A couple of years ago, a new treatment hit the medical aesthetic industry that uses electromagnetic muscle stimulation (EMS) to trigger thousands of intense involuntary muscle contractions. Although EMS has been used in the medical field for decades, it has been harnessed into a commercial grade technology used in professional clinics to help strengthen and tone your muscles. Home versions of the technology have been around for several years, but these professional devices (such as Emsculpt and CMSlim) are far more powerful. They force your muscles to contract more times than physically possible through exercise; the equivalent of 20,000-30,000 contractions in 30 minutes. Devices like CMSlim and Emsculpt have revolutionised the way we live our lives. We use satnav instead of maps; we communicate with millions of people around the world with social media; surgeries are performed through robots so surgeons can have more precision and control. We now have the ability to push our fitness to new levels through technology. EMS is a way to rethink and revolutionise how we can achieve our fitness goals and improve our strength in a way that is just not physically possible on our own.
What is EMS?
Electromagnetic muscle stimulation uses electromagnetic fields that pass through the body and interact with your motor neurons that trigger muscle contractions leading to muscle strengthening and growth. EMS was originally used in physical therapy for musculoskeletal conditions, neck and back pain and other medical treatments. Studies proved that the functions induced by electrical stimulation caused long-term changes in the muscles.
How is EMS used in medical aesthetic clinics?
First you decide which areas you want to target – abdomen, buttocks, arms, thighs or calves. During each session, paddles are placed over the area and as the device starts, you will feel the current start to force your muscles to contract over and over. As you progress go through a course of treatments, the repetitive intense contractions force your muscle tissues to adapt, and they continue to develop over the next four to eight weeks. Clinical studies reported an average of 16 per cent to 18 per cent increase in muscle thickness one to two months after a course of treatments.
EMS targets 100 per cent of muscles
One of the main reasons EMS achieves results not possible through normal exercise, is because it engages 100 per cent of the muscles in target areas. According to Dr Susanna Hayter, GP and owner of Marlow based My Beauty Doctor: “The electromagnetic energy we use in CMSlim can target 100 per cent of the muscle fibres to contract, which is more than double what most elite athletes can achieve in training. Repeated stimulation results in increased muscle strength and size and this takes a few weeks after each session to become apparent. The intense contractions also stimulate the release of fatty acids from nearby fat cells which results in significant fat reduction in target area.”
Targeting Your Core
One of the hardest muscle groups to target is our core muscles; the muscles around the spine, hips and pelvis that provide stability. The core is described as a “corset” that acts to control the spine and provide stability for the function of your limbs. Core exercises require very controlled form and pace. EMS penetrates down to your core muscles and forces contractions. By engaging 100 per cent of your core muscles, it can help virtually all aspects of your fitness performance by improving your posture, stabiliser muscles, as well as helping you perform abdominal and core exercises safely and more effectively. In addition to improving your fitness, strengthening your core muscles reduces the projection of your abdomen. Even if you have developed abdominal muscles, if your core is weak, your stomach can stick our further. EMS can help pull in your core, making your stomach flatter as well as more defined.
EMS is a revolutionary way to change the way we exercise and help people feel better about themselves. Our life spans are getting longer and we need to embrace technology that can improve our lives and health. It will never be a replacement for hard work, but if it means we can improve our fitness, health and ultimately take better care of our bodies, this is something everyone can benefit from.