by Todd Erb, In-house Practitioner at NES Health
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, more commonly known as TENS, is a method that uses electrical current to help with pain relief.
Transcutaneous means something is passing through intact skin. In other words, there’s no cut, wound, or abrasion. In the case of TENS, electricity is used transcutaneously.
Just like PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic frequency), TENS dates back thousands of years.
Of course, the use of electrical eels and torpedo fish (a type of stingray) for therapeutic purposes may seem crude today but to Greek physicians, it was a wonderful way to bring about pain relief for the patients. In fact, torpedo fish were even used to help numb the pain of childbirth.
Today, I would classify such a crude method under the wider blanket of Electro Stimulation. This broader term more accurately defines the totality of all applied electrical currents for therapeutic purposes. The term, TENs, is more commonly used to refer to the small handheld devices that are often used or prescribed for acute pain relief.
These TENs devices usually include two or more electrodes connected by wires to a handheld device that pushes and electrical currents through the two electrodes when activated. These types are incredibly common. In fact, you can find them in just about any store with a pharmacy.
In theory, they’re easy to use.
All you need to do is place the two electrodes on the part of the body you would like to treat, turn the device on, and let the electricity go to work.
Most TENs units are manual and their use will require the user to input exact frequencies, pulse width, amplitude, as well as ensure accurate placement of the electrodes.
If you haven’t had a lot of experience with them or are aimlessly setting the dials, there’s a good chance you won’t get any benefits at all.
This is the WRONG way to use TENS
When the user or clinician is adequately trained and the settings are appropriate for their intended use one can achieve plenty of benefits through this type of stimulation.
The only way to get here with a conventional TENS device is to invest plenty of time. However, we have a much better solution.
The first therapeutic use is to attempt to stimulate a variety of nerve fibers -- mainly A and B type. This can effectively block pain signals to the brain providing temporary relief from discomfort.
In other therapeutic uses of these currents, the nerves can be stimulated to induce muscular contraction. This involuntary contraction happens repeatedly given the consistent electrical currents.
These contractions happen much quicker than what is normally possible when exerting conscious control over the muscle. In this way, you are able to build and strengthen specific muscles or muscle groups faster without adding load or stress onto the system.
Another way you can think of this type of stimulation as an electrical form of tapping and/or acupuncture.
Regardless of whether you are repeatedly tapping with your finger on various acupressure points or sticking them with the needle for a specific period of time, you are simply bringing attention and focus of the brain and the nervous system to that area of the body.
The TENS devices you can buy over-the-counter use two pads or more that can be placed anywhere on the body. However, they’re relatively large and placing them in the correct spots can be especially tricky.
The miHealth device has two sets of on-device electrodes, allowing for a much shorter and direct pathway between the two electrodes.
You see, TENS-like stimulation as a very fast and quick electrical tapper or needle, so being precise has a huge advantage.
The main electrodes in the back are large and for general use like sweeping across the back.
But then we have our edge electrodes that are smaller and placed at the tip of the device. They wrap around the corners so you can tip the device upon its corner and utilize a very small surface area of stimulation.
Clinicians or users traditionally trained in Chinese medicine and know where the various acupressure points are can stimulate those individual spots, providing a more targeted effect.
Many of our practitioners find that they prefer this type of noninvasive stimulation over something such as acupuncture needles.
As you can see this modality as both physical and energetic implications for one's health journey.
Whether it is the regeneration of dysfunctional or maladapted muscular structures, stimulation of acupressure points, and dermatological zones, restoring communication between the brain and the rest of the body, TENS is a reliable and noninvasive way to support yourself along your health journey.
That said TENS does not come without its drawbacks and potential pitfalls. Without proper programming, the device may not be able to provide the correct type of stimulation for its intended use.
The body adapts to static forms of stimulation. After about 10 minutes, you'll barely be able to notice the electrical stimulation from your TENS device.
As long as you have the power of a common TENS device on, the stimulation continues regardless of whether or not the nervous system needs wants or can utilize any more stimulation or energy. This can be a complicating factor that limits the overall efficacy and benefits you can achieve with such devices.
However, with the miHealth device, you need not worry.
By bringing together TENS in tandem with PEMF and SCENAR, we have not only revolutionized each of them but also compensated for the various issues I've just highlighted.
Lastly, all of these benefits that we can achieve with the base technologies are simply icing on the gluten-free cake.
The main goal is to utilize the frequencies of this device to carry our NES corrective information to the human body fields to rejuvenate the energetic distortions and blockages that we find via the NES scan.
You can get more information here.
Find out how you can use our advanced TENS, PEMF, and SCENAR technologies to support smooth movement and healthy joints.