Electric Muscle Stimulation Poor for Weight Loss

The best rule of thumb to keep in mind whenever you see some really persuasive advertising for weight loss products is this, “If it looks too good to be true, it is”. Not once have I ever come across a weight loss product that didn’t follow this rule. “Lose 15 pounds in one week”, “Eat anything you want and still lose weight”, “Lose weight easily with no exercise” – these are all catch phrases from fad weight loss products that sound amazing, but are all lies.

Some advertising for Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) suggests this therapy promotes weight loss, however the FDA claims this is just false advertising.

Some advertising for Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) suggests this therapy promotes weight loss, however the FDA claims this is just false advertising.

This past weekend I was reading up on the latest weight loss trends when I saw an advertisement for EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation). I was curious about this product and did some reading up online about it. What seemed most fascinating was that it claimed it could do your exercising for you. Even me, a person who counts my calories and exercises every day, would buy a product immediately if it meant that I could strap it on and burn calories while I blog or watch TV. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed once again as it turns out that electric muscle stimulation is a poor choice for weight loss.

While electric muscle stimulation (EMS) sounds like something you see only in movies, it is a real thing used in the world of sports and medicine. This technique for moving and stimulating muscles has been around for centuries, but as you can imagine, the early techniques were primitive. This is something that trainers use to work on specific muscles or muscle groups to work them without exercise. The main theory behind EMS is that it will reduce muscle fatigue and increase endurance. However, it may not be as useful as real exercise to the average athlete or dieter.

For the most part, EMS is used as a therapeutic or physical therapy tool, or can be used during athletic training. This therapy can stimulate a muscle that has been damaged or underused to get it moving again. This might be the best alternative for someone who can not exercise in the traditional way, but is in great need of muscle stimulation and repair. For athletes, this may help with problem areas that are not responding to normal exercise and training. Electric muscle therapy can target a single muscle, which can be hard to do through traditional exercises.

Some would think that this would be a great way to burn calories without having to go through the exertion of exercising each day. However, it is not as easy as hooking up to a machine to have it work your muscles or muscle groups for you. In theory, this is a great way to work on your abdominal muscles, for example, and there are a number of personal electric muscle stimulation products out there just for that reason. However, the truth with having fab abs is that the underlying muscles can not appear without getting rid of the fat layer lying over top, and that fat cannot disappear with muscle stimulation alone (See this great article if a six pack is your dream – “How to Get a Six Pack“).

The body can not burn off calories through muscle stimulation alone, which is why electric muscle stimulation is poor for weight loss. The entire body has to be engaged in physical activity in order for the full effect of weight loss can be found. This includes engaging the heart and lungs in exercise that increases heart rate and the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. You can not get this with EMS, therefore is not a tool that can be used in place of getting up and getting your body moving.

The Keto Clinic is an international company that claims their dose of EMS is equivalent to six hours of exercise, and along with a high protein and low carb diet, will help someone lose weight. However, these claims have been widely disputed, and any EMS machines in the US are not to be advertised as weight loss tools as specified by the FDA. Also, as it happens the Keto Clinic is now in liquidation. There have been reports of heart attacks and burns from the machines. Weigh your options carefully before you decide to try something like this for weight loss. Sorry to say, but it’s back to the gym for us.

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