What is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)?

Nerve stimulation is a drug-free method of pain relief that uses an electric current. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS, for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the nervous system) is a method in which short, low-voltage electrical impulses are aimed at a specific nerve using electrodes attached to the skin. This changes neuronal transmission and blocks the transmission of pain to the brain.

Pulse Therapy Massage

The word TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and TENS machine that has risen in popularity in recent years as an alternative to taking painkilling medications. The most well-known brand of a TENS machine is Dr. Ho, but other units such as Drive Medical Portable Dual Channel Tens unit and StimTec brands are growing in popularity.

Lightweight and Portable

Tens machines are generally small, lightweight, and portable and have two basic components - the machine itself, and the sticky pads that are stuck to the skin in the treatment area, generally on either side of where the pain is experienced. When you switch on the machine mild electrical impulses travel through the wires to the sticky pads.

The delivered electrical impulses are lower settings create a tingling sensation and at higher settings can create a twitching or spasm. For best results, start with the settings low and adjust until the tingling sensation is strong but not painful. These impulses may assist in the production of endorphins, in loosening tight muscles, in pain reductions, and in relaxation. In certain brands the battery-operated controller is so small it can fit in a pocket allowing the user to go about their day.

StimTec Target TENS/EMS

How does the TENS device work

A TENS machine - or neurostimulator - consists of a generator that generates electrical pulses and is connected to electrodes that are placed on the patient's skin. With the help of electrical impulses, the corresponding mechanisms for releasing heat are stimulated. There is a triple effect:

  • Blocking the transmission of pain to the brain
  • Stimulation of the release of endorphins (natural pain relievers)
  • Improve blood circulation

Using a TENS machine is aimed at relieving pain. These are nerve, muscle, or joint pain that are often chronic and in a variety of forms (arthritis, back pain, migraines, pain in the foot, pain due to childbirth, pain after an operation, etc.).

Blocking the transmission of pain to the brain

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a treatment that blocks the transmission of pain from the peripheral nerves to the brain. It reduces spinal cord activity by sending electrical pulses along nerve fibers to block pain signals from reaching the brain. This treatment can be administered through an electrode, which is set to the nervous system, and then delivered over a low-voltage electric current. The electrodes are usually attached to a large pad on one's back. The pads have two electrodes with a grid of small contacts on each side of the pad.

Stimulation of the release of endorphins (natural pain relievers)

The TENS machine transmits impulses through electrodes and sends them to the nerve endings in your body, which causes these nerves to release endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals that we produce when we exercise or feel pleasure. They help lessen the severity of chronic pain and create a feeling of well-being.

Improve blood circulation

A TENS machine is a device that applies electrical stimulation to the body, which can help to improve blood circulation. This type of technology is often used for acute or chronic pain relief, as well as injuries that are still healing.

TENS Neck Massager

A TENS neck massage is a technique that uses electrical current to stimulate the nerve endings around the neck. The TENS neck massager is an electrotherapy device used to relieve pain by stimulating the nerves of the muscles in the neck. This treatment is most effective when pain is caused by muscle spasms due to overuse or strain, but can also be used to reduce acute or chronic back pain.

Relaxus Smart TENS Neck Massager

TENS Unit Electrodes

Electrode placement is a crucial part of receiving the best results from a TENS machine. There are a few factors that determine where to place the electrodes which include: location of pain, location of the injury, and pain levels.

Electrodes Maintenance

The electrodes often stop sticking to the skin, which decreases the effectiveness of the treatment. In order to maintain a high quality treatment experience, you should clean your electrodes with alcohol each time you use them and replace them every four months.

The average life of a TENS machine electrode is 6-12 months, but it can be longer if the electrode is not used each day. The electrodes are sticky enough to stick to the top layer of skin when they are used. If you are not using the electrode every day, put it back onto the plastic film that came with it. It will stay sticky for several weeks this way.

Dr. Ho's Replacement T.E.N.S. Pads

Application of the devices

  1. Instruction: A thorough introduction should take place before commissioning. This can be done by a doctor or an appropriately trained specialist. The manufacturers often also provide meaningful videos.
  2. Attaching the electrodes: The electrodes may only be applied to healthy areas of skin. A special water-based electrode gel can be used for better adhesion. It promotes the transmission of stimuli.
  3. Frequency: In the beginning, the stimulation should start with a low intensity. With TENS, a current of 100 Hz is usually sufficient.
  4. Skin irritation: The flow of current can be felt during the application (tingling sensation). However, there should be no pain. Local irritation of the skin must also not be the result.
  5. Cleaning: After training, the affected areas of the skin and the device itself must be cleaned.
  6. Storage: The equipment must be kept child-proof and dry.
  7. Repetition: In principle, several units per day are possible. However, since a certain regeneration phase must always be observed, no more than two intervals per day should be practiced.

