Electroceuticals + NMES: What is it?
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) sounds like the sort of thing that a mad scientist might cook up, but most people are surprised to learn that NMES is a perfectly safe and sound method of muscle rehabilitation. Common devices which use NMES technology, often referred to as “electroceuticals”, include pacemakers and cochlear implants. For women with urinary incontinence, electroceuticals can be a godsend, activating and stimulating the pelvic floor muscles to bring them back to their former glory! Let’s break it down:
The nervous system seems fairly uncomplicated: when you want a muscle to move, your brain sends a signal to that muscle and it moves. That “signal” is actually a very tiny electrical charge which causes a chemical to be released at the point where the nerve meets the muscle. This chemical in turn causes the muscle to contract in a certain way, therefore moving as your brain told it to. However, problems can arise when certain muscles are not exercised frequently enough; the nerves in those muscles may lose the ability to properly carry signals from the brain. When that happens, those muscles weaken and may not function properly.
That brings us to incontinence. When you have weak pelvic floor muscles, their ability to expand and contract in sync with your bladder is decreased because those muscles aren't paying attention to the signals from the brain anymore. The electrical signals from the device mimic the electrical signals of the brain, and the muscles are forced to activate and move. No more slacking off for your bladder! Let’s bring it back into great shape!
When you want a muscle to move, your brain sends an electrical signal to the muscle to contract. If your muscle weakens, the signal gets lost. Electroceuticals mimic the electrical signal your brain does into the muscle for you. Your muscle strengthens and you gain control back.
Ladies, kegels may have their uses, but they are just not enough. Kegels still require proper communication between the brain, nerves, and muscles, and many of use just don't have that luxury right now. In fact, some physicians even recommend NMES therapy with an electroceutical device as the number one way to treat urinary incontinence. Buy a Yarlap and tell those weakpelvic floor muscles to wake up and get back to work! But in a fun way. Like jazzercise.