In recent years, electrode vests and electrostimulation in general have been gaining popularity and have ceased to be something reserved for elite athletes to open up to the general population. Behind the almost miraculous results that many people claim they have, others wonder if muscle electrostimulation really works . Getting to the point, the answer is that yes, muscle electrostimulation works. Now, you should know that there are a multitude of utilities and that it can be used for many different purposes.
Thus, depending on each specific case and the way in which it is used, the results can be one or the other, good or bad. In the following article we will explain everything you need to know about electrostimulation; its uses, contraindications and how it should be used to lose weight.
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Electrostimulation: what is it and what does it consist of?
In recent years, muscle electrostimulation devices are gaining followers, but beyond the results, it is important to know what electrostimulation is and what it consists of in order to maximize its benefits and avoid injuries or physical problems derived from its misuse.
First of all you should know that depending on the objective you are looking for with its use, you will have to do it in one way or another, especially taking into account the intensity of the discharge and the body area where these discharges are applied by means of electrodes on the skin.
To understand how it works, you must first understand the workings and structures of our cells. In our body, cells are polarized, which means that there is an unequal distribution of electrical charges between their interior and exterior. That is, the outer part of the cells has a positive charge, while the inner part has a negative charge. It is there where the energy transmitted through electrotherapy acts.
With electrostimulation we can excite these cells in a totally arbitrary way or direct it where we are especially interested. In the same way, depending on the type of frequency that we use, we can choose which, among the different muscle fibers, we want to activate. This is vitally important, as we do not need the same activation at any point in our training phase, nor if we want to overcome a specific injury.
Below we will explain in detail what benefits electrostimulation has depending on the type of frequency we use, but basically it can be summarized as follows:
- Low frequencies : they manage to relax the muscle by increasing blood circulation and releasing endorphins.
- Medium frequencies : aerobic muscle work up to an aerobic-anaerobic combination.
- High frequencies : anaerobic exercise.
Electrostimulation: benefits according to frequency
As we have just mentioned, muscle electrostimulation devices and vests have a variable frequency band, allowing a great variety of uses depending on the objectives we want to achieve. Here’s what each frequency band is for :
- Frequency between 2-4 hertz : it is the gentlest electrostimulation. With it we achieve muscle relaxation, which allows us to treat overloaded or painful muscles. Both the improvement of blood circulation and the release of endorphins help us to do so.
- Frequency between 4-8 hertz : It is still a basic frequency and the benefits are very similar to the previous one. The increased release of endorphins causes the pain threshold to rise and the person’s ability to resist it improves.
- Frequency between 8-12 hertz : we are still within a smooth frequency, however, we are already beginning to notice how the muscle is contracting. What the patient notices is that they are applying a kind of massage, so the benefits are very similar to those of this activity. The muscle relaxes, improves blood circulation and therefore oxygenation.
- Frequency between 12-40 hertz : at this frequency the activity of the slow muscle fibers is already stimulated, the same as it would happen if a light run was done. In other words, with this intensity, the body already begins to work aerobically with almost no oxygen deficit.
- Frequency between 40-60 hertz : it is one more step in what was worked in the previous frequency; it continues to work the slow fibers but can eventually activate some fast fibers. The effects are summarized in a greater oxygenation and resistance of the muscles.
- Frequency between 60-80 hertz : activates both intermediate and fast fibers, at this point we are already talking about strength work and muscle building development.
- Frequency between 80-120 hertz : the stimulation is based on fast fibers, in addition, they do it with great intensity. The benefits of this frequency are noticeable both in terms of speed and strength.
Muscle electrostumulation: side effects
Beyond what has been said, you must be clear that muscle electrostimulation and the use of electrode vests is not suitable for everyone. Although these types of vests are more modern, the system with which they work is the same as local electrostimulation, a technique that has been widely used for decades and has been widely studied. This type of training is contraindicated for the following people :
- On the trunk and abdomen of pregnant women
- People with pacemakers
- People with circulation problems
- People suffering from abdominal hernia or inguinal hernia
- People with neurological problems
- People with atopic dermatitis , wounds, eczema or irritations.
- Metabolic diseases such as diabetes , hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism .
- High levels of uric acid or gout sufferers
- Metabolic syndrome or being overweight
- Inflammatory diseases
In cases of metabolic syndrome and inflammatory diseases, special caution must be exercised. The fact is that in the latter case, there are diseases such as arthritis, for which electrostimulation is contraindicated. However, there are centers where this treatment is sold as a method to relieve joint pain. In the event that you come across something like this, you should know that you are facing a clear case of negligence, either due to ignorance or malpractice, and that you should not undergo electrostimulation under any circumstances.
Another different case is that of being overweight, although electrostimulation to lose weight can be a good complement, as we will explain below, it is not suitable for everyone.
Electrostimulation to lose weight
There are many myths and ignorance that surround electrostimulation sessions. In part, their popularity and growth has meant that they are often used by people who do not have the necessary knowledge to use this type of machinery. First of all, you should know that electrostimulation, especially if you want it to lose weight, should be used under medical supervision and always accompanied by a professional. On the other hand, as we have seen in the section on contraindications, it is not recommended for those who have metabolism problems and are overweight . Below we will clarify some concepts about electrostimulation and weight loss:
- It is not a fat burner : electrode vests do not burn fat or make it disappear if not accompanied by a diet and regular training. That is why it is not possible to lose weight doing only electrostimulation sessions sitting on the sofa.
- It does not transform fat into muscle : fat and muscle have nothing to do with it; While the first is accumulating with a sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits, the second is the result of making our body work. You can perfectly build muscle and still have fat.
Can you lose weight with electrostimulation?
At this point we can ask ourselves the big question; Does muscle electrostimulation work to lose weight? The answer is yes. You can lose weight with electrostimulation as long as you follow a proper diet and exercise regularly. The objection that can be made is that, by doing the same without electrostimulation, you can lose weight anyway, and it is true, but this equipment will help you to enhance those results.
By working your muscles more, you will need more calories to maintain themselves, so your body will need to burn more fat throughout the day. Not only will you burn fat when you exercise, when the day is over and you go to sleep your body will need more energy and, with a caloric deficit, this energy must come out of your fat reserves.
On the other hand, by toning your muscles you will gain more strength and endurance, so the exercises you do may be more and more demanding, which will make you lose even more calories by working harder and tiring less.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.