EMS machine on ankle

Best EMS Machine Australia - A Complete Review

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) is a technique used to contract muscles via an external source of impulses. It’s thought to have a positive effect on muscle rehabilitation, growth, and strength. In the past few decades, EMS has gained increasing popularity among athletes and bodybuilders to improve the physiological appearance and efficiency of their muscles. Nowadays there are plenty of electrical muscle stimulation machines available on the Australian market for personal use. They are advertised for muscle toning, post-exercise recovery, fat reduction, and even rehabilitation after surgery. This guide will give you a general idea of what to look for when deciding to purchase a personal EMS machine, as well as the different models available currently on the Australian market.

What You Need to Know Before Purchasing an Electrical Muscle Stimulation Machine

Choosing a personal EMS machine can be quite daunting, especially with the variety of options currently available on the market. In this article, we’ve provided you with an easy guide that you can use when contemplating the purchase of your own electrical muscle stimulation machine.

Why do you want to purchase an EMS machine?

Electrical muscle stimulation machines can serve a variety of different purposes:

Post Exercise Recovery

1. Post Exercise Recovery

Electrical muscle stimulation has been shown to speed up recovery time after intensive exercise sessions. When we exercise and put the maximum amount of effort possible for the moment, our muscles produce and deposit lactic acid. This is the component that causes soreness in our muscles the following day.  It’s usually recommended to continue with active recovery straight after the workout, in other terms, exercising the same group of muscles in a much gentler, yet still active manner. Interestingly, EMS treatment can produce similar effects of recovery as slow submaximal exercising can. A study on muscle recovery and lactic acid removal after sprint swimming found that electrical stimulation of muscles is as good as submaximal active swimming in terms of efficiency of muscle recovery. 

2. Training

A study performed on measuring the usefulness of EMS for training purposes found that elite and trained athletes could significantly improve their strength and motor abilities. This same study concluded that, actually, both athletes and untrained individuals could benefit to equal extents from electric muscle stimulation and gain better function of their musculoskeletal system.

Another study performed by a Japanese research centre found that low-intensity EMS can actually improve cardiovascular fitness in healthy individuals too. Their findings suggest that low-intensity EMS could be useful to improve cardiovascular fitness in individuals for whom physical exercise is extremely difficult to achieve, for example, people suffering from obesity, orthopedic dysfunction, or other chronic illnesses preventing their normal musculoskeletal movements.

3. Rehabilitation of Immobile Muscles

Electrical muscle stimulation has been proven to be quite effective in supporting muscle function and growth in immobilized or critically ill patients. Particularly, this type of therapy was found to help diminish muscular atrophy, when patients haven’t used certain muscles for a long period of time. EMS helps increase protein synthesis in the immobilized muscles, reducing the wasting of the tissue over time.

EMS

4. Improvement of Overall Appearance of Muscles

Some studies, although partially controversial, claim that EMS can indeed improve the appearance of muscle. In some instances, there is growing evidence that muscular stimulation can reduce the volume of adipose tissue surrounding the muscle. A study where women were subjected to high frequency electrical stimulation of the abdomen found significant changes in body fat composition and waist circumference over a period of 6 weeks.

5. Prevention of Injuries

Electrical muscle stimulation is also thought to be an effective warm up procedure for the muscles before strenuous exercise. This particular pre-workout therapy could in fact help reduce the risks of injuries and/or muscle strains.

What muscles/areas of the body do you want to target?

Modern electrical muscle stimulation machines come in a variety of shapes. Their design and model depend on the area that the machine is targeting to stimulate. Most often, you will find EMS belts that are specifically designed to stimulate the abdominal region and waist, whereas for electro-myo-stimulation of the glutes, arms, and legs there are designs more adjusted to these particular muscle shapes.

There are also a few models of EMS machines that are more compact and versatile and can be used on any region of the body.

What kind of intensity level are you looking for?

This particular concern is important when deciding on the body part that you wish to stimulate and the purpose of the stimulation. For muscle recovery after working out and for rehabilitation purposes, lower intensity programs are best suited. On top of that, the frequency of the electrical impulses also seems to have different effects, where lower frequency stimulations promote muscle recovery and high frequency stimulations can enhance the dissolution of adipose tissue around the muscle.

