Electromuscle Stimulation & Shockwave Therapy
ESWT was originally developed based on a treatment for kidney stones called lithotripsy. It is a non invasive treatment that involves delivering high frequency shock-waves to an injured tendon. These shock-waves are delivered through the skin, and has been shown to stimulate healing in chronic tendon injuries that have failed to heal spontaneously and have not responded to other treatments. About 60-80% of patients have a significant improvement in their tendon pain after a course of shock-wave therapy.
EMS may help you to facilitate the strengthening of weak muscles. There are several theories on how EMS may assist muscle strengthening.
One potential reason is that when you maximally contract a muscle, at best, only 30% of all your muscle fibres are in a state of contraction. The remaining 70% are dormant and awaiting recruitment when the contracting fibres fatigue. With EMS you can potentially electrically stimulate these resting muscle fibres to improve their strength. Clinically, EMS appears to be more effective when the muscles are very weak and you have difficulty performing normal anti-gravity exercises.
Another reason that EMS potentially works is via an improvement in the speed of motor unit activation. Explained simply, it takes approximately 10000 repetitions for your brain to learn how to quickly send a message to your muscles via the quickest nerve pathways. This contraction pattern becomes your “memory engram”. The more frequent your muscle is recruited the better your body becomes at finding the quickest way to recruit that muscle. EMS can potentially provide you with repeated contractions to accelerate this learning process.