Stimulator Types

When looking at the various stimulators available in the health industry, one can divide these into 2 broad categories, being those that target the sensory system, and those that target the muscular system.   The sensory stimulators are typically used in treating and controlling pain and altered sensation, while the muscular stimulators are focussed on eliciting effective contractions to aid in activity and function.

A clear distinction needs to be made between Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation (TES) and Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). TES being of an exercise orientation, where one would relax whilst the stimulation works on its own. FES on the other hand, incorporates this elicited muscle movement into an everyday activity, like standing, walking, reaching out etc.

We can therefore divide these muscular stimulators (also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulators or NMES) in 2 categories, being the TES and FES.  The table below shows the comparison between these two: