The search for an effective, effortless method to tone our bodies have always been the holy grail of many body-conscious individuals. To date, while there are many methods to reduce unwanted body fat and tighten body skin, there has been a dearth of methods to address the loss of muscle tone in the body that happens with age or perhaps, a sedentary lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong that we are looking for a method to replace exercise. The overwhelming consensus of doctors remains that an active lifestyle of physical activity and strength building exercises is still key in maintaining a healthy muscle mass and optimal muscle tone. However, we cannot deny that any mechanism that can accelerate the process of toning up the muscles will be more than welcomed.
Many individuals can possibly relate to the fact that toning up the body does require a certain amount of dedication and time, both of which some people lack. Furthermore, sports injuries often results in a loss of muscular tone of the affected area, especially during a protracted recovery phase. Lastly, certain special circumstances such as pregnancy and childbirth can create loss of muscular tone of the pelvic floor which can lead to urinary incontinence, an urgent and distressing area of concern for those afflicted.
Therefore, the loss of muscular tone as one ages is not limited to purely aesthetic purposes but straddles functional issues as well.
Electrical Stimulation of Muscle
In the past, Electrical stimulation of muscles have been employed as a way to stimulate muscular contraction. Electrical stimulation (ES) and also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TES) involves the use of electrical current to stimulate the nerves or nerve endings that innervate muscle beneath the skin. Electrical stimulation may be applied superficially on the skin (transcutaneously) or directly into a muscle or muscles (intramuscularly) for the primary purpose of enhancing muscle function. The basic theoretical premise is that if the peripheral nerve can be stimulated, the resulting excitation impulse will be transmitted along the nerve to the motor endplates in the muscle, producing a muscle contraction. Studies have shown that electrical stimulation alone able to improve muscle properties but with certain limits and precautions which might be useful in rehabilitation programmes.
The limitations of electrical stimulation is that it can be uncomfortable and a contact between skin and probe is needed.
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Magnetic Stimulation of Muscle
A second method of muscular toning that has recently been developed is FMS or Functional Magnetic Stimulation. Employed in Korean hospitals for the rehabilitation of muscular atrophy in geriatric patients as well as to improve pelvic floor tone and treat back pain in post childbirth patients, FMS has also begun to make its rounds in the aesthetic arena for the improvement of muscular tone in conjunction with a healthy exercise plan for beautification purposes. Needless to say, FMS has also been used in rehabilitation situations when muscular tone may be a problem and mobility may be compromised.
How does FMS work?
Rapid changes of magnetic field intensity induce an electrical current in the neuron. This phenomenon is called electromagnetic induction. Once the current reaches a certain value, a so-called neuron action potential is achieved. This causes the neuron cell to depolarize, which eventually leads to a complete muscle contraction.
The advantages of FMS is that it allows stimulation of deep muscle structures that cannot be reached by electrical stimulation of the muscle. This means that it can effectively stimulates muscle tissue without direct skin contact. It is also a painless and non-invasive method where the patient can be fully clothed during the treatment. The applicator can also be moved during treatment allowing for a better overall treatment process.
With the introduction of FMS, this may open new doors on how we view body shaping. No longer are we focused on treating the fat and the skin, we may be able to enhance the muscular structure of the underlying areas, creating even better results for all our patients.