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Electrical Muscle-Stimulating Treatments

Written by: Alice Hart-Davis

Last Updated: 12 January 2024

What is an electrical muscle-stimulating treatment?

Electrical muscle-stimulation is a treatment that includes electrical stimulation of the muscles in the face or body, for the purpose of toning, lifting and firming. You’ll also see the term ‘microcurrent facial’ used to describe this type of facial.

Passing a low-level electrical current through muscles makes them contract and tighten, which helps to coax muscles that are becoming stretched and floppy with age into a neater, tighter shape. Often, this treatment doesn’t provide a permanent solution for the face or body, but the temporary improvement can provide culminative benefits with multiple sessions. Scroll down for all the info and FAQs about electrical muscle-stimulating treatments.

EXPECT TO PAY

£ 100

TWEAKMENT TIME

45 - 90 minutes

LONGEVITY

A few days

ANAESTHESIA

No

DOWNTIME

None

Find a Practitioner

Postcode

How do electrical muscle-stimulating treatments work?

In an electrical muscle-stimulating facial, the practitioner uses a device to pass a low-voltage electrical current through different areas of your face. Some devices use two metal prongs to deliver this current, others facial pads, as is the case with leading brand EMFACE. The current stimulates the production of collagen and elastin and also increases blood flow. As you know, collagen is the structural protein that keeps your skin strong, and elastin is the fibrous, stretchy protein that keeps the skin bouncy and pliable, so boosting the production of these proteins helps perk up your skin.

For the body, muscle stimulating treatments work to enhance muscle strength and definition by inducing targeted stimulation and contraction of the muscles – a little like how it works when you do exercises such as crunches. Popular devices such as EMSCULPT Neo deliver high-itensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) energy to trigger deep muscle contractions. This leads to muscle remodelling, the building of new muscle fibres and the enhancement of tone and definition in specific muscle groups, such as the abdomen, buttom and thighs.

 

Do electrical muscle-stimulating treatments work?

Yes, electrical muscle-stimulating treatments are effective at giving your face a quick boost and can non-invasively tone areas of your body, such as your tummy, overtime too. You will normally see an improvement after a single treatment for facial treatments, but you will need a course of them to sustain the improvement, as the results aren’t permanent. Body treatments, such as those on your stomach, tend to take up to 12 weeks to provide defined toning results, although you may see some changes in appearance and condition before then. However, these results are also not permanent and they are also not a replacement for a healthy diet and exercise routine.

portrait of a beautiful mature lady with a towel on her head looking at her skin in the mirror

TOTW CACI still pic

How much do electrical muscle-stimulating treatments cost?

Here are examples of the cost of electrical muscle-stimulating treatments:

  • The CACI Synergy facial costs from £90 upward.
  • The Face Gym Signature Electrical Workout costs £85
  • EMFACE costs £3000 for a course of four treatment 
  • EMSCULPT costs around £249 per session

How long do electrical muscle-stimulating treatments take?

An electrical muscle-stimulating facial usually takes 45 to 90 minutes, with the best results after four treatments. Body treatments can be even quicker – lasting around 30 minutes for HIFEM-based treatments, depending on the area you are focusing on. Results are also best seen after a course of at least four treatments.

How long do electrical muscle-stimulating treatments last?

The effects of an electrical muscle-stimulating facial last for several days. Interestingly, the length of time for which the effects last increases gradually if you repeat the treatment. For example, the effects of the first facial may last for three or four days; the effects of the second facial may last for four or five days; and so on.

For a body-based treatments, maintenance is really important (which means not just treatments, but a healthy diet and exercise). With that in mind, results can last for around six months, with some people reporting still seeing the effect for up to a year.

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What can electrical muscle-stimulating treatments be used for?

As a facial treatment, electrical muscle stimulation is used to lift and tighten the muscles in the face and the neck. It can also smooth the skin. HIFEM body treatments work similarly when utilised on areas such as the stomach, bottom and thighs, where its use is focused on building muscle tone to improve strength, definition and general body appearance.

