Scientific Studies on our training method – Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

A huge amount of studies and research has been made to show and prove the positive health effects and benefits of a whole body EMS training. In this section we provide an overview over the recent research. You can find a selection of summaries of comprehensive studies below (scroll down to read all studies).
 

EMS Training Multicenter Study, 2010

Summary of
“Electrical muscle stimulation as complete body training – multicenter study on the application of full body EMS in fitness-studios” – by Vatter, Jens; AVM – Akademische Verlagsgemeinschaft München; Munich 2010

 

Study focus
The study focuses on the application of EMS as a training method to achieve body toning and strengthening effects. Furthermore, mood and therapeutical effects are examined.

 

Study setting
A total of 144 test subjects (102 women, 32 men) in four fitness centers are forming the data base. 132 of these test subjects are part of the training group, 10 test subjects are forming the control group. The average age of the training group is 42.5 years. A six week training period with two training sessions per week form the foundation of the obtained data. Each training session was done with the following settings of the EMS machine: pulse duration 4 seconds / pulse pause 4 seconds / frequency 85 Hz / pulse width 350 microseconds / bipolar rectangular pulses. Training time with these settings is 45 minutes with a subsequent relaxation program of maximum 15 minutes with the following settings: pulse duration 1 second / pulse pause 1 second / frequency 100 Hz / pulse width 250 microseconds / bipolar rectangular pulses. For the training time, each test subject is regulating the impulse intensity of the EMS machine to his or her individual bearable maximum.

 

Study results
Over 80% of the test subjects within the training group were able to reduce their back-pain, 30.5% were even able to get rid of it completely. 75% of the test subjects with urine incontinence problems achieved a subjective improvement of their incontinence, 33% were free of any incontinence symptoms after the training period. The muscular endurance of the test subjects was rising by 69,3% and maximum muscular strength by 12,2%. The body fat was reduced by 1,4%, whereas the control group was gaining 6,7% of body fat in the test period. BMI and body weight remained stable. However, women were able to reduce their so called “problem zones” circumferences of waist, hips and thighs for -1,4 cm, -1,1 cm and -0,4 cm. In contrary, men could achieve a growth of circumference at their upper arms and chest of +1,5 cm and +1,2 cm. 83% of the training group reported an increased body stability and performance. 87% felt more body lightness and the vast majority of the training group reported positive body toning effects. Furthermore, the training group felt more wakeful, a more upright posture, an overall improved well-being and a higher resistance to stress. Feelings of annoyance, tension, despondency and lack of energy could be significantly reduced in the training group.

 

EMS Training with Cardiac Patients Study, 2010

Abstract of
“Electromyostimulation (EMS) in Cardiac Patients. Will EMS Training Be Helpful in Secondary Prevention” – by Dirk Fritzsche, Andreas Fruend, Sören Schenk, Klaus-Peter Mellwig, Heinz Kleinöder, Jan Gummert, Dieter Horstkotte; in: Herz, January 2010, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 34-40, Date: 09 Feb. 2010

 

Study focus
“Current guidelines concerning the treatment of patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) include ergospirometry-directed dynamic exercises on a daily basis. Several prospective, randomized trials have confirmed its positive influence on clinical symptoms and prognosis of the disease. Patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) can benefit from a 27% reduction of mortality, as shown in meta-analyses of several studies. By contrast, patients with CHF have traditionally been discouraged from physical activities, which may have had detrimental consequences. They became even less able to participate in daily activities that in turn hastened the disease-driven atrophies of skeletal muscles. On the other hand, well-adjusted endurance training at 50–70% of maximum oxygen uptake was shown to improve overall fitness. In a recent metaanalysis, the mortality of patients with CHF was reduced by 35% by sports, and the rate of hospitalizations dropped by 28%. It is a well-perceived clinical problem that successful treatment is not possible without intensive guidance and a close therapeutic relationship. Being left in their routine situation and circumstances, the majority of patients cannot cope with the day-to-day challenge of an independent, active lifestyle. Among the primary reasons not to sustain physical activity are mental, psychological or social barriers.”

 

Study setting
“The authors have begun, in a cohort of patients with CHF, a prospective pilot study to investigate the impact of, and attitude to, electromyostimulation (EMS). Unique features of this treatment include its passive nature that remains independent of mental attitude.”

 

Study results
“An up to 96% increase of peak oxygen uptake at the anaerobic threshold could be shown (pre- vs. post-training phase, VO2at 19.39 [± 5.3] ml/kg vs. 24.25 [± 6.34] ml/kg). The diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly. A 14% gain in muscle volume was observed, while overall body weight remained unchanged. All patients kept up the training until the conclusion of the study and found their overall fitness to be considerably improved. The results may indicate the enormous potential of EMS for the treatment of patients within the cardiologic arena, especially those with CHF.”

