Electro-stimulation (EMS) Research
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses. The impulses are generated by a device and delivered through electrodes on the skin over the muscles to be stimulated. The impulses mimic the action potential coming from the central nervous system, causing the muscles to contract.
EMS became popular in the '60s when Soviet sport scientists used it in the training of elite athletes, claiming 40% force gains . Recent medical physiology research has pinpointed the mechanisms by which electrical stimulation causes adaptation of cells of muscles, blood vessels and nerves.
Because of the characteristics of skeletal muscle fibers, different types of fibers can be activated to differing degrees by different types of EMS. These patterns, referred to as protocols or programs, will cause a different response from contraction of different fiber types. Some programs will improve fatigue resistance (endurance), while others will increase force production.
EMS can be used both as a training and a therapeutic tool.