electrodes, electric stimulation, accu-therapy, etc.

I came across this gadget yesterday, on sale for $300 from $800 normally.

I don't know exactly what you call it. The brand is Rhythm Touch. And it is similar to the "stim" electrodes chiropractors use. I guess it is an electric muscle stimulator.

http://www.therhythmtouch.com/

It comes w/ two units, four electrodes, reusuable pads, two electric-surfaced shoes, a handheld electric wand and a small e-reflexolgy pen.

You place the electrodes on your body and they send low frequency electric impulses deep into your muscles, increasing bloodflow and toning your tissue, at an intensity and pattern that you choose.

They are good for a ton of different ailments: carpal tunnel, migraines, tension, hives, arthritis, fibro, high blood pressure, acne, constipation, stiffness, impotence, etc. Plus, it can tighten up facial muscles and biceps, and all of that, too.

I've had a bad back since childhood and hurt it worse last year. Plus, I'm under a lot of stress now and have been carrying that stress as extreme tension in my neck.

I did a 15 minute demo of this product yesterday and I have to say, I felt great afterward...tho I'm not sure how much to attribute to the magnesium I've been taking. (I didn't take the time to consciously think about how my back was feeling prior to asking for the demo. I just know I'm generally in some pain at any given time.)

Does anyone have experience w/ long term electric impulses? Are there any contra-indications or long term side effects? I might be interested in buying this; I'm doing research right now on my own but was curious about your experiences, too.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG


Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 08-05-2010 at 12:02 PM.
Guide18
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My BF has something similar which he uses for aches and pains. It seems to have a temporary effect, nothing lasting. I've seen them used by physical therapists, so I think they have some legitimate uses. As to the claims of curing everything from hives to impotence, that sounds like snake oil BS to me.
My BF has something similar which he uses for aches and pains. It seems to have a temporary effect, nothing lasting. I've seen them used by physical therapists, so I think they have some legitimate uses. As to the claims of curing everything from hives to impotence, that sounds like snake oil BS to me.
Originally Posted by SuZenGuide

LOL It's all about the blood flow (supposedly). If you can rush blood to the effected (or uneffected) part, a change can happen. Plus, the contractions pump out toxins and lactic acid, etc. (again, supposedly). I think this is the basis for all accupuncture, accupressure, massage, reflexology and chiro body work. I think.

Suzen, what does you're bf's gadget look like? (I initially typed, "what does you bf's unit look like but then I changed it. LOL)
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

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Ack, I should have said husband. I still forget sometimes.

It's a little square box with two leads that each connect to a rubber sticky pad. Not very fancy. This is the one he has:

http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Hos-Muscle-.../dp/B001456OS2
Ack, I should have said husband. I still forget sometimes.

It's a little square box with two leads that each connect to a rubber sticky pad. Not very fancy. This is the one he has:

http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Hos-Muscle-.../dp/B001456OS2
Originally Posted by SuZenGuide

gahhh, amazon is blocked at my job.

I would be getting two of those that you describe, the shoes, the roller, the pen, a case and the gel pads.

So he has been consistently getting some relief?

Oh congratulations??!
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

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Thanks!

I think it's entertainment for him more than anything else. The pain seems a bit less after using it, but the effect doesn't last. If you can get one for a low price you might want to try it, but I wouldn't depend on it as a true cure.

ETA: Just noticed the price you wrote. Honestly, I think $300 is too much to pay for something like that.
I have a TENS unit and LOVE it. I'm a chronic pain patient and use it in conjunction with other therapies.

"TENS" is the acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. A "TENS unit" is a pocket size, portable, battery-operated device that sends electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to block pain signals.

The electrical currents produced are mild, but can prevent pain messages from being transmitted to the brain and may raise the level of endorphins (natural pain killers produced by the brain).

My health insurance paid for my TENS unit- 800$ and the electrodes.


If you have decent health insurance, your doctor can prescribe the TENS unit and the insurance will pay for it.

TENS units can be rented also.

TENS is not the same as EMS. TENS is for blocking pain, where EMS is for stimulating muscles.
I have a TENS unit and LOVE it. I'm a chronic pain patient and use it in conjunction with other therapies.

"TENS" is the acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. A "TENS unit" is a pocket size, portable, battery-operated device that sends electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to block pain signals.

The electrical currents produced are mild, but can prevent pain messages from being transmitted to the brain and may raise the level of endorphins (natural pain killers produced by the brain).

My health insurance paid for my TENS unit- 800$ and the electrodes.


If you have decent health insurance, your doctor can prescribe the TENS unit and the insurance will pay for it.

