If you haven’t heard of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units before, they are widely used for pain relief. They also can be good drug-free alternative for reducing or eliminating pain. TENS units are designed to send very small electrical signals through the skin to reach nerve endings and in theory disrupt or override pain signals traveling to the brain. The impulses are gentle and a TENS unit can be useful for many types of pain—from strains to arthritis.
If you are someone who suffers from chronic or unexplained pain, please consult a physician before beginning any type of non-prescription therapy. The iTENS units are not designed to be prescription devices and are available for purchase online.
Types of iTENS
There are two sizes of iTens units available. The smaller unit is called “Small Wings” and span 1.75” x 5.5″. The smaller unit is designed to grip and move on smaller treatment areas such as the ankle, knee, elbow, and wrist.
The “Large Wings” span 2.5” x 6.5” and are designed for bigger areas such as large muscle groups in the legs, back, and shoulders. Both units need to be recharged after about 24 hours of continuous use.
The iTENS units are operated via an app on your smartphone, which is really cool for a lot of us. As a plus, the units are small and very easily portable. They would take up little space in your gym bag, carry-on, or backpack.
Each set of flexible wings comes with a set of gel pads that are good for about 10 applications. The units are not designed to be shared between users. Additional gel pads are available for purchase from the iTENS website.
The wings themselves are designed to adhere to the skin via the gel pads and will adjust with movement.
Operating the iTENS
The units are designed to be controlled via a free app, available at the App Store. The app syncs the unit to your phone via Bluetooth. There are no controls on the unit itself, and there are no cords other than the USB charging cable. The white center portion is the part of the unit that is charged via the USB cable. The instructions provided with the unit indicate that the unit needs to be charged for over two hours prior to first use. The unit uses a lithium ion battery, also included installed in the unit. There is a six-month warranty on the flexible iTENS wings and a one-year warranty on the electronic device itself (the center portion).
iTENS and the User
I found the instructions, packaging, and product itself to be of good quality. The unit plugged in easily and started charging right away when I plugged it in. The gel pads are very sticky and there is a separate bag included with the unit to store the wings so the gel pads don’t dry out and lose their adhesive properties.
Applying the gel pads to the skin is comfortable, and adjusting the pads is easy if they aren’t in quite the right spot. The iTENS app notifies you if the unit is not paired to the app. It shows the battery level, the intensity, and has a stop or pause option. The unit itself has an on/off button, as does the app. The app has a timer as well as a section that has instructions on how to use the unit as well as instructions for electrode placement and a place to track and chart results.
There are options within the app to select body part, condition, use the unit manually, or save your favorite program.
I received the small unit for trial and after charging was able to set up and use the app and the unit within five minutes. The pulses feel like little brushes against your skin and are not painful. Depending on the level it could get, shall we say, intense, but not totally uncomfortable. Everyone is different in this regard, of course. I found that intensity level six is about perfect for what I needed as a first time user.
An Affordable Option
As far as TENS units go, this is a good option for people who want to run their unit from their phone. There is no other option other than to run it through the app, however, so if your phone dies, you are out of luck. For the price, I feel it’s a good investment. For bigger TENS units, you may pay a lot more for a similar result, so if you are new to using a TENS unit, or if you have only one troublesome spot, this is an affordable solution to see if it is a good fit for your needs.
I like the iTENS and will put it to good use. I recommend this unit highly.
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