Muscle stimulation therapy utilizes Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation devices to send electrical impulses to the muscles at specific frequencies and intensities for purposes of strengthening and/or stimulating the muscles. Muscle stimulation can help improve muscle strength, tone and range of motion, especially when combined with other therapy types. The electrical pulses are said to mimic the actions of signals coming from neurons - the cells of the nervous system.
The mild electrical currents contract muscles, enabling the child to maximize capacity through activation of less active muscles and/or simply provide the child physical and motor awareness. Muscle Stimulation therapy can benefit movement, body alignment, blood flow, muscle function and strength, as well as promote skill development.
Rhythmic pulses cause muscle contractions that can help improve muscle strength, particularly if the child is also simultaneously contracting these same muscles. Electrical stimulation can also 'train' muscles to respond to the body's natural signals to contract. NMES can be done on children as young as 4 months old (on low frequency).
Muscle stimulation can help children with movement disorders, such as cerebral palsy. The treatment can focus on varied areas, including the achieving of motor learning, motor control, muscle strength, and sensory stimulations.
Electrical stimulation can be delivered during a physiotherapy or occupational therpay session.
Upon assessment of the child’s abilities and goals, the therapist will curate the best placement of the muscle stimulation pads, along with the machines’ frequency and intensity. The small electrodes will then be attached to the bare skin by sticky pads and connected to the stimulation unit with wires. While the stimulation units are on (usually 2-3 units are used in each session, targeting 2-3 muscle groups at a time), the therapist will engage the child in movements and poses that are complementary to goal at hand.
When booking your physiotherapy or occupational-therapy appointment, please be sure to let us know if Muscle Stimulation is a type of therapy that you are interested in being performed on your child.