There are few celebrