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View Full Version : Dr. Ho's electric muscle gizmo


Eats_Crayons
05-29-2002, 11:03 AM
You may have seen it on TV... It has little, sticky conductive pads that you stick to your body. short pulses of electricity stimulate the muscles causing them to contract. My friend's chiropractor uses a similar gizmo for muscle therapy.

So how exactly does it work? I mean, I know that the electric pulses cause the muscles to contract and then relax, but if you have sore muscles from working out the day before, how do the pulses of electricity help to make them feel better (as opposed to just making sore muscles work again and become even more sore)? Does this gizmo actually help muscles at all, or is there a risk of causing damage? If you know nothing about human anatomy, are you making things worse by sticking the zappy pads randomly on various muscle groups?

Isn't Dr. Ho's "muscle therapy device" based on the same type of premise as the "work your abs without exercise!" gizmos that seem to do the same thing? In which case, do the electric pulses constitute "exercise" and will repreated use make muscles bulk up?

ultrafilter
05-29-2002, 12:17 PM
I seriously doubt you'll get any bulking up from any electrical device. IIRC, when you work out, muscle fibers tear, and they grow back as long as the longest fibers in that muscle. In order to get any bulk, you'd have to work the muscle hard enough to make those tears. In other words, if you don't feel like you've been lifting a shitload, you're not gonna get the benefits of lifting a shitload. And if any electrical device causes your muscles to contract like that, then it probably produces enough electricity to cause serious problems (like death, for instance).

SpoilerVirgin
05-29-2002, 12:27 PM
I don't know about Dr. Ho's device, but the FTC is suing manufacturers of electric ab belts for false advertising. Apparently the FDA has approved some devices for athletes and rehab, but not for weight loss or building abs.

US Feds Go After Belts Promising 'Washboard Abs' (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020508/hl_nm/abdominals_regulators_1)

Eats_Crayons
05-29-2002, 03:17 PM
Originally posted by ultrafilter
I seriously doubt you'll get any bulking up from any electrical device. IIRC, when you work out, muscle fibers tear, and they grow back as long as the longest fibers in that muscle. You are correct as far as how the micro tears play a their part in bulking up, but I was thinking more along the lines of "gee, I wonder what would happen if I had this thing running for 8 hours on one spot?"... But that was more of a secondary issue.

The main one is still it's "therapeutic" value. How does forcing a muscle to move a little help with healing? (Assuming this is the presmise.) With massage, I thought the idea was to increase circulation in the sore muscles to promote healing. So what to the pee-wee currents do?

When I was playing with a Dr. Ho gizmo (it takes 2 AAA batteries), the pulses were enough to move body parts, but there was no sensation of any serious clenching. On larger muscle groups on the highest setting, it could look rather dramatic (I was able to get it to make my shoulder shrug), but there was most definitely NOT a particularly powerful muscular response.

(Oh, the temptation to stick that pads to my eyebrows to get some funky facial ticks happening!...)

Whether Dr. Ho's, or the FDA approved sports-med version, how does it help in the healing or rehab process? And what about making things worse if you do-it-yourself with Dr. Ho's?

GaryM
05-29-2002, 03:33 PM
What would happen if you attached it to a muscle group a little lower down than your abs? And don't tell me you haven't thought about it!:eek:

bbeaty
05-29-2002, 06:24 PM
Are you talking about a "TENS" device, as in "transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation." They're FDA approved, but only for pain relief, and they're not supposed to exercize your muscles.


Electroanalgesia
http://freespace.virgin.net/joseph.gadsby/page11.htm

Eats_Crayons
05-29-2002, 09:47 PM
Originally posted by bbeaty
Are you talking about a "TENS" device, as in "transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation." They're FDA approved, but only for pain relief, and they're not supposed to exercize your muscles.
Yes, Dr. Ho's gizmo is a poor man's version. How does it work? (And PLEASE forget about the exercise stuff -- that was a second question that really has little to do with the OP.)

I'd like to know how electrical stimulation of the muscles relieves pain and if you can cause any damage using such a device when you don't know what you're doing.

But at least now I can look up "TENS device" in Google.

Thanks, bbeaty!