Types of TENS Units and What They’re Used For

Electricity is a powerful and often volatile force of nature. To most people, it can seem impossible to control. However, electrotherapy proves that we can control electricity with such precision that we can use it to target parts of the body for specific purposes.

To get the most out of your electrotherapy, you should understand the different types of TENS units and what they’re used for.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

TENS therapy is perhaps the most common type of electrotherapy. During a TENS treatment, electricity stimulates the nerves in specific areas of the body. The purpose is to influence the way our nervous system responds to pain and increase the production of endorphins to provide pain relief.

Interferential Current Electrical Stimulation (IFC)

IFC treatments are similar to TENS treatments in that both seek to offer pain relief with electric signals. However, IFC uses a more powerful signal with a two and four-polar frequency circuit. This is designed to go deeper than TENS treatments can, allowing it to reach more tissues. This may help reduce inflammation to promote healing as well.

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NEMS)

Also known as electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), this treatment moves away from targeting nerve endings to targeting the muscles themselves. This causes contractions in the muscles for a process referred to as “neuromuscular reeducation.”

The goal of this process is to restore body movements after an injury as well as strengthen muscles. This is especially beneficial for athletes or muscle rehabilitation centers.

Russian Stimulation

Russian stimulation serves a similar purpose to NEMS treatments. People use them for the purpose of improving muscular strength, size, endurance, and recovery. Russian stimulation uses a higher frequency electrical current than NEMS treatments. This current, known as the Russian current, is known to help increase muscle size and improve healing.

The beauty of knowing the different types of TENS units and how they’re used is that it will inform your choice when you purchase a TENS machine for shoulder pain or any other injury you may be experiencing. Many of our TENS units can perform more than one type of electrotherapy.

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