‘Non-medical’ use of electric muscle stimulation is dangerous – ministry

Elite athletes use EMS in addition to their training in order to improve their strength and speed. Physical therapists make use of EMS for joint-sparing muscle formation.

January 12, 2016 01:17
1 minute read.

Athlete with big muscles (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)


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The Health Ministry issued a warning to the public on Monday on the use of EMS (electric muscle stimulation) equipment in gyms and at home for exercise and losing weight. The devices are meant for use only by doctors and physiotherapists for diagnosis of medical problems and rehabilitation. They should not be used in gyms, as use without medical supervision “is liable to pose a danger to health,” the ministry said.

One gym, Justfit, claimed on the Internet that “EMS is a total body workout with body current... Our muscles contract through electric impulses (bioelectronics) in normal state. The EMS training makes use of this effect. By employing hardly noticeable external electro impulses, the natural effect is additionally intensified and an effective training can be achieved.”

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EMS training, the website continued, “is in gyms, wellness and beauty centers, as well as in competitive sport, rehabilitation and medicine.

Elite athletes use EMS in addition to their training in order to improve their strength and speed. Physical therapists make use of EMS for joint-sparing muscle formation and for targeted back exercises. Personal trainers, gyms and beauty centers concentrate on the fitness and beauty aspects – body shaping through muscle formation and catabolism of fat, stimulation of metabolism and tightening of connective tissue.”

But the ministry disagrees.

The EMS Club chain of private gyms, professionally supervised by sports medicine expert Dr. Yoni Yarom, issued a comment congratulating the ministry for stating that all such facilities will require medical supervision.

He said that his chain of gyms “uses equipment that meet the standards of the European Union and is used by thousands of physiotherapists around the world.


Research at the University of Bayreuth for sports medicine in Germany has found that EMS significantly reduces back pains and unintentional urination as well as a significant improvement in physical sensation and stress.”

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