TENS Device on Neck

When is it NOT allowed to perform Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation?

  • People with epilepsy should not receive electrical stimulation therapy.
  • In patients with mental illness.
  • During pregnancy.
  • If you have a pacemaker or an insulin pump.
  • If there is acute inflammation of joints or organs.
  • In the case of previous illnesses such as a stroke, a thalamic syndrome or paraplegia, the doctor must be consulted.
  • In the case of cardiac arrhythmias, the benefits as opposed to the risks must be assessed by a doctor.
  • Children are not allowed to be treated on their own.


These electrodes are used for a single patient only. If skin irritation develops, discontinue use and consult a physician. Electrodes should not be placed in any location where a current will be applied to head or neck. Patients with a pacemaker or any other metallic/electric implants should consult a physician before using.

Halo Healthcare offers a wide range of TENS machine in Canada and US so you can decide which one is best for you.


DR-HO'S Neck Pain Pro - TENS Machine

$250.00 $190.95

DR-HO'S Neck Pain Pro - TENS Device       Neck pain is one of the most common types of pain that people experience in their life. DR-HO'S Neck Pain Pro - TENS Device is specifically designed to help you temporarily...

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DR-HO'S Replacement T.E.N.S. Pads


DR-HO'S Replacement Pads The DR-HO'S pads are made of a durable material that is resistant to water and sweat, and they can be used on a variety of areas of the body such as the neck and shoulders, wrists and hands, back, legs, and ankles. It is reusable...

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DR-HO'S Triple Action Back Belt - TENS Machine

$270.00 $225.95

DR-HO'S Triple Action Back Belt - TENS Device  Standard back support belts can help with finding pain relief, but they can often be uncomfortable and ineffective. The DR-HO'S Triple Action Back Belt uses three distinct pain relief technologies to...

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DR-HO'S Pain Therapy System PRO TENS Machine

$270.00 $229.99

DR-HO'S Pain Therapy System PRO TENS Device If you're one of the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain, you know just how debilitating it can be. Not only does it make everyday activities difficult, but it can also lead to sleepless nights and...

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StimTec Neo TENS/EMS Microcurrent Device

$249.95 $209.99

StimTec Neo TENS/EMS Microcurrent Device The StimTec  Neo is the perfect solution for on-the-go electrotherapy. It's a soft case, lithium battery, and battery charger all in one. This means that you can take your Tens machine with you wherever...

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StimTec TENS Device Replacement Battery Charger

$26.99 $23.95

StimTec TENS Device Replacement Battery Charger When you’re out and about, it’s always handy to have a charger with you so that you can juice up your StimTec TENS device quickly. Now, there’s a new battery charger available that makes...

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StimTec TENS Device Replacement AC Adapter

$32.95 $24.95

StimTec TENS Device Replacement AC Adapter If you rely on a TENS device for pain relief, then you know that having a working AC adapter is essential. The good news is that StimTec offers a durable AC adapter that is a must-have for any TENS therapy...

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StimTec Plus TENS/EMS Microcurrent Device


StimTec Plus TENS/EMS Microcurrent Device Start feeling better with StimTec Plus TENS / EMS unit. The StimTec PLUS comes with retail box and everything a patient needs to get started. Combines the program simplicity of the Target with the design...

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StimTec Target TENS/EMS Machine

$149.00 $119.95

StimTec Target TENS / EMS StimTec Target TENS/EMS is a techy device that can help you to treat chronic body pain and conveniently massage sore muscles. It is a handy battery-operated device for you to be able to bring it anywhere and use it anytime you...

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AMG Medical

ProActive Libera Wire Free TENS Device

$79.99 $49.22

ProActive Libera Wire-Free TENS Device A TENS device is a small, battery-operated machine that sends electrical signals through electrodes placed on the skin; it sends tiny electrical impulses through the skin to the nerves to help prevent pain signals...

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AMG Medical

ProActive Thera3+ TENS 3-in-1 Physiotherapy Device

$195.00 $184.60

ProActive Thera3+ TENS 3-in-1 Physiotherapy Device The ProActive Thera3+ TENS 3-in-1 Physiotherapy Device is a device that is used to provide relief from pain. This TENS unit has three different modes: TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation),...

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