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Transcutaneous electrical nerve and muscle stimulation

Both techniques relieve pain by using an electric current. However, there are some differences between them that we must understand in order to choose the most appropriate treatment.



A TENS device, also known as a TENS unit or nerve stimulator, consists of an electrical impulse generator connected to electrodes placed on the skin.

TENS devices work in three different ways:

  • They block the transmission of pain signals to the brain.

  • Stimulate the production of endorphins (natural painkillers).

  • Improve blood circulation.

Electrical Stimulation

TENS is a technique that aims to relieve pain by means of electric current.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation involves sending small, low-voltage electrical impulses to a specific nerve through electrodes placed on the skin, preventing pain signals from being perceived by the brain.

EMS is a technique that aims to stimulate the muscles by means of an electric current to achieve a specific result.

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) involves the discharge of small, low-voltage electrical impulses to a muscle through electrodes placed on the skin. In order to obtain muscle contraction.

This muscle contraction can serve two different purposes:

1. Relieve inflammation

2. Strengthen and develop muscle avoiding pain and fatigue.

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An EMS device consists of an electrical pulse generator connected to electrodes that are placed on the skin around the muscle to be stimulated.

Additionally, it sends small electrical impulses that are directly induced in the muscle, causing it to contract.

The muscle when contracting and relaxing repeatedly, promotes the improvement of blood circulation, as a consequence we potentiate the following points:

  • Muscle relaxation

  • Minimize inflammation

  • Prevent muscle atrophy

  • Accelerate muscle regeneration

  • Stimulate muscle growth / development

Electrical Stimulation

What are the differences?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) devices stimulate nerves solely for the purpose of relieving pain, while Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) devices are designed to stimulate muscles in order to strengthen and / or rehabilitate them them.

For more information download the following pdf here:

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