Can Runners Benefit from ESTIM (Electrical Stimulation)?

Natalie Cecconi
Written by
Last update:

What is E-Stim?

Electrical Stimulation (ES) is the practice of applying direct current to muscles, and it is a tried and tested method for recovery and muscle growth.

Until recently, most avid runners (and trainers) either didn´t know what to make of ES or dismissed it entirely. But, science has proven that ES can benefit runners in several ways.

ES is safer than shock training and other forms of electrophysiological training. It requires a more conservative approach to achieve great results. It is safer because it allows you to gradually increase muscle tension while keeping the load on joints very low. This is because it utilizes a much smaller unit of charge than electronics or magneto-stimulation. Also, it matches the body's natural rhythm.

The main theory is that ES increases the amount of nutrients absorbed by the muscles, improving their recovery time. In addition, it causes an increase in muscle firing rate.

And a faster-firing muscle breaks down more ATP and produces more lactic acid, which stimulates the production of more myoglobin, a protein that can hold oxygen for muscle tissue.

This leads to an increase in the number of capillaries due to increased demands for oxygen and an increase in the thickness of Type I muscle fibers.

Clearly, this reduces the recovery time and the amount of lactic acid produced in between workouts or races.

How Does E-Stim Work?

Electrical Stimulation, or ESTIM for short, is a form of electrotherapy that can be used to treat different parts of the body.

It is often used in the rehabilitation of injuries and sports injuries just as a form of muscle stimulation.

It works by sending electronic pulses through the skin and into the body.

When used for rehab, the pulses are typically set to a frequency of 0.5-5Hz and a voltage of 5-40V with 300mA.

The pulses are used to stimulate and contract the muscle tissue.

Hypertonic is commonly used for muscle contractions and iontophoresis is used to drive a drug directly into the tissue.

Doctors and therapists often prefer ESTIM over the other therapies because it does not damage muscle tissue.

It also does not require a prolonged training or practice for patient to achieve the desired results.

When it comes to running, ESTIM is able to speed up recovery time and even help you adapt to training.

Are There Different Types of E-Stim?

Electrical stimulation is a popular body work modality that uses electrical electrodes or patches to stimulate the body and is known for its effectiveness in helping to ease chronic pain. Here are three types of e-stim:

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation): TENS is typically used to treat chronic low back pain and other musculo-skeletal disorders such as tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, and even arthritic knee pain.

EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation): EMS is a form of TENS but the electrodes are applied to the muscles. It is used to treat many of the same chronic pain issues as TENS but EMS is also beneficial for post-rehabilitation and post injury patients.

PERC (Pulsed Electrical Muscle Stimulation): PERC offers the benefits of EMS while being able to provide a pulse frequency of between 5-500 Hz (whereas EMS only goes up to 200Hz). This allows the PERC unit/model to target deeper muscle tissue than EMS and is primarily for post rehabilitation or after an injury.

What is cross-fiber and counter-fiber e-stim?

How Much Does It Cost?

To benefit from ESTIM you need to look for a gym offering it. And there are some “ well-heeled ” gyms that have equipment installed already. Since the exact nature of the equipment is still rather controversial not every gym we contacted or heard from will be willing show this to their members or even get in touch with us.

We were, however, able to get hold of this information from some of those who did:

This Swiss fitness center is one of the few gyms in the world to have been given permission to use ESTIM by Wehrli himself. Their price for a single session is CHF 180.

The price here in Switzerland for one session (one hour) is CHF 60 per person.

Another gym quoted us €55 for an estiM session there.

Physical Therapist

While I have no citable evidence that will convince you that electro stimulation therapy (ESTIM) is any more effective than traditional strengthening exercises initiated on your own, I firmly believe the benefits ESTIM can provide for runners. I do double-duty as a Physical Therapist (PT) in training and as an avid trail runner. This led me to my research on electro stimulation and sports.

It seems that a PT who is also a runner has endorsed electro-stimulation as a way to increase muscle mass and reduces muscle fatigue. Not only that, but the PT asserts that a regular regimen of ESTIM will improve my training. Consequently, I will be running faster, longer and with less chance of injury.

But how?

PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy) or ESTIM has been used for pain control for many years. More recently, a growing body of evidence supports ESTIM as a means of improving communication between your muscles and nerves, which enhances recovery from injury and enables better performance.

At the center of this research, which is being highlighted in the New York Times, is Dr. Jon Kalish, a PT at the O’hara Clinic in Ohio.

