In order to lose weight, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The obvious solution to reducing abdominal fat is to eat a healthier diet and exercise regularly. Some people, however, prefer more creative methods for quicker outcomes or immediate satisfaction. People turn to ab stimulators hoping to lose weight more quickly and easily.
Because they’re considered medical devices, these electrical muscle stimulators (EMS) are regulated by the FDA. Though some manufacturers are selling unregulated devices that are even riskier than the regulated ones.
An EMS ab stimulator works by sending electrical signals to the muscles to contract. These are commonly used in physical therapy and rehabilitation centres. Following a stroke, major surgery, or severe injury, EMS stimulators are used clinically for bedridden patients.
Additionally, it is used by physical therapists to train patients after surgery to maintain and improve muscle strength. Other than that, EMS stimulators have also become popular as fitness tech. Only there are a lot of misconceptions and risks associated with these stimulators that people are unaware of.
6 Things To Consider Before Using Ab Stimulators
You need to keep the following in mind before using electrical stimulators for different purposes.
Ab Stimulators Will Not Help You Lose Weight
There are 2 types of fat in the body: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is present directly underneath the skin. In the middle of your abdomen, you can feel subcutaneous fat if you pinch excess skin and tissue.
Visceral fat, on the other hand, is the hidden fat. It accumulates in your abdomen, in the spaces between your organs. Having too much visceral fat increases the risk of serious health problems.
It’s believed that ab stimulators can target subcutaneous fat. Advertisements for ab stimulators appear frequently on fitness websites and social media. The way ab stimulators work, it is not possible for them to help you lose weight. Ab stimulators force the abdominal muscles to contract; they will not burn fat or cause any significant weight loss.
Electrical Stimulation Can Give You Skin Burns
Electrical stimulation treatments have resulted in first, second and sometimes third-degree burns. It is caused by the adhesives in the electrodes or the tape that holds them in place.
Patients sometimes fail to notice electric stimulation burns during treatment. Nevertheless, these burns can leave permanent scars. In addition, electrotherapy can also cause skin burns if used excessively.
EMS Electrodes Can Cause Bruises & Skin Irritation
Electrodes on EMS stimulators can cause skin irritation in some people. A reaction to FES (functional electrical stimulation) can occur at any time after starting the treatment. You may experience this problem even after months, years, or even weeks of using the electrodes.
You Can Experience An Electric Shock
Because EMS involves electricity, there’s a chance that the wires or cables could lead to electrocution. It can be quite dangerous for heart patients.
Electrical Signals Can Interfere With Other Medical Devices
Ab stimulators can interfere with other medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators. Therefore, its use can be dangerous for those who have an implanted device in their bodies. Those who have metal in their body (joint prosthetics) should also avoid it; tooth fillings are the exception.
Who Should Avoid EMS Ab Stimulators?
It’s not recommended for pregnant women and people with epilepsy to use ab stimulators, as there isn’t enough research to ensure their safety. Their use should also be avoided by those who have:
- Neurological problems
- Impaired sensation
- Skin irritation
- Open wounds or blood clots
There is no evidence that EMS devices build ab muscles. Make sure you do your research before investing hundreds of pounds in dangerous devices that will waste your time (especially the unregulated ones). You should be wary of company-funded research and celebrity endorsements that seem dubious.
To burn fat and build muscle, focus on a healthy diet and exercise. You should seek medical advice if you still have trouble losing abdominal fat even after following healthy eating habits and exercising regularly.