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Frequently Asked Questions – TENS / EMS Machines

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a non-invasive drug-free method to help with pain relief and has been designed for management of chronic pain. Transcutaneous means across the skin and TENS helps to relieve pain by sending tiny electrical impulses through electrodes placed on or near the area of pain or pressure point to underlying nerve fibres.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is an advanced muscle exercise and toning technique that is an efficient and effective supplement to any workout routine. It allows you to target and exercise specific muscle areas very easily, making it perfect for strengthening injured or weak areas with minimal stress. In conjunction with an appropriate workout routine the use of EMS may increase muscle tone and definition. EMS units are designed to exercise body muscles by applying a chosen intensity and frequency of electrical current repeatedly in a series of stimulated contraction and relaxation phases, simulation muscle movement.


1.         How does the machine help with pain?

There are two theories on how TENS Machines are effective:

Firstly:  Have you ever wondered why rubbing an area that you just injured seems to help with the pain?  This is called the Gate Control Theory of Pain.  This theory proposes that there is a gate mechanism in the central nervous system (which is the brain and spinal cord nerves).  If the gate is open, pain messages are allowed through to the brain and we sense pain.  If the gate is closed then we would not feel or sense that same pain.  TENS machines are thought to stimulate certain non-pain carrying nerves and thus closes the gates.  So in essence, the TENS machine keeps the brain busy with messages it is receiving quickly from the electrical stimulant rather than the slower pain signals coming from the effected area of the body.

The second theory is that the low pulse rate setting stimulates its own pain-easing chemicals called endorphins. These act a bit like morphine to block pain signals.

Either way, it is clinically proven to help relieve body pain.  But of course, it is not a guarantee it will work on you.  Please seek your appropriate medical advice for your individual circumstance.

2.         What is EMS?

EMS or “Electrical Muscle Stimulator” is primarily a machine that will contract your muscles via an electrical pulse.

EMS uses a cycle of stimulation, contraction and then relaxation to increase blood flow to the area, which decreases inflammation and promotes healing and muscle growth. By stimulating the muscles at their basic structure, an EMS machine causes muscle contractions similar to those obtained by exercise. The EMS machines are professionally used to prevent atrophied muscles or for retraining muscles, such as in an individual who has been paralysed or partially paralysed.

If you are looking to help strengthen or re-train your muscles using an EMS machine then read on.

Fact 1:  If you (without any stimulant) maximally contract a muscle, you will only, at best, have 30% of all your muscle fibres in a state of contraction. The remaining 70% are dormant and awaiting recruitment when the contracting fibres fatigue. An EMS machine can potentially stimulate the resting muscle fibres to improve their strength.

Ever heard of ‘speed of motor unit activation’.?  Neither did we until we started researching the benefits of EMS. 

Fact 2: It takes approximately 10,000 repetitions for your brain to learn how to quickly send a message to your muscles via the quickest nerve pathways.  

Fact 3:  This contraction pattern becomes your "memory engram".

Fact 4:  The more frequent your muscle is recruited the better your body becomes at finding the quickest way to recruit that muscle.

A theory of EMS is that it can potentially provide you with repeated contractions to accelerate this learning process.

You should always consult your local physiotherapist who specialises in EMS muscle retraining prior to using an EMS machine.

3.         How many times can I use the machine as in treating the current pain?

We recommend a minimum of 30-45 minutes on the effected area.  There is no minimum time between uses but we recommend giving yourself a decent break between sessions to help your muscle fibres rebuild.

4.         How many times can I use the pads and how long do they last?

The pads are designed for multiple use.  After use, place the pads back on to the plastic sheet that are supplied with the machine and the pads will last a lot longer.  The pads will only be effective if they stick to the skin.  Once the stickiness is gone, then it is time to replace them.

5.         Can I alternate between TENS and EMS as a treatment?

A TENS unit stimulates the nerve endings while the EMS unit stimulates the muscles.

The Best of Both Worlds

Some chronic pain sufferers have found that using a combination of both TENS and EMS provides maximum results. Dual units, such as the MH8000P are available for that purpose and the combination of pain reduction and muscle stimulation at the cellular level has provided people with increased muscle tone and decreased levels of chronic pain. However, we always recommend the use of these devices be monitored by a professional so that the electrodes are properly placed and the proper signal is used. There is multiple websites that indicate correct placements of the pads, but none of these site know your body and your pain.  Please seek professional guidance for your individual circumstance.

Electrode placement should vary with each treatment and those who are pregnant, have seizures or have a pacemaker should not use either EMS or TENS without the specific advice of their physician.

6.         Does EMS have any other uses other than rehabilitation of muscles?

EMS machines have many uses  included range of motion improvement, increase circulator action and the prevention of blood clots. 

7.         Where are the machines made are they good quality?

Our machines are of the highest quality.  We have the Australian exclusive rights to the all of our machines (except the MH6000P).  We continue to provide these machines because of the high quality and the great reviews we receive from you.

8.         I have had a machine before and I had to programme the machine for different applications therefore I couldn’t be bothered using it what makes your machine any different?

Our machines all have pre-programmed settings for different applications. 

9.         How many pads are included in the pack?

17 pads in each set.

10.       How long is the warranty?

3 Yr Australian Replacement Warranty.  Just ring us directly and we will deal with any issues.

11.       Will TENS heal me?

Please consult a doctor or physiotherapist to discuss your individual needs

12.       Does the wall plug charge the machine?

The AC Adapter does not re-charge the battery in the machine.  The advantage of the AC power supply is that the machine can ready to use at any time and for any length of time.

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