He explains that the problem runners face is the damage their sport does to the nervous system.

Home Units

Electrical stimulation therapy is one of the oldest ways to treat ligament and muscle injuries. The treatment has been shown to relieve pain, improve mobility, and increase blood flow.

In North America, the most common form of electrical stimulation currently on the market is known as Active Release Techniques (A.R.T). In Europe, electrical stimulation is more commonly performed with machines in clinical settings and on less flexible devices.

Bed-of-nails (E.S.T.) and Electrical Stimulation Therapy (E.S.T.) are machine-based therapies that involve placing electrodes on targeted nerve-endings in the muscles. These electrodes are connected to a small pulse generator. The pulse generator sends wave-forms of electricity into the muscle in a random pattern, producing micro-tremors in the muscle and functional range of motion exercises.

It is important to note that there are fake estim units that are using pulsed-current rather than true micro-tremors bypassing the skin.

Tens Machines commonly used for pain management are also an acceptable option for those who want electrical stimulation but may not be ready or able to invest in their own electrical stimulation unit.

Insurance

(Electrical Stimulation) as Runners Aid

One of the most exciting fitness tools to hit the market in years has been the electrical stimulation (ESTIM) system. At first glance, this may seem like one of those weird new-age technologies, but when you get right down to it, the ESTIM electrical stimulation kit is used to provide performance-enhancing benefits to the user.

The system is one of the newest from BioElectronics, and operates under the same general concept as the low-frequency TENS units that doctors and physical therapists use in their offices regularly. The device is commonly used to treat muscle soreness, and pain.

However, as of late, this solution has become popular with athletes and people that engage in high-intensity exercise.

The terms electrical stimulation and low-frequency TENS are not entirely synonymous, but both systems operate in the same general framework. Electricity is run through the body, and a difference in skin potential between the two electrodes induces nerve impulses in the body.

When electrode pads are placed on the body, the user will certainly feel the shock-like feelings of stimulation, but this type of sensation is not dangerous or harmful in any way. Additionally, the body will not become dependent upon the stimulation system to perform properly as some other workout aids, although this has yet to be fully researched.

Are There Areas I Shouldn’t Use E-Stim?

ESTIM is one of those pieces of technology that seems more like science fiction than fact. But despite its bizarre nature, ESTIM has become a very popular tool in sports and therapy.

Used in a variety of settings, from enhancing performance to improving recovery time, ESTIM works by sending electrical impulses through the body. The theory is that stimulating muscles with electricity will lead to improved performance and a faster recovery.

There are a number of ways to achieve this. You can use electrodes to directly stimulate the muscles, or you can use electrodes to stimulate nerve endings to produce some of the effect. Either way, this is where you need to consider one of the potential downsides of ESTIM – the risk of side effects or complications.

It’s important to note that despite ESTIM being all the rage right now, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the long-term effect of the technology on the body. For example, do you know which nerves or locations are most effective, and how long to stimulate them for optimal benefits?

Also, as you might have already guessed, there are some potentially negative side effects to ESTIM, including injury to the tissue. However, with the necessary precautions in place, that’s not something most users need to worry about.

Are There Any Downsides to E-Stim?

Simple: no. E-stim is one of the best ways for runners to reduce injury, manage pain, and increase strength in recovering muscles. It’s also a great way to warm up and cool down and to prevent injury.

Sure, there’s no way to know exactly how an abnormal energy system is going to feel or react. But most people have never had a problem with e-stim or e-stim therapy.

If you’re worried, ask your physical therapist to help you. He or she knows what you’re going through – both physically and mentally – and can help you make an informed decision about e-stim.

Also, stick to the recommended parameters. Ideally, each pulse should be somewhere between 0.3 and 0.5 milliseconds in duration. Continue at that level for a few seconds and then move on to another area. If your physical therapist or doctor did not specify a setting, stay away from the max setting.

Finally, remember that e-stim won’t make you run faster or prevent you from getting injured in the first place, but it can help you get back to running as quickly as possible when your body is ready.

Does ESTIM really improve performance and enhance recovery?

When it comes to training for endurance events, there are a lot of different opinions out there and you can find a variety of training programs and methods out there to choose from … all claiming they are the best thing since sliced bread.

Over the years, there has been a shift from emphasizing aerobic training to establishing a more balanced approach combining strength training, speed training, and aerobic training.