Electrical stimulation is also used for various medical purposes. On the face, electrical stimulation is used to treat the condition called Bell’s Palsy, in which one side of the face appears to droop because the muscles have become temporarily weakened or paralysed. On other parts of the body, electrical stimulation is used to treat pulled muscles and similar problems.

Where can I get an electrical muscle-stimulating treatments?

You can use the Find a Practitioner tool on this website to find a practitioner who gives electrical muscle-stimulating treatments for both the face and body.

What is it like to have an electrical muscle-stimulating treatments?

If you’ve ever made the mistake of touching a live electric socket – relax, it’s not like that. Here is how Alice found two of the leading electrical muscle-stimulating facials:

Face Gym Signature Electrical Workout.

The facial workout is divided into a ‘warm-up’, which is a nice firm massage, followed by a ‘cardio’ section where the therapist thrums her fingers across my jawline and up my cheeks at such speed and in such a continuous flow that all tension is forced out of my face. Then there’s even ‘strength training’ to pep up flagging face muscles. For the finale, my face is worked over with the FaceGym Pro device, which looks like some futuristic insect and whose metallic antennae deliver mild electrical charges to the face, to make my dozy face muscles contract and tighten. It tingles, but it’s not unpleasant. Afterwards, my face looks both more relaxed and more awake than before – my cheeks sit a bit higher, and my eyes seem more open. It’s everything that a great facial massage should deliver, and I could see the benefits of a more consistent skin colour (from improved blood flow and lymph drainage) and of relaxed face muscles for several days.

CACI Synergy facial.

This facial feels ‘electrical’ rather than pampering. It’s tingly, having electricity passed through my skin, but no worse than that. I had thought it might make my muscles spasm or twitch, but the treatment is much subtler than that. I get a metallic taste in my mouth, too, as the electricity is stirring up the metal in my fillings, which is strange but again, not too bad. After the prongs, the therapist uses a ‘wrinkle comb’ which helps to soften and relax the muscles that are making some frown lines set in. The facial finishes with light treatment, involving both red light, which helps calm inflammation in the skin and stimulate collagen production, and blue light, to bring down levels of bacteria on the skin. At 90 minutes, this is a long treatment – but it gives a terrific result. All those tiny microcurrents have achieved a noticeable effect, lifting and smoothing my face, and my skin looks impressively smooth and glowing, which must be from the combination of improved circulation and the light therapy.

EMSCULPT Body Toning 

To get an idea of what electrical muscle-stimulating body treatments are like, you can also read Alice’s full review of the leading HIFEM device EMSCULPT, where she outlines how it works, the initial results and a full six week review. In brief, your therapist will start the contractions on a low setting – say 30% – and then slowly build-up the intensity, with three phases targeting fat burning, muscle toning and the breakdown of lactic acid (to avoid muscle soreness). When the device starts, you can definitely feel it, but its the sort of sensation that requires some focused deep breathing rather than pain relief.

FAQ ABOUT Electrical Muscle-Stimulating Treatments


Are electrical muscle-stimulating treatments safe?

Electrical muscle-stimulating treatments are safe for most people, but not for everyone. These treatments are not recommended for anyone who is pregnant or anyone who has any of the following conditions:

  • Heart problems – in particular, anyone who wears a pacemaker should avoid electrical muscle-stimulation.

Metal plates in the area of treatment

Do electrical muscle-stimulating treatments hurt?

Electrical muscle-stimulating treatments don’t hurt, but you’ll feel a tingling sensation as the electricity is passed through your skin.

Are there any side effects to electrical muscle-stimulating treatments?

Most people have no side effects from electrical muscle-stimulating treatments. However, some people experience the following side effects starting about 90 minutes afterwardsl:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

These side effects typically pass within 24 hours.

How often should I have an electrical muscle-stimulating treatments?

Most providers of electrical muscle-stimulating treatments recommend that you have a course of treatments at short intervals, such as a week, until you achieve the result you’re looking for. After that, providers suggest switching to one treatment per month to maintain your gains.

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