 

EMS Training with Senior Men Study, 2009

Summary of
“Impact of an adjuvant EMS training on body composition and cardiac risk factors for senior men with metabolic syndrome” – by Wolfgang Kemmler, Anne Birlauf, Simon von Stengel; Institute for Medical Physics, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen Nuremberg, 2009

 

Study focus
Sarcopenia and (abdominal) adiposis are related to mortality, multi-morbidity and frailty of senior people. To which extent a whole body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) training is influencing body composition and cardiac risk factors of senior men with metabolic syndrome is the target of this study.

 

Study setting
In total 28 men with metabolic syndrome according to IDF and an average age of 69.4 years from the surroundings of Erlangen were separated into an EMS training group and a control group. The training period was set for 14 weeks and an EMS training session each 5 days for 30 minutes. 15 minutes were executed as an endurance training with the following setting of the EMS machine: pulse duration continuous / pulse pause none / frequency 85 Hz / pulse width 350 microseconds / bipolar. The subsequent 15 minutes were executed as a strength training with the following setting of the EMS machine: pulse duration 4 seconds / pulse pause 4 seconds  / frequency 85 Hz / pulse width 350 microseconds / bipolar. In parallel the control group was executing a whole body vibration training with a focus on “Improvement of flexibility and the well-being”. It was then examined which changes can be found concerning abdominal and total body fat mass, as well as appendicular skeleton muscle mass (asmm). Furthermore, parameters of the metabolic syndrome according to IDF like waist circumference, glucose, triglyceride, HDL cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure were examined.

 

Study results
The change in abdominal fat mass was showing significant differences between the EMS training group and the control group (reduction of average -252 grams vs. -34 grams). In parallel the subjects in the EMS training group were able to reduce their whole body fat in average by -1.350 grams vs. an average of -291 grams in the control group. The appendicular skeleton muscle mass (asmm) was showing a significant difference as well between the EMS training subjects (in average +249 grams) and the control group (in average -298 grams). The parameters of the metabolic syndrome according to IDF were only showing a significant difference concerning the waist circumference with the EMS training subjects having an average reduction of -5.2 cm and the control group an average reduction of -3.3 cm. The whole body EMS training is showing even with a low training volume of approx. 45 minutes per week and a short intervention period of in total 14 weeks significant effects on body composition. For people with low cardiac and orthopedic capacity, an EMS training could be an alternative to conventional training programs.

 

EMS Training with Senior Women Study, 2008

Summary of
“Effect of whole body electromyostimulation on physiological and muscular parameters of senior people. The Training and ElectroStimulation Trial (TEST).” – by Wolfgang Kemmler, Rebecca Schliffka, Simon von Stengel; Institute for Medical Physics, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen Nuremberg, 2008

 

Study focus
Adiposis, sarcopenia and therewith related reduction of the functional capacity are connected closely to the loss of independency of senior people. Particularly women suffer after the menopause a significant change of body composition with an increase of body fat, especially in the abdominal area and a corresponding reduction of muscle mass. All these factors are contributing to an increase of morbidity and mortality. To a large extend in parallel to the decrease of muscle mass a corresponding decrease of muscle strength takes place. After the age of 60 this strength decrease counts approximately 15% per decade, after the age of 80 even 30% per decade. Especially senior people with orthopedic or cardiac issues have trouble executing a conventional training with a high training volume. An alternative to this conventional training can be the whole body electromyostimulation training (EMS) with a comparatively low training volume. The goal of this pilot study was to find the effectiveness of the EMS training concerning anthropometric, physiological and muscular indicators in comparison to conventional training.

 

Study setting
In total 30 women with an average age of 65.6 years from the surroundings of Erlangen were separated into an EMS training group and a control group. The EMS training group was completing a conventional dynamic strength training 2 times per week and in addition executing an EMS training session for approx. 20 minutes every 4-5 days. 10 minutes of the EMS training were executed with the following setting of the EMS machine: pulse duration 4 seconds / pulse pause 4 seconds  / frequency 85 Hz / pulse width 350 microseconds / bipolar. Another 10 minutes of the EMS training were executed with the following setting of the EMS machine: pulse duration continuous / pulse pause none / frequency 7 Hz / pulse width 350 microseconds / bipolar. The control group was only executing the conventional dynamic strength training 2 times per week. The training period was set for a total of 14 weeks.

 

Study results
The resting metabolic rate showed nearly no change in the EMS-group (in average -0.2%) and a reduction of averagely -5.3% in the control group. The skin fold thickness was reduced significantly in the EMS group averagely by -8.6% vs. an average increase of +1.4% in the control group. The waist and hip circumferences decreased significantly as well in the EMS training group by averagely -2.3% vs. an average increase of 1.0% for the waist circumference and an average reduction of the hip circumference of -1.3% in the control group. The isometric maximum strength of the body flexors and extensors in the EMS group showed an average increase of 6.6% and 9.9%, whereas an average decrease was measured in the control group of -5.6% and -6.4%. The isometric strength on the leg press was increased significantly in average by +9.6% in the EMS group, whereas for the control group a decrease of -4.5% in average was measured. A high acceptance by the well trained senior women test subjects of the whole body electromyostimulation was experienced during the study. Furthermore, the study showed that besides health relevant effects of the EMS training, improvements of functional parameters could be achieved.