How is TENS electrostimulation different to EMS electrostimulation?

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Tens y EMS

Applying science and technology to the way that we train in our daily lives will enable us to obtain better results. For example, the use of electrostimulation in your training not only serves to improve your physical health, such as being in shape, losing weight or increasing muscle power (although it is true that its main use is more focused on aesthetic matters due to the evidence and visibility of the results). With just 20-minutes a week of training with electrostimulation, you will feel better, your body will be more toned, and your muscles increasingly defined. We tell you about this in the benefits of using electrostimulation in your training.

How is TENS electrostimulation different to EMS electrostimulation

However, EMS, or in other words, Electrical muscle stimulation, is not only used for aesthetic matters.

Good flexibility training, with the assistance of electrostimulation for therapeutic purposes, can benefit and improve rehabilitation sessions, localized lesions, and we could even attain good results in exercises aimed at improving mobility issues caused by illnesses such as arthrosis, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis as we explain in this article.

Having reached this point, we can differentiate between two concepts, EMS electrostimulation and TENS electrostimulation.

EMS electrostimulation

The use of EMS electrostimulation is achieved thanks to a special training vest or suit. This equipment has electrodes that are strategically located around our body. These electrodes discharge low intensity or mid-frequency electrical impulses, and make our muscles activate due to that muscular discharge. That technology normally has a sporting, therapeutic or aesthetic purpose.

On the contrary, EMS electrostimulation has a purely therapeutic purpose. In order to understand its use, we first need to introduce the concept of analgesia.

Analgesia is the disappearance or modulation, natural or induced, of any feeling of pain, and it can be local and only affect a part of the body, or regional.

TENS electrostimulation

TENS electrostimulation, whose abbreviation is Transcutaneus Electrical Nervous Stimulation acts as electropuncture to treat pain. The device functions with electrodes, which send an electric charge to the affected area and produce a tingling in it. This tingling sensation produced excites the sensory fibres and generates electrical pulses that enable us to alleviate pain in a really natural, although induced, way, without the need to use medicines or analgesics. In more technical language, TENS electrostimulation produces local or regional analgesia.

Differences between Tens and EMS

Having reached this point, in this table we have summarised the main differences between TENS electrostimulation and EMS electrostimulation.

Acute or chronic pain.Recovery after a surgical procedure.Postoperative pain.Regular headaches or tension headaches.Sports injury.Arthritis, tendonitis or bursitis.Pain in the healing of a wound.Muscle contractions.Dysfunction in blood flow.Muscular atrophy due to inactivity.Rehabilitation and loss of functional mobility.Prevention of venous thrombosis after a procedure.Muscle toning.
Aimed at analgesiaAimed to muscle work
Works the sensory nerve fibresWorks the motor nerve fibres
ElectropunctureSuit with electrodes strategically placed in the muscle areas
The session time is normally longer (up to 30 minutes)The session time is normally shorter (15-20 minutes)
Normally cheaper than EMSNormally more expensive than TENS
Small and identical electrodesElectrodes vary according to the muscle


As you can see, the main difference between these two forms of electrostimulation, is that TENS electrostimulation is more aimed at therapeutic purposes, whose scope of action is focused on a minimal electrical charge in the area of the body that is affected or in pain, in order to provide a local or regional analgesia, and thus alleviate pain naturally without the use of drugs.

TENS electrostimulation different to EMS electrostimulation

And EMS electrostimulation uses an electric current (which goes through the electrodes of our electrostimulation vest or suit) in order to activate the nerves of the deepest muscle layers of our body which are difficult to activate using conventional training.

This discharge causes a muscle contraction which makes the muscles activate, thus boosting our training, and consequently, its results.

It is worth highlighting that EMS electrostimulation training at a low power can create an analgesic effect, however the opposite can never occur, that is to say, a TENS electrostimulation exercise will not have aesthetic results.

TENS Electrostimulation in Physiotherapy

TENS electrostimulation applied with the Wiemspro system is a revolutionary technique that has transformed the practice of physiotherapy. With the combination of wireless technology and TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) therapy, this innovative tool has become an indispensable ally in relieving pain and speeding recovery for patients.

Applying low-intensity electrical impulses through electrodes placed in Wiemspro’s electrostimulation suits stimulates nerve fibers, promoting the release of natural endorphins and blocking the transmission of pain to the brain. In addition to its effectiveness in managing chronic and acute pain, this therapy also improves blood circulation and promotes muscle relaxation, as we have seen.

Physiotherapists have embraced this technology with enthusiasm, allowing them to customize treatments tailored to each patient’s specific needs. In short, TENS electrostimulation applied with the Wiemspro system has revolutionized the field of physiotherapy, providing a safe, effective, and comfortable option to improve the quality of life of those seeking relief and faster recovery.