How many channels are you interested in?

Although with electrical muscle stimulation it is not recommended to stimulate multiple areas of the body at the same time, few EMS machines offer the opportunity to do so. Generally, it is wiser to focus on stimulating one region of the body at a time, however, if you are in a situation where you want to target two different muscle groups in the same region with different intensities, having a duo channel EMS machine would be quite useful.

What kind of gel pads does the EMS come with?

This is a question of particular importance to ensure the long-term maintenance of your EMS machine. Let’s be honest, an electrical muscle stimulator is more of a luxury product which can cost you up to hundreds of dollars. For these reasons, you want to ensure that you can maintain its use for a longer period of time. The gel pads used for the adhesion of the electrodes to the surface of the skin are quite important in the whole therapy process. You want to ensure that the quality of the pads is good and that the size is enough to cover your area of interest. Try keeping an eye out for models that have easily interchangeable gel pads, so that in the chance that you need to acquire new ones, you have the option to do so. It would be a shame to have your EMS machine become useless just because of the lack of suitable replacement pads on the market.

What kind of power source does the EMS machine depend on?

This is an equally important factor to consider when deciding to purchase a personal EMS machine. Whether the power source is several replaceable batteries, or one rechargeable battery unit will influence the size and portability of your device. On top of that, it will influence the time that the device can last you in use and ultimately affect the comfort of the therapy in total. Nowadays you can find USB rechargeable models that are quite compact and easy to handle. This option would be the more environmentally friendly alternative to replaceable batteries. However, it is important to check the battery life of the EMS you are interested in purchasing and the charging duration of the battery too.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation Machines Available to the Australian Market 2021

BEST OVERALL

  • Advanced EMS Technology
  • Insulating Glue & Replaceable Hydrogels
  • Variety of uses 

We have chosen the Healsage EMS machine as our best ranking overall product as it is the most versatile, high quality and affordable product on the Australian Market. 

Their device not only allows for both muscle stimulation and growth but also for muscular recovery and relaxation. This EMS machine is also specifically designed to be able to suit a wide variety of body parts. The pads can be positioned in different manners to suit either your shoulders, neck, arms, back and legs.

The Healsage EMS unit is not only very affordable but they also offer free shipping across Australia. It is easily portable making it an ideal travel companion.

In order to maintain the quality of the product, you can purchase reusable heating pads directly from Healsage for when the original ones wear down.

Healsage is a brand  that specialises in muscle recovery products. The extensive positive feedback from their customers is hard to ignore. Not only did they develop this ultimate all in one EMS-Tens machine but they are also leaders in the massage gun industry. Should you be interested in expanding your recovery products arsenal, we would encourage you to check out The Healsage Massage Gun Pro.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Free Shipping Small
  • Remote controlled

Cons

  • Directions for use are limited 

If you are searching for a device that can be interchangeably used for pain management and muscle support this model is perfect for you. The Belifu Dual Channel TENS EMS unit works like a charm to reduce pain in certain muscles and to stimulate them for growth and support.

As you can guess from the name, this model has two channels, meaning that two separate body regions can be stimulated simultaneously to achieve pain relief and/or muscle stimulation. This device is packed with 24 different frequency modes and 20 different levels of intensity, so as you can imagine, there is ample room for experimenting and finding which program works best for you.

This unit comes with three different sizes of electrode pads and three wires to connect to the main battery source. It lasts a very long time without recharging and seems to be very compact and portable too! All in all, this TENS EMS unit seems like a bargain for the price. Don’t be scared away by the many-many settings, the device comes with a handy little guide to instruct you the therapeutic methods for treating different types of pains and for stimulating muscle relaxation and growth. It can be targeted for the abdominal region, the arms, glutes and legs as well. 