TENS units can be rented also.

TENS is not the same as EMS. TENS is for blocking pain, where EMS is for stimulating muscles.
Originally Posted by crimsonshedemon
I will be making an appt w/ my doctor today! Thanks for the tip (tho the woman who gave me the demo said the same thing and I just glaossed over that part)! I have good health insurance and I also have an open worker's comp claim from last November when I hurt my back worse carrying something for work. So I figure one of the two should be able to come up w/ $300.

Strange thing -- this unit describes itself as both a electric muscle stimulator (EMS) and a TENS. Is there really a difference? Do you know what the difference is?
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

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Found this:

TENS stands for (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). which are predominately used for nerve related pain conditions (acute and chronic conditions). It works by sending stimulating pulses across the surface of the skin and along the nerve strands. The stimulating pulses help prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. They also help stimulate your body to produce higher levels of its own natural painkillers, called "Endorphins".
To read more about Tens Units and how they can effect the cycle of pain please click here.

E.M.S. stands for (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) which are predominately used to prevent, or reduce, muscle atrophy. Atrophy is the weakening and loss of muscle tone, which is usually experienced after surgeries or injuries. EMS has been proven to be an effective means of preventing muscle atrophy. EMS also helps by increasing blood flow to muscles, increasing range of motion, increasing muscle strength, as well as enhancing muscle endurance. EMS has pain management attributes in helping muscle related pain, such as a spastic muscle, sore muscles, or tight muscles.
Found this:


TENS stands for (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). which are predominately used for nerve related pain conditions (acute and chronic conditions). It works by sending stimulating pulses across the surface of the skin and along the nerve strands. The stimulating pulses help prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. They also help stimulate your body to produce higher levels of its own natural painkillers, called "Endorphins".
To read more about Tens Units and how they can effect the cycle of pain please click here.

E.M.S. stands for (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) which are predominately used to prevent, or reduce, muscle atrophy. Atrophy is the weakening and loss of muscle tone, which is usually experienced after surgeries or injuries. EMS has been proven to be an effective means of preventing muscle atrophy. EMS also helps by increasing blood flow to muscles, increasing range of motion, increasing muscle strength, as well as enhancing muscle endurance. EMS has pain management attributes in helping muscle related pain, such as a spastic muscle, sore muscles, or tight muscles.
Originally Posted by SuZenGuide
That website is full of great info. Thnx, Suzen. This is so exciting! I hope not anothjer panacea that promises everything and delivers nada.

But now I'm not sure which machine I'd want to get.

I red this on the website. And I'm wondering if I could just adjust the frequency or intensity on an EMS to achieve the function of a TENS? Is an EMS a more versatile adaptable machine that can be used also as a TENS and bio feedback machines, etc? See red and green.

Yes. Muscle stimulators relieve pain, reduce spasms and edema, tonify weak muscles, and assist the healing process, run at from 1 to 130 Hz. TENS units are used to block pain run at about 80 to 90 Hz. Interferential Therapy units are a type of muscle stimulator run at 3000 to 4000 Hz. Bio Feedback instruments used to modify behavior and retrain the nervous and muscular systems, run from below 1 Hz to about 40 Hz. Bone Growth Stimulators, used to heal broken bones, run at various frequencies. Deep Brain Stimulators, which use implanted electrodes to impart electrical pulses, run from between 120 and 160 Hz directly to the brain to control involuntary muscular tremors in Parkinson's disease. Heart Pacemakers use an electrical impulse to regulate the heart's rhythm.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

I will be making an appt w/ my doctor today! Thanks for the tip (tho the woman who gave me the demo said the same thing and I just glaossed over that part)! I have good health insurance and I also have an open worker's comp claim from last November when I hurt my back worse carrying something for work. So I figure one of the two should be able to come up w/ $300.

Strange thing -- this unit describes itself as both a electric muscle stimulator (EMS) and a TENS. Is there really a difference?
Yes there is a difference.

Do you know what the difference is?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
TENS Vs Muscle Stimulator - Whatís the Difference?
Youíve probably heard a lot about muscle stimulators recently and chances are, youíve heard TENS being mentioned, as well. They are both commonly advertised machines that you can get easily for home use. But what is the difference between these two treatments? If you arenít sure about this then you wonít be able to make the best purchase decision.

The main difference between the two is that a muscle stimulator is used to cause muscle contraction, while TENS focuses on nerve stimulation and tries to avoid contracting the muscles. Both use electrical pulses to do their job, but have different purposes.

