Workout without the exertion?
Can you lose weight without sweating?
Medical Fact Checked by: Dr. Bryan Havoc
Once in a while you can see advertisements recommending various types of electrical muscle stimulation equipment which are supposed to help you with losing weight or shaping different body parts. Kind of a training without exertion. Is it worth to spend money on that?
Electric stimulators are being used for a long time as a part of physiotherapy because they help to prevent muscle atrophy and recover from sports injuries. Professional electro stimulator in specialist’s hands can make miracles - for example - force paralysed muscles to work.
To make the treatment effective, in other words - to cause a muscle contraction common to natural, it’s necessary to put two electrodes in proper body parts and turn on the power between them.
Electrodes should be placed at two ends of a muscle or one at so-called motoric point and other on a muscle.
In both cases it’s all about causing a contraction of almost the whole muscle or the whole muscle like it happens during natural physical activity.
It’s not that easy!
When you’re exercising, your muscles are working - shrinking and loosening up. It’s similar during electrostimulation - turning the power on with proper parameters causes shrink (contraction), turning it off lets your muscle loosen up. So far choosing electro stimulator instead of fitness looks promising, right?
Unfortunately, stimulators which are sold as a remedy against overweight differ a lot from that used in physiotherapy. It’s basic drawback is that they can’t force the whole muscle to contract because electrodes are placed neither on ends of muscles nor on motoric points. As a result only that part of a muscle which is between electrodes shrinks while other parts are inactive.
It causes that part of a muscle is getting stronger and another part - not. It’s like putting a piece of steel tripwire into a simple string thinking that whole string will get strong as steel. Such uneven muscle work isn’t natural and what’s more it increases the risk of muscle contusion, that can occur during natural physical activity.
Besides advertised electric stimulators are made for one body part - for example belly, buttock, front or rear side of thigh. Does contractions of one group of muscles help in losing weight? Does putting one leg on another and moving it or doing only stomach crunches will ever help you in losing weight? No.
Effectiveness of every electric stimulator which works by placing electrodes on skin is lower for people with overweight - electric impulses has low chances to reach muscles through thick layer of fat tissue.
What’s more plenty of these machines cause burns or skin irritation and pain, and electric impulses and contractions caused by it are not very pleasant.
The last argument against using electric stimulators in a slimming process is the fact that there are no scientific surveys proving that it causes a fat tissue loss.
So still the best way to lose weight is a diet and regular physical activity. Miracles don’t exist!
*This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.