What is The Difference Between TENS and EMS?

PEMF devices and other electrotherapy devices such as TENS and EMS use almost the same equipment.

However, there is one important difference.

PEMF devices use pulsed electromagnetic fields, which are much more powerful and effective than the electric currents that electrotherapy devices use.

Let’s see exactly what the differences between these devices are, and when each should be used.


The Main Differences

As we mentioned, PEMF and electrotherapy devices use similar, but at the same time very different, technologies.

Because of these differences in technology, the effects that we can expect from these two types of devices are different, as well.

PEMF devices use very low-frequency electromagnetic waves, whereas electrotherapy devices usually use electric currents of very high frequencies.

There is another important difference between these two.

PEMF devices work on a deep, cellular level and affect the mitochondria.

The mitochondria are the part of our cells where energy is produced and stored, so PEMF therapy is aiming to recharge those reserves, as well as enable the cells to produce their own energy.

On top of that, PEMF also has an effect on the brain and promotes the body’s autoimmune response.

On the other hand, electrotherapy devices work on a much more superficial level and are usually used as a treatment for pain relief.

Most often, the results of this therapy are temporary, and they never affect the mitochondria.

It is usually applied to peripheral nerves in the skin and the musculoskeletal system beneath.

Moreover, electrotherapy is much more aggressive than PEMF therapy.

A study completed on animals showed that this therapy cannot be used at frequencies higher than 20 Hz, or it could possibly have negative effects (1).

Because of that, this therapy cannot be applied for more than 30 minutes a day, or in extreme cases up to an hour.

It cannot be used on a daily or a regular basis long-term, either.

In contrast, PEMF devices can be used at much lower frequencies than 20 Hz to achieve a positive health effect, but at much higher frequencies as well depending on the effect that we want to achieve.

And PEMF devices can target and achieve rejuvenating effects on the whole body.

On the other hand, electrotherapy usually targets a specific painful area, and on a more mechanical rather than chemical level.


How to Use PEMF Properly?

The main idea behind PEMF is to take it slowly and give your body a chance to find its balance.

It is best to combine PEMF therapy with good nutrition, and to make sure that you remedy any nutrient deficiencies.

PEMF therapy aims to recharge your cells with energy, so if it is coupled with proper nutrition, the benefits are going to be much greater and more noticeable.

This way the cellular capacity of your cells will increase, and they will become stronger.

If we want to target a specific area, it is better to use PEMF.

Targeting localized problems is the dominant function of electrotherapy; however, we can use PEMF effectively as well, without having to endure electric shocks.

On the other hand, PEMF can also be used for local treatment, but it does not use any shocks.

Instead of currents, it uses electromagnetic fields, which are much less invasive.

Our cells respond much better to electromagnetic fields than to electric stimulation.

One instance where it is better to use electrotherapy is to fight infections.

However, we are not talking here about TENS and EMS machines, but about Rife machines.

Rife machines can be used to electrify blood and improve your white blood cell count, which will help your immune system fight viruses more efficiently.


Differences Between TENS and EMS Machines

Even though PEMF machines are in general much more beneficial and carry a much lower risk of any side effects, electrotherapy machines can also be very helpful for certain conditions.

For example, if you have a muscle injury, you can benefit greatly from electrotherapy if it is done correctly.

However, even though some people think that TENS and EMS machines are one and the same, that is not the case.

They are very similar to each other, but they are also quite different.

Let’s learn more about them, and what the difference is.


EMS Machines

EMS is short for electronic muscle stimulation.

By stimulating the affected muscle directly, these machines offer relief.

Often after strenuous activity, a muscle suffers from micro tears, inflammation, and swelling.

In turn, this can put a lot of stress on the nearby joints, but it can also further damage the muscle.

EMS helps to reduce this inflammation, and in that way helps the affected area.

Moreover, EMS can reduce the pain in the affected area, as well.

By doing this, it restores the overall function of the muscle and increases the range of motion.

Additionally, EMS machines can be used to promote blood flow in a targeted area.

By increasing the blood flow, they inevitably help to heal the muscle even further.

This effect is especially important for areas that usually have poor circulation, like muscles around our tendons, since when we injure them, their recovery is much slower and more strenuous.


TENS Machines

TENS is short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

As the name implies, these machines affect the nerves, and they are especially helpful for peripheral nerves or nerve endings.

They send non-painful electrical impulses to the nerves located beneath the skin.

By doing this, they relieve the patient of any pain that he/she feels because of nerve dysfunction or a chronic illness.

Basically, TENS machines send signals that are intended to distract your brain and prevent these pain impulses from ever reaching your mind.

And by using TENS therapy, your body can produce endorphins, which are known as the body’s natural painkillers.

A positive feature of TENS machines is that they usually have pre-set programs that you can use for a specific health condition.

It is, therefore, very easy to set them up, use them, and get some benefits from them.



Thus, as you can see, both EMS and TENS units work in a similar way to relieve the body of pain, but they work on a completely different basis.

And they work on a completely different level than PEMF machines do, which work on the deepest level of the body.