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Long battery life
  • 2 channels with 24 different frequencies
  • Comes with multiple size pads

Cons

  • Can appear complicated to use

ADAM'S OFFER Muscle Toner
  • Provides 10% boost in targeted muscle stimulation
  • Aids in overcoming a fitness plateau

This product is best suited for people who would like to try out electrical muscle stimulation for muscle toning and improvement of overall appearance without breaking the bank and committing to the expensive EMS technology. This particular trainer comes with four adjustable bands that are designed to be worn on the abdomen, the thighs, arms and glutes. The different bands have 6 modes of therapy and 9 different intensity settings, giving you enough freedom to play around and find the settings that suit you best. Although it should be noted that this muscle toner only gives the best results when combined with an adequate diet and exercise regime. Fairly speaking, it is impossible to achieve toned and beautiful muscles solely with the use of EMS. However, this muscle toner offers that extra 10% boost in targeted muscle definition when the gym and diet seem to get you to a plateau. For only $32 it is definitely worth a try.

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Easily adaptable settings

Cons

  • Triple AAA battery powered

Compex FIT 1.0 Muscle Stimulation Device - Blue
  • Simple design based off Swiss technology
  • Increases sporting performance

This device has an outstanding rating on Amazon and is definitely quite well known in the world of electrical muscle stimulation machines. It has a simple design yet is based on complex Swiss technology to provide the user with increased sporting performance after muscle stimulation. It is equipped with four channels through which varying programs can be induced to either promote muscle recovery, growth or relaxation. It’s easy enough to be used in any region of the body. The Compex Fit 1.0 Muscle Stimulation Device is also quite compact and small, meaning that it can easily be carried anywhere. Users have also reported that the battery life is exceptionally durable, where the device can easily be used 10-15 times before the need to recharge.

Although this product is on the higher end in terms of price, it is definitely a machine worth the money.

Pros

  • 4 channels with various settings
  • Travel friendly
  • Exceptional battery life 

Cons

  • Can not be used whilst charging

Slendertone generally has a good reputation in making products for toning specific areas of the body like arms, waist and glutes. Although their products are on the higher end of the price spectrum, in a combination with good diet and moderate exercises, the devices from Slendertone can really offer significant reductions in centimetres. Their ab focused EMS machine may be their most popular product, as specially among women. However, their range also includes the Slendertone Arms Accessory designed specifically for your arms, as well as the Slendertone Bottom to help target your legs. The products are quite easy to use and have even been shown to be effective in reducing the waists of women postpartum. Their products are controlled via an app and come with a handy manual that gives the user specifications on the correct use of the products for the best possible effects. Moreover, their designs are quite lightweight and discrete, meaning that the users can use the toners on the go, or in public spaces.

Overall, if you have a bit of room in your budget to spare, this line of products might be quite beneficial to add onto your exercise and diet regime.

Pros

  • Mobile App controls
  • Lightweight and discrete
  • Effective with postpartum weight loss 

Cons

  • Requires initial mobile phone setup

Verdict

This guide has provided you with a nice overview of the different EMS machines available on the Australian market. If you are new to electrical muscle stimulation and are looking for a first product to try out without spending too much money, you may want to consider the Healsage EMS machine as it covers all EMS unit bases. If you want a product to particularly target the adipose tissue on the arms, abs and glutes, check out the line of EMS products from Slendertone (Number 5 in our review).

If you are looking for a simple yet effective EMS machine, the Compex Fit 1.0 Muscle Stimulation Device (Number 4 in our review) is the perfect option for you. The Belifu Dual Channel TENS – EMS unit (Number 2 in our review) is the best TENS/EMS combination device, allowing you to switch from pain relief to muscle stimulation whenever pleased. Finally, the overall best electrical muscle stimulation device in our opinion is Healsage EMS Machine (Number 1 in our review).

Frequently Asked Questions

How does EMS work?

Electrical Muscle Stimulation works very similarly to Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. EMS also uses the induction of electrical impulses, however in this approach it targets the muscle, rather than the nerves. This allows EMS to contract muscles in the body the same way a natural contraction would occur under the signals that the brain sends to the body.

Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation cause any side effects?

Generally, as with other electrical stimulation devices, the use of electrical muscle stimulators is quite safe. Most people can utilize these devices without experiencing any serious discomfort. However, as with TENS, individuals suffering from heart related issues, ischemia or seizures should not use any electrical stimulation devices. Similarly, those with pacemakers or other metal implants should stay away from EMS and TENS machines too. Females at early trimesters of pregnancy should also consider refraining from using EMS machines.