At Wiems Lab we combine science, technology and electrostimulation in order to boost the use of the EMS system for all kinds of profiles, and chronic cases. We tell you about it at Wiems Lab laboratories R+D. If you want to take part in our study, leave us your details in this link.

Frequently asked questions about TENS and EMS

What is EMS in physiotherapy?

The term “EMS” in physical therapy refers to “Electromuscular Stimulation” or “Neuromuscular Electrostimulation.” It is a technique that uses controlled electrical currents to stimulate muscles and nerves to improve muscle function, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and promote recovery in people who have experienced muscle or neurological injuries.

EMS can be used by physical therapists as part of a treatment plan for various conditions, such as recovery after surgery, sports injury rehabilitation, muscle strengthening, reducing muscle spasm, improving blood circulation and pain reduction. The electrical current is applied through electrodes that are placed on the skin near the specific muscles being treated.

Importantly, EMS must be administered by a trained healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist, as the setting and intensity of the electrical current must be tailored to each patient’s individual needs. When used appropriately and under professional supervision, EMS can be an effective tool in the rehabilitation and treatment of various muscular and neurological conditions.

How long does the effect of TENS last?

The length of time the effect of TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) lasts can vary from person to person and depends on several factors, including the intensity of the stimulation, the duration of the TENS session, and the nature of the pain or discomfort. condition being treated. Here are some general considerations:

  • Short-term effect: TENS often provides pain relief during the stimulation itself and may continue to offer immediate relief after a TENS session. This is especially true for acute or intermittent pain.
  • Long-term effect: For some individuals, the effect of TENS may last beyond the initial stimulation and provide pain relief for a period of time after the session. However, this effect may be temporary and vary depending on the person and condition.
  • Need for regular sessions: In many cases, TENS is administered in regular sessions to maintain pain relief. Patients can use portable TENS devices at home as directed by their doctor or physical therapist.
  • Focus on pain management: TENS is not always a permanent cure, but it can be an effective tool for short- and long-term pain management. Patients may require regular TENS sessions to maintain consistent relief.
  • Individual response: The duration of the effect of TENS may vary depending on the individual response and the specific condition of the patient. Some may experience relief for several hours, while others may experience longer lasting effects.

It is important to work collaboratively with a healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or doctor, to determine the appropriate frequency and duration of TENS sessions based on individual needs and medical condition. In addition, it is essential to follow the professional’s instructions and use the TENS device according to the recommendations to obtain the best results in pain management.

How does TENS reduce pain?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) reduces pain through several mechanisms:

  • Blocking pain transmission: TENS uses low-frequency electrical impulses to stimulate sensory nerve fibers in the skin. This can block or interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain, reducing the perception of pain.
  • Release of endorphins: The electrical stimulation of TENS can trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural neurotransmitters that act as natural pain relievers. These endorphins can reduce the sensation of pain and promote a feeling of well-being.
  • Modulation of neuronal excitability: TENS can modulate the excitability of nerve fibers and nerve cells in the spinal cord, which can influence pain perception. This can lead to a decreased sensitivity to pain.
  • Increased blood circulation: Electrical stimulation can increase blood circulation in the treated area, which can help reduce inflammation and speed recovery from injuries.
  • Gate Control Theory: Gate Control Theory suggests that non-painful tactile stimulation (such as that generated by TENS) can close a “gate” in the spinal cord that blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This reduces the perception of pain.
  • Modulation of the autonomic nervous system: TENS can influence the autonomic nervous system, which regulates functions such as heart rate and breathing. This can have an effect on pain perception and relaxation

It is important to note that the effectiveness of TENS may vary depending on the person and medical condition. Additionally, TENS is commonly used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan and may be most effective when combined with other therapies, such as physical therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes. TENS intensity and frequency settings are individually adjusted to suit each patient’s needs and specific condition.

How many times can EMS be used?

The frequency and number of times Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) can be used may vary based on individual needs and the recommendation of a healthcare professional. In general, EMS is used in sessions scheduled according to the purpose of its application. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Muscle Strengthening and Rehabilitation: For muscle strengthening and rehabilitation purposes, EMS is often administered in regularly scheduled sessions. For example, a physical therapist or trainer may recommend EMS sessions two or three times a week, depending on the patient’s condition and goals.
  • Pain relief: In some cases, EMS is used to relieve acute or chronic pain. The frequency and duration of EMS sessions for pain relief can vary widely. Some people may use EMS daily for a limited period of time to manage pain, while others may require less frequent sessions.
  • Improved sports performance: In sports, EMS is often used to improve muscle performance and recovery. The frequency of EMS use in this context may vary depending on the training schedule and the needs of the athlete.
  • Recovery after injuries: After a muscle injury or surgery, EMS can be part of a rehabilitation program. In this case, the frequency and duration of the sessions will be determined according to the severity of the injury and the recommendation of the health professional.