The History of Electronic Muscle Stimulators

The history of Electronic Muscle Stimulators is quite interesting because it goes all the way back to 2500B.C. which was the time of the Egyptian Fifth Dynasty. Although electricity as we know it was thousands of years from existence, the Egyptians discovered an electric fish that could be used in the treatment of pain. It wasn’t until 1965 when “Pain Mechanism: A New Theory,” a paper by Melzack and Wall that was written after a tremendous amount of research, revealed the benefits of electricity used as therapy to the people of today.
It was in the 1970s that Electronic Muscle Stimulators (EMS) found their place in salons. Over twenty years later in the early 1990s, units used in home treatment gained popularity. It was in the mid-1990s that wearable units gained popularity. They are worn like a belt with electrodes that connect to the skin with adhesive pads. Other Electronic Muscle Stimulators come in the form of shorts made of neoprene and other clothing items such as shirts. Since these variations of EMS devices were created, there has been a large growth in the EMS market. Most of the items are acquired by mail order and now come in different colors and prints such as leopard, cow print, and even zebra stripes. This is so the devices will appeal to some of the younger customers.
However, with the growing popularity of these devices, the FDA had to step in to regulate them as far as what reasons they should be used. In the 1970’s when EMS devices were popular in salons, a device called the Relaxacisor, which was a vest that administered high voltage shocks, was developed. The FDA had to step in and notify post offices to look for these mail order devices because the vest was a hazard. Other reasons why the FDA had to step in were, first of all, that EMS devices are not recommended for young children and those in their early teens. The more appealing styles and prints that have come out in the last decade are for those in their mid teens to their early to mid twenties. Children do not need to be using these devices for the reasons in which many people use them for, which is bodybuilding. Children are growing and usually get adequate exercise from running and playing. What the EMS devices do is help strengthen, tone, and build muscular endurance.
But since the inception of EMS devices, doctors have used them for a variety of reasons. They are especially helpful in those who are paralyzed, in pain relief, and improving blood flow in those with poor circulation. Chiropractors also use them on back injuries in order to relax the muscles, which results in faster healing times for patients.
As the use of Electronic Muscle Stimulation devices has increased, other variations of them have hit the market for those using them during intense sport training. They are available in different strengths such as maximum strength that feels comparable to weight training, endurance and recovery that decreases the chances of delayed onset of muscle soreness, and explosive strength that is used for those participating in sports that involve fast movements.
It is obvious that EMS devices have come a long way from the days of the Egyptians using an electric fish to relieve pain to the 1960’s discovery that EMS devices were great for medical uses. Since then, bodybuilders have found beneficial uses that help them in their weight training and more and more people are benefiting from the low voltage shocks of EMS devices to relieve ailments and to help strengthen and tone their bodies.


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