Generally, you should always consult with a health care practitioner if you have any underlying health condition before purchasing and using an EMS device.

Can you get fit from using electrical muscle stimulation alone?

The short answer is no. Electrical muscle stimulation is a very useful procedure, but alone, it will not result in significant changes in body fat/muscle composition. To truly achieve a desired weight loss and fitness transformation, one must incorporate a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime. EMS is really useful in enhancing the definition of muscles that are already being stimulated by regular weight exercises.

Can you get stronger from using electrical muscle stimulation devices?

Scientifically, yes. Few studies have found that elite and trained athletes seem to benefit and perform better from using regular sessions of EMS paired with their training regimen. Athletes can use EMS for warm up and cool down sessions of the muscles, which help the recovery of the muscles in the long term and improve the overall strength and performance of the sportsmen/women. Interestingly, some studies found that even non athletes can achieve similar levels of strength enhancement when using electrical muscle stimulation.

How long can you use electrical muscle stimulation for?

As with other electrical stimulation devices, it is generally not recommended to use the machines for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Overstimulation of the muscles can result in painful consequences and should be avoided when possible. Most EMS devices, like other electrical stimulation or massage machines, have a safety measure incorporated into their design. These machines are programmed to switch off or stop stimulation after a maximum of 30 minutes, to ensure the safety of the user.

How soon can you expect to see results?

Users have reported to see significant results in their muscle strength and firmness after a few weeks of consistent use for 15-30-minute periods at a time. This is also given the scenario that a proper balanced diet and exercise regimen is incorporated into their lifestyle. Particularly good results have been observed in individuals with post-partum muscle stretching and post – operative muscle weakness. In these scenarios where physical exercises cannot be safely performed, electrical muscle stimulation therapy is the next best thing to ensure the best recovery of the muscle groups.

Is an EMS device portable?

Yes! Current models of electrical muscle stimulation devices are light and comfortable. Depending on the design of the device they can most often be worn discreetly under normal clothes. Some even have the added feature of connecting the device to a smartphone via an application. This allows for even more versatile use and easier control of the settings on the go. 

Are Electrical Muscle Stimulation Machines expensive?

Generally, the price range of EMS machines can vary on the market. The price range of EMS machines is between $30 to $500. A good EMS machine will cost in the region of hundreds of dollars, however in these scenarios you can expect to have longer lasting components and replaceable units like the gel pads. The portability, compactness and battery source all influence the overall end price of the product. (1–7)

References

  • FIlipovic A, Kleinoder H, Dormann U, Mester J. Electromyostimulation - A systemic Review of the Effects of Different Electromyostimulation Methods on Selected Strength Parameters in Trained and Elite Athletes. J Strength [Internet]. 2012;26(9):2600–14. 
  • Vinge O, Edvardsen L, Jensen F, Jensen FG, Wernerman J, Kehlet H. Effect of transcutaneous electrical muscle stimulation on postoperative muscle mass and protein synthesis. Br J Surg. 1996;83(3):360–3.
  • Gerovasili V, Stefanidis K, Vitzilaios K, Karatzanos E, Politis P, Koroneos A, et al. Electrical muscle stimulation preserves the muscle mass of critically ill patients: A randomized study. Crit Care. 2009;13(5):1–8.
  • Buckley DC, Kudsk KA, Rose B, Koetting CA, Schlatter M, Miller CA. Transcutaneous muscle stimulation promotes muscle growth in immobilized patients. J Parenter Enter Nutr. 1987;11(6):547–51.
  • Neric F, Beam W, Brown L, Wiersma L. Comparison of Swim Recovery and Muscle Stimulation on Lactate Removal After Sprint Swimming. J Strength Cond Res [Internet]. 2009;23(9):2560–7. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2009/12000/Comparison_of_Swim_Recovery_and_Muscle_Stimulation.19.aspx
  • Kim JS, Oh DW. Effects of high-frequency current therapy on abdominal obesity in young women: A randomized controlled trial. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015;27(1):31–3.
  • Miyamoto T, Kamada H, Tamaki A, Moritani T. Low-intensity electrical muscle stimulation induces significant increases in muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness. Eur J Sport Sci. 2016;16(8):1104–10.

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