TENS
The main use of a TENS machine is for pain relief, particularly in the case of chronic pain. It is most often used for joint or muscle pain that wonít go away, but can also be used to help treat nerve problems without resorting to drugs. It isnít uniformly effective, that is, different people will have different results. For some, TENS electrical pulses interrupt the pain signals so effectively that they are literally without pain. For others, the relief is nearly non-existent, but most commonly, this treatment provides considerable relief from the chronic pain that haunts the user.


TENS can be used for up to 12 hours and consists of two small electrodes that are placed on either side of the area where the pain originates. The higher frequencies tend to block the pain signals, while much lower frequencies will stimulate the body to produce endorphins which naturally reduce pain.

Muscle Stimulation
This is a very similar machine to the TENS, also using two electrodes to send electrical pulses through the body. However, the purpose is quite different. Here, the purpose is to cause the muscles to contract and the reason has nothing to do with pain relief.

Muscle stimulation has been found to be an effective method of training the muscles. The electrical impulses mimic those of the brain to tell muscles to move. There are two main reasons to use a muscle stimulator.

Training: Using electrical stimulation for training purposes is very useful. It allows the person to focus on specific muscle groups by choosing the right frequency and will work just those muscles, working them and conditioning them. This is particularly useful for aesthetic purposes.

Medical: When it comes to therapeutic use, electrical pulses can be used to stimulate muscles that are not being used. This can keep them conditioned and prevents atrophying. Itís a useful measure in medical situations.

Both TENS machines and muscle stimulators have their uses, but they are very different in their reasons for being used. If you are looking for an alternative to standard pain relief, then the TENS machine is what you should be looking at. However, for the prevention of atrophied muscles and to define specific muscle groups, the muscle stimulator is the way to go.
Now that you know the difference between these two different types of therapies, youíll be able to choose the correct one. These machines can be bought for home use and you can safely use them yourself, as long as you follow the directions and take care not to use them if you have heart problems or a pacemaker.

