When living a life full of adventure and activity is truly your jam, it makes a healthy lifestyle so much easier. After all, if sitting is the new sugar (which, of course, is the new smoking), then those of us who crave movement and seek out new ways to challenge our bodies are really ahead of the game.
But lots of movement — especially the type that so many of us love because it really pushes our limits and helps us become stronger, both physically and mentally — often leads to muscle soreness. And muscle soreness can lead to inactivity (because who wants to do something that actually hurts?).
And that? Well, it doesn’t exactly move us toward our healthy goals, does it?
Now, I’m all about making self-care a priority in order to keep myself feeling good, so I’m not shy about booking a massage or soaking in an Epsom salt bath when I’m feeling overly achy. But good massages aren’t cheap, and while a bath is certainly relaxing, it’s also time consuming and doesn’t exactly lend itself to multi-tasking (unless you consider drinking a glass of wine and reading a book tasks).
So! When we were contacted by BeWell Connect and asked if we’d like to check out MyTens, a smart, wire-free TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit that’s Bluetooth connected and useful for temporary pain relief (as well as for stimulating healthy muscles for recovery or strength-building), I was pretty excited. I’ve heard some buzz from other athletic friends who’ve used them, and I’ve even had acupuncturists use a TENS unit on me, but, I’ll be honest — I didn’t actually know much about them, and I certainly didn’t know I could use one myself at home through a simple app on my phone.
I understood that they were used to help with pain, and I was very familiar with the tingly, tap-tap-tapping feeling that the electrical pulses create, but beyond that, I was clueless. And I figured I wasn’t alone, so, before I dive into my personal experience, let me give you a super brief primer on what a TENS unit is, what it does, and what makes MyTens stand out.
What to Know About Using MyTens
The first thing I want to make clear is that the MyTens, which retails for $149 for a single channel (or $249 for two), is not designed to fix or cure pain. But! The small pulses of electrical stimulation have been shown to reduce the perception of pain in a safe, drug-free, non-invasive way. (If you really want to dig into the science behind it, there are a couple of theories as to how this works, but, basically, the idea is that these pulses flood the nervous system in a way that keeps it from being able to send out pain signals, and the pulses also stimulate the body to release endorphins.)
MyTens comes with a set of electrodes to which you attach the unit and then stick on your body. And if the idea of sticking electrodes on yourself makes you a little nervous, I’m with you — that seemed a bit intimidating to me at first, too. But here’s where MyTens is especially cool — because, you know how I mentioned that it works with an app? That app guides you right to the program you need and shows you exactly where to place your electrodes to help with pain in the area you select.
Once the electrodes are in place, turn on the unit. You will then see a green check mark appear on the screen when it is connected, and then begin your selected program. It’s preset with the amount of time you should use it, often around 30 minutes. From there, it’s just a matter of using the app to adjust the intensity so that you can feel a sensation without there being any discomfort.
And, maybe the coolest part? Instead of having to sit tight for 30 minutes, you can just go about your day, pausing only at the end to take it off and clean the electrodes before putting it away. Sweet, right?
My Experience Using MyTens
I’ve used my unit on my back, my quads, my elbow, my abs, and my knees, and while using it, I’ve cleaned, I’ve worked, I’ve cooked, and I’ve walked my dogs — because, yep, it’s small enough that it’s no problem at all to wear it out and about if you’d like. In fact, technically, you can head to the gym and work out while wearing the MyTens, but I haven’t quite gone that far yet. (Nice to know I could, though!)
In addition to alleviating aches and pains, MyTens also has electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) settings designed to help strengthen healthy muscles — so, yeah, you can use it to work your abs while typing away on your computer, like I’m doing right now. Now, don’t misunderstand me here — it’s not that I’m suggesting anybody scale back on their regular workouts in favor of all EMS, all the time. After all, exercising does way more for me than just build muscle. But if you’ve got some areas in which you’re really trying to build more strength and want a boost, this is definitely an easy way to add a little something to your regular routine.
And really, that’s the biggest reason why I’m a fan of MyTens. It doesn’t disrupt my regular routine one bit. In fact, it makes it easier for me to stick to it — and that, right there, feels good.
Have you had any experience with a TENS unit, either with a health care professional, like a physical therapist, or with an at-home unit? Try MyTens yourself and save 25 percent with code FitBottom25 here!—Kristen