EMS units. The modalities themselves are quite different in their use and output.

The Food and Drug Adminstration or FDA are responsible for the regulations under which Electrical muscle stimulators are approved for sale in the United States. EMS and TENS Units are intended for use in physical therapy and rehabilitation. TENS and EMS are considered class II and III devices. Over the counter TENS and EMS Units are considered class II whereas prescription models are considered class III.

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 recover.

The Medical Community in Large Part Recommend TENS Therapy / EMS:

Drug Free & Natural

Clinically Proven

Surgical Alternative

FDA Cleared OTC

Christian Kratzenstein was the first to apply TENS Therapy medically in the form of static electrical currents, known as Franklinism.


Learn more about the interesting History of Electrotherapy