Source: ezinearticles.com
~~~
You want an unit with the most options available and I'm not sure 300$ will cover that. What feels good today may not work tomorrow. Be sure there is an exchange policy in case a few days later, it's not working how you hoped.

Your doctor can write a prescription and you can take it to a medical supply store. You'll be able to try out various units and see what's available.
You just don't want to limit your options. The electrodes are pricey so make sure the insurance will cover those or at least part of the price.
Hi spiderlashes! I'm in a doctoral program for PT right now, so I get to play with e-stim units all day long. You are right, TENS and EMS are just different settings of electrical stimulation that effect the body in different ways. Different wavelengths can effect muscle cells (causing muscle contraction) or the nerve cells (pain relief) differently, depending on the settings.

Honestly, I'd schedule an appt with a PT to discuss options for pain management using e-stim rather than a doctor. A PT can help you pick the right unit and set it up to do what you want it to do. Insurance will most likely cover your unit. You may need a doctor's prescription for a hand-held point stimulator, though. They are useful when applied to acupuncture points, although some people think it's voodoo. But either way, $300-$800 is waaaay too much to spend on one of these units out of pocket.

Empi is a common brand used in PT clinics and hospitals. Check out the website for information.

Also, I won't promise that this will be a cure-all for your pain. E-stim is a temporary way to reduce pain, although some settings cause longer lasting effects than others. PT therapy may also help you with pain reduction; it's always an option to consider.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
Not all who wander are lost.

Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
Hi spiderlashes! I'm in a doctoral program for PT right now, so I get to play with e-stim units all day long.
Empi is a common brand used in PT clinics and hospitals. Check out the website for information.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
Originally Posted by lauraloo
Way to go. that's a lot of hard work!

Empi is the brand of my TENS unit. Company is very easy to deal and hassle free when ordering more electrodes, leads, etc.
This is great info. Thnx, everyone. I'm glad you're telling me to let my insurance cover this. Even though I've been getting massages and seeing doctors and getting my back cracked and popping pills and buying gadgets, etc. for 20 years for this condition, I'm still not used to anyone taking it seriously or really even believing me. The idea that I could, in someone's mind, have a legitimate condition that requires legitimate treatment (in the form of an electronic gadget? woohoo) is still new to me. I never even scheduled the PT appointments needed for my worker's comp claim (when I re-hurt my back last fall) b/c I felt like everyone would just think I was making it up or it wouldn't help or whatever.

OK, I'm going to make an appt w/ my prim care phys so I can get a referral to a PT...and maybe try to reactivate my WC claim which was never officially closed.

I'm not usually in acute pain (though sometimes I am.) Usually most of my body just feel sore and stiff and the muscles in my back, neck, shoulders and hips feel tense. Maybe an EMS is the way to go for me. But i'll talk it over w/ a PT.

Oh yeah, the reason the unit I was considering is so expensive is b/c it also comes w/ electric muscle stimulating shoes, plus the roller and the pen. I woul love to have the shoes b/c I have spent a fortune on reflexology treatments over the years and the shoes might take the place of those.

I feel better just reading this thread!
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

Hi spiderlashes! I'm in a doctoral program for PT right now, so I get to play with e-stim units all day long. You are right, TENS and EMS are just different settings of electrical stimulation that effect the body in different ways. Different wavelengths can effect muscle cells (causing muscle contraction) or the nerve cells (pain relief) differently, depending on the settings.

Honestly, I'd schedule an appt with a PT to discuss options for pain management using e-stim rather than a doctor. A PT can help you pick the right unit and set it up to do what you want it to do. Insurance will most likely cover your unit. You may need a doctor's prescription for a hand-held point stimulator, though. They are useful when applied to acupuncture points, although some people think it's voodoo. But either way, $300-$800 is waaaay too much to spend on one of these units out of pocket.

Empi is a common brand used in PT clinics and hospitals. Check out the website for information.

Also, I won't promise that this will be a cure-all for your pain. E-stim is a temporary way to reduce pain, although some settings cause longer lasting effects than others. PT therapy may also help you with pain reduction; it's always an option to consider.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
Originally Posted by lauraloo
Quick question -
so when you are in PT and they put you on the heat and stim, which type of home-use machine most closely matches the PT office machine? I was thinking I needed a TENS unit for nonmuscle contracting pain relief. But the PTist put a heat/stim on my neck, turned it up high and made my muscles contract pretty significantly for 10 minutes. And afterward, I felt great. My neck is the lesser of my two spinal issues. I think I have an intermittently bulging disk in my lumbar region, too.

I know no one cares or wants to hear this LOL...I was going to PM lauraloo but you never know who else might pop in w/ good advice (crimsonshedemon, etc...hope you're doing well)
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

I hope you find relief soon, you've posted about your back pain before.
Hey spider, I PM'd you back.

I don't think I addressed this though-- the specific unit doesn't matter as much as the type of wavelength being delivered. The home-use TENS units can do pretty much all the same things as the in-clinic units, so a TENS unit for home use should be adequate for your needs. The TENS unit is capable of causing muscle contractions-- it just matters what setting it's put on. If you turn the intensity up high enough, it will probably cause muscle contractions eventually.

I may not have answered all your questions, so feel free to ask away!
Not all who wander are lost.

Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
Hey spider, I PM'd you back.

I don't think I addressed this though-- the specific unit doesn't matter as much as the type of wavelength being delivered. The home-use TENS units can do pretty much all the same things as the in-clinic units, so a TENS unit for home use should be adequate for your needs. The TENS unit is capable of causing muscle contractions-- it just matters what setting it's put on. If you turn the intensity up high enough, it will probably cause muscle contractions eventually.

I may not have answered all your questions, so feel free to ask away!
Originally Posted by lauraloo
You have been so helpful, lauraloo (and crimson). Thnx M2LR.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

My BF has something similar which he uses for aches and pains. It seems to have a temporary effect, nothing lasting. I've seen them used by physical therapists, so I think they have some legitimate uses. As to the claims of curing everything from hives to impotence, that sounds like snake oil BS to me.
Originally Posted by SuZenGuide
They are used for stimulating a muscle and teaching it how to fire correctly. They can sometimes also be used in helping with pain management depending on the modality. They have nothing to do with increasing the cross-sectional diameter of a muscle fiber (aka making a muscle bigger)
[Quick question -
so when you are in PT and they put you on the heat and stim, which type of home-use machine most closely matches the PT office machine? I was thinking I needed a TENS unit for nonmuscle contracting pain relief. But the PTist put a heat/stim on my neck, turned it up high and made my muscles contract pretty significantly for 10 minutes. And afterward, I felt great. My neck is the lesser of my two spinal issues. I think I have an intermittently bulging disk in my lumbar region, too.

I know no one cares or wants to hear this LOL...I was going to PM lauraloo but you never know who else might pop in w/ good advice (crimsonshedemon, etc...hope you're doing well)
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Empi gave me a 30 day trial so I could try it out and see if I liked it. You may want to ask about a trial period.
With my TENS unit, there are various modes of delivery (continuous, burst, etc). You can set it high enough to cause muscle contractions which can be quite painful. There's a fine line between pleasure and pain.
And different deliveries feel better on different areas.

For me, the TENS unit is the best non-pharmaceutical treatment.

HTH

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