Beurer EM41 EMS/TENS device promises to deliver small electrical impulses to your nerves or muscles to relieve pain. I'm not a doctor, I don't know your specific situation, so I can in no way answer the question: will the device help you. Consult your doctor if you need such a device. I can even tell if this device is better than others in delivering those impulses to your body. I will describe though all other aspects of the device.
The device is surprisingly small. It's more less the size of an iPhone 4, noticeably thicker, but it's not something you will be holding in your hand a lot anyway. If you're using it while lying on bed - you don't need to hold it. If you're moving - it comes with a belt clip.
It is super lightweight, but the build quality is not perfect. It is acceptably good, but it could have been better. As you can see on the picture above the +/- keys don't align ideally at the bottom. And there is a small impurity on the left side below the +/- keys. All keys work well and there is nothing exceptional about how they click.
What you get in a box:
- The device itself
- 4 self-adhesive electrodes
- 2 connecting wires
- Carrying pouch
- Belt clip, that can be attached to the main unit
- 3 AAA batteries
- Instructions manual in multiple languages
- Warranty card and some other papers
The device is powered by 3 AAA batteries that are supposed to last few months, as stated in the manual. They seem to deliver enough power, since I never got past half of the power setting of the device and that was strong enough for me.
The device comes with 4 self adhesive electrodes. They are covered in a jelly like substance that is very sticky. They are originally attached to a translucent film.
You can peel them off and attach to your body. And after use you can do the reverse. The electrodes are rated by the manual to be good for 20 uses, after which you must buy a set of new ones, that costs around 10 EUR for a 4 pcs set. So if you want to use the device every day, they will last around 3 weeks only. I myself got to 7 uses now and can already see some of the gel falling off the electrodes. It is not much, but I can see why they are supposed to last for 20 uses only.
Here is a video of how electrodes are peeled off:
If you, like me, need to use electrodes on your back, you will need help applying those, since it is not easy to do it yourself.
The electrodes are connected with the device using two wires, each of which connects to two electrodes. The device is a "two channel" device, which means, that it can send different current/frequency to two electrodes and a different combination to remaining two. This can be used to get asymetrical treatment or just treat different parts of your body at once.
Here is a link to Instructions manual in multiple languages from the Beurer site.
The device has three basic modes of operation:
TENS - nerves stimulation
EMS - muscle stimulation
Massage - relaxation (after Beurer description :) )
You should consult your physician to know which one is appropriate for you. I'm using TENS mode.
Beurer advertises 50 different programs, but the reality is more complicated.
A program is composed of different frequency currents, so for example: 1 second 10Hz, then 30 seconds 80 Hz, then 15 seconds 40 Hz, and then back again.
The manual very clearly explains how to attach electrodes and which program to choose to treat specific pain regions, gives you some options - like connecting electrodes straight or criss-cross. So you really need to experiment to see what works for you, but you get a good starting point with a lot of flexibility.
On top of the program settings you can change the intensity of each channel separately to adjust the strength of the current to your sensations. The rule of thumb is to to go as high as you can without feeling pain. I usually hover around half of the scale.
The device remembers the last program selected, so if you just use it to treat one problem it is very convenient.
Beurer EM 41 comes with a pouch, which easily holds all required accessories:
Once your electrodes are worn out, you can buy a set of 4 new ones or buy an 8-pack, which is a little bit cheaper.
In theory there is one more accessory available, which is a back-belt that does not wear out. However, my local Beurer representative told me, that it is only available in Germany and Beurer Germany never answered my question on where in Germany can I buy one.
All in all it is hard to tell if the device will help you, so don't count on me telling you to buy it or not.
On the plus side:
+ Beurer EM41 has a lot of configuration options and good manual to tell you how to use it
+ It is light and small
+ It is relatively cheap
+ It is portable
On the negative:
- the electrodes are a pain to deal with, especially when you need to attach them to your back
- electrodes are rated for about 20 uses, which makes the total cost of ownership pretty expensive in the long run