Electro Muscle Stimulation is a process where electronic pulses are sent to a designated area of the body to cause involuntary muscle contractions. The electronic pulses are said to mimic signals that are sent from the Central Nervous System and can be used to build, tone, or repair injured muscles. For decades, doctors have been using EMS to help prevent muscle atrophy in patients that were bed ridden or incapable of moving their bodies due to serious injury.
So, how exactly can an average dieter benefit from such a device? Well, that depends on the fitness goals of the dieter. Truth be told, if used properly, there are several benefits from using EMS including rehabbing an injured muscle, toning certain muscle groups, or even bulking up.
Unfortunately, electro muscle stimulation has received a lot bad press with all of the late night infomercials promising rock hard abs. It's so bad that many have given up on the EMS theory all together. Just to clear the air I would like to point out that EMS is considered "passive exercise". What does this mean? Well, in order to burn calories (for weight loss) one must expand energy. So if you think slapping on an ab belt will melt all the fat off your belly without any exercise, you are sorely mistaken. But imagine that same ab belt stimulating your muscles while you take a 30 minute walk three times a week. Can you see the benefits now?
Fortunately for us, only EMS devices that are FDA approved can be legally sold in the United States. The price range for an EMS unit can be very expensive while others, not so much. The FDA recently approved several devices for use in the United States such as the Flex Belt. The only set back is most of these devices are designed to work just the abdominal muscles. There are more advanced EMS devices that can do total body workouts but are out of the price range for average dieters.