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  • Writer's pictureKath

How EMS Training Improves Your Posture, Core Strength and Relieves Chronic Back Pain.

In today's world our lives revolve around two aspects – career and home-life. Both of these elements as well as a more modern way of living, are placing an ever increasing challenge on our musculoskeletal system.

With many people leading lifestyles that are incredibly busy and stressed, and many people working 9-5 jobs at a desk, it’s no surprise that back pain has risen dramatically in the last few years. One-dimensional and single-sided activity patterns, such as driving, office work, meetings, sitting in front of a screen and even most activities at home, can contribute to many hours in a day in a seated position. While this often appears to be a position of comfort and choice, multiple studies have shown, that the sitting position for the human body is characterized by a very low activation of core muscles and most of the load is transmitted to passive structures of the body and leads to the degeneration of the spinal stability. This is often the cause of lower back pain, which contributes to degenerative spinal diseases and further increases the risk of sports-related injuries.

It’s for this reason that electro muscle stimulation (EMS) training has received increasing attention in sports and medical applications. EMS training has its roots in the medical field and was initially used to help patients in their recovery from injuries, or to help with the reduction of pain-related symptoms.    

Let's start off with looking at EMS in related to strengthening our core muscles and improving our posture.     

When most people hear the word "core", they think of their abdominal region, but in-fact, our "core" consists of 35 different muscles groups that connect to your pelvis , from your spine and your hips.

A 2017 study examined the effects of an 8-week EMS (electro-muscle-stimulation) training program on posture (New York Posture Rating Chart) and core muscle strength (4 different performance tests).

While previous research findings have shown positive effects of EMS training for the improvement of maximum strength, speed and explosiveness, this study aimed to contribute to the still scarce knowledge on how whole-body EMS training affects your core muscle strength and posture. Due to the potential to activate a large number of muscles that stabilize the spine and the hip simultaneously and due to the long muscle contraction time (10 minutes time under tension) it was hypothesized that a single 20-minute whole-body EMS training session per week would be sufficient to improve core muscle strength and posture. 

The study found that posture and core muscle strength significantly improved after the 8-weeks of EMS training. The assessment of core muscle strength consisted of a total of 4 different performance test (repetitions until failure) and the results show a highly significant performance increase of 54,5% after the EMS training.

With busy lives and the majority of 9-5 careers requiring being hunched over a desk all day, EMS training can help you better your posture and build core strength. 

How EMS training relieves chronic back pain.

A 2002 EMS research study done by Boeckh-Behrens and colleagues at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, examined the effects of EMS training for the relief of back pain.

The study consisted of a total of 49 people (31 women and 18 men with an average age of 47 years), who were suffering from back pain. The 49 participants performed EMS training sessions over a period of 5 weeks and were assessed before and after the training.

88.7% of the participants showed a decrease in back pain, with 75.5% showing improvements in mood and 69.4% noticing an increased vitality. The researchers concluded that electrical stimulus activates the major muscle groups and also, more importantly, the deeper muscle groups which are difficult to activate through conventional training methods. This helps target pain in muscle groups that are easily reached by unnatural sitting positions but aren’t easy to reach to alleviate and heal.

Tony Marchesini, managing director of H2O International, can attest to how EMS training has helped his back. “After hearing how good the EMS training is to relieve back pain, I decided to give it a try. 20 minutes a week is all it took to take away the nagging back pain that had plagued me for many years,” he explains.  “It did not happen overnight, it took a few months after joining before I experienced relief. It not only decreased my back pain, but I also found that it had a positive effect on my mood. When you are sore, you get grumpy.”

If you suffer from chronic back pain or would like to have a better posture, core and back strength, then come and try EMS for yourself.

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