Electrical stimulation (E-stim) is the process in which muscle contraction is activated by using electric impulses. The impulses are generated by a device and delivered through electrodes which are patches that adhere to the skin and conduct electric current. This practice imitates the signals from the brain that cause muscles to contract.
Some of the goals of electrical stimulation are to reeducate a muscle toward normal function and to facilitate motion. It does this by serving as biofeedback or a guide to patients’ proprioceptive (awareness of one’s own body positioning) and visual sense of motions and activities being facilitated. E-stim is also used to improve or maintain muscle strength, reduce muscle spasticity (excessive contraction of muscle due to a lack of inhibition), relieve pain, promote relaxation, and improve circulation in an area to encourage healing.