Electronic Muscle Stimulators (EMS) cause muscle contractions that feel like a massage. You can adjust the intensity to feel gentle and relaxing or deep and penetrating. The signals from the device go through self-stick pads placed over the area of pain. They mimic the electric signals from your brain that tell your muscles to contract. This helps to relax sore, weak or injured muscles and to reduce tension and pain.


An electronic muscle stimulator (EMS) works by mimicking the bioelectrical signal from the brain that tells muscles to expand and contract.  An electrical current is passed through conductive adhesive pads placed on the skin over the desired muscle or muscle group. Most muscle stimulation devices have adjustable settings that deliver varied sensations and speed of contractions depending on application, location and user preference.  The intensity can be adjusted to deliver a mild, soothing sensation or a full deep tissue muscle contraction.


TENS is often used incorrectly as a general term to describe many types of electronic stimulation. This has caused some confusion for users. There are in fact many types of electronic stimulation that feel very different and have different effects.

TENS units stimulate only the sensory nerves.  This simply disrupts the pain signal to the brain so it does not “feel” the pain. It is good for immediate pain relief but the effects are only temporary. There are no long-term benefits and will require continual use.

EMS units stimulate the motor nerves, which cause muscle contractions. The muscle movement works to:

  • Relax muscle spasms
  • Strengthen, condition and reeducate muscle tissue
  • Increase range of motion
  • Increase blood circulation
  • Prevent atrophy (deterioration)

Muscle stimulation works on the root cause of pain to provide long-term benefits. This means you will need to use it less and less over time as your muscle performance improves.


Muscle stimulators can be used for a variety of reasons from general pain relief to physical therapy applications.  Muscle stimulation causes the muscle to expand and contract much the same way it would during normal exercise.  This can be a tremendous benefit for those who may be unable to exercise in normal conditions to help reeducate, strengthen and condition muscle tissue and has been used in many physical therapy and rehabilitation applications.

Muscle stimulators have been used in physical therapy and rehabilitation since the 1980’s. They were previously only available by prescription or under a doctor’s care. Pain-Less® EMS devices have been FDA cleared for over-the-counter use.


Muscle stimulation has been used effectively since the 1960’s in everything from athletic training to physical therapy and recovery applications.  There have been no known adverse effects from using stimulation although it is not recommended to use muscle stimulation for more than 60 minutes at a time over the same area to avoid excessive muscle fatigue.

Certain people should not use a muscle stimulator including those who:

  • Have a cardiac pacemaker, defibrillator or similar implanted electrical device
  • Suspect or have be diagnosed with heart problems or disease
  • Are prone to epileptic seizures
  • Are pregnant (there are currently no studies of the effects on the development process)
  • Have been diagnosed with cancer



Quality is important in any medical device.  The quality of the materials used to manufacture EMS devices determine their level of comfort, effectiveness and safety.

Some manufacturers use recycled wiring and low-end components to reduce their cost. This greatly affects the safety and quality of those devices. We use only new (not recycled) wiring and high-quality components. Pain-Less EMS units deliver the most effective, relaxing and soothing sensations of any portable EMS on the market. This is a quality difference you can feel for yourself.

All Pain-Less® devices are backed by a 30-day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and a minimum 2-year warranty.

Please visit our FAQ section for common questions about use of our Electronic Muscle Stimulators.

Wikipedia.com has great references on electronic muscle stimulators here.

*Manufacturer FDA 510K clearance #K102598