The main benefit of strength training as part of your endurance training program is the positive effect it has on running mechanics by increasing your running stride length and turnover rate. This is important because it helps you conserve energy by reducing the energy required to propel the body forward.

One of the main training tools to enhance strength and proprioception is the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) method. This is a method of stretching that aims to reduce the fascial restrictions that inhibit muscle firing and encourage proper muscle coordination and muscle firing.

When it comes to proprioceptive training, the electrical stimulation (ESTIM) technique offers significant benefits over traditional PNF stretching.

A thorough review of the scientific literature conducted in 2012 showed that athletes who underwent a five-week hypertrophy training period (strength-training) followed by 25 minutes of electrical or vibration stimulation on the muscle resulted in better running economy and running performance versus control group.

E-Stim and Running

Due to the high demands placed on runners’ muscles in training and competition, injury and burnout rate is high. To help prevent these problems, there are an array of modern technologies available that can help. As their name suggests, electrical stimulation training units offer a form of alternative therapy that can treat a range of physical conditions and improve performance through altering nerve response, muscle fatigue, and motor control.

There are a few different types of electrical stimulation units available with each claiming to offer a better or more efficient form of therapy. The most common types of E-stim units are muscle stimulators, nerve stimulators, some muscle/nerve combination units and a few different forms of neurostimulation devices.

E-stim can be particularly useful for endurance sports since it can do everything from strengthening fast twitch muscles to speeding up lactic acid removal. With such a wide range of effectiveness, it is no wonder that E-stim is a popular form of therapy.

Will E-Stim Make Me a Faster Runner?

Athletes who are interested in improving their performance can benefit from many training aids including new advancements in electrical stimulation.

EnterElectrical stimulation training, otherwise known as ESTIM, has become popular among those looking to either exercise with less effort or attempting to recover faster from endurance sports.

ESTIM involves using a simple device that sends a small amount of electrical current into the soft tissue of the leg. The current stimulates the micro-circulation in muscles and also helps them to release calcium which improves repair and reduces inflammation.

This type of training is especially beneficial for anyone trying to increase the distance they can run or the pace at which they can run. ESTIM reduces neuromuscular fatigue and increases muscle contraction velocity and strength. All of whichare well suited to improving the efficiency of someone who is trying to improve endurance.

Although ESTIM is commonly used for athletes, it is a good idea to consult your doctor prior to using this form of therapy. Most doctors recommend that you should not undergo ESTIM training if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant.

This information is intended for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be taken as lifestyle advice. If you have concerns about these matters you should always consult with a professional.

Will E-Stim Help Me Recover Faster?

When you first start running, the muscles in your hips, hamstrings, back, and shoulders are underdeveloped. Before you step foot on the road, experienced coaches and athletes recommend learning to run correctly with a good gait and exercise form.

They suggest using a foam roller to work out your hips and glutes, deep tissue massage, and stretching to extend your range of motion and prevent injury. However, you can’t get a deep tissue massage or stretch every day.

Once you’re on a regular running program, you need to rely on some type of external stimulation to prevent injury. That’s where an electrical stimulation unit comes in handy and helps you recover and feel better within no time.

Electrical Stimulation units from E-Stim Systems are the fastest, most effective way to stimulate the muscles and speed up the rehabilitation process. You can adjust their intensity and force to fit your needs as well as track the progress and development of your muscles.

Is the Only Solution when You Need to Stimulate Only the Covered Area of the Body

Is safe and convenient solution for those who need it for traveling, sports, training, and work.

Here are a few reasons why using an ESTIM machine is a great idea for both recreational and professional athletes.

Can I Use E-Stim for Running Injuries?

Electrical stimulation, commonly known as E-Stim, is one treatment often used in athletic recovery and injury care. Athletic trainers have long relied on E-Stim to speed healing and reduce pain and inflammation following surgery, injury, or other injury-related conditions. When used correctly, it is a safe, relatively painless way to bring relief.

E-Stim is a useful asset for any runner. He or she can use E-Stim to reduce recovery time after injuries, increase tissue repair, and prevent future injuries from occurring. It can also be applied before a workout or race to reduce pain and help the body recover faster.

You can find E-Stim products in two different categories: 1) EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) and 2) TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation).

EMS devices send electrical pulses directly to the muscle and can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

TENS devices send electrical pulses to the nerves. They don’t cause the muscle to contract but they work locally to prevent the pain signal from going to the brain. They also help to prevent muscle twitching, which can occur when using EMS.