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How is TENS electrostimulation different to EMS electrostimulation?

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.

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.

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.


At Wiemslab 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 Wiemslab laboratories R+D. If you want to take part in our study, leave us your details in this link.


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