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Side effects of and contraindications for whole-body electro-myo-stimulation: a viewpoint
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  • Published on:
    Response to the viewpoint of Stöllberger and Finsterer: Side effects of and contraindication for whole body electromyostimulation
    • Wolfgang Kemmler, Research Director Institute of Medical Physics, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany
    • Other Contributors:
      • Simon von Stengel, Researcher
      • Sebastian Willert, Research fellow
      • Joshua Berger, Research fellow
      • Oliver Ludwig, Research fellow
      • Jens Vatter, Head of training EMS
      • Christoph Eiffler, Head of Departement
      • Michael Froehlich, Head of Departement

    In their recent viewpoint and article, Stöllberger and Finsterer 1 2 criticize the inadequate regulation of “whole body-electromyostimulation” (WB-EMS), potentially responsible for a variety of adverse effects recently reported. 3-6 Indeed, in contrast to locally applied EMS, the stimulation of all, or at least most, major muscle groups characterizes WB-EMS. Consequently, given that even locally applied EMS might cause severe rhabdomyolysis and hospitalization 7, it is obvious that a technology able to stimulate simultaneously up to 2600 cm2 of muscular area entails a much larger risk of triggering unintended side effects 3-6 at least when inadequately applied. 8
    Particularly with regard to the WB-EMS safety guidelines published in 2016 by our national WB-EMS consortium8, Stöllberger and Finsterer2 complain that the enquiring about contraindications and the requirements for a licensed WB-EMS trainer are not adequately specified. Overlapping with the publication of the article of Stöllberger and Finsterer, however it should be noted, that a German standard (DIN 33961-5, 9) was recently released which includes both contraindications for WB-EMS application in commercial, non-medical settings 10 and the requirements for the qualification of EMS trainers. Of importance, the latter was also specified by the 2019 revised German Radiation Protection Statutes (NiSV) a mandatory guideline published by the German “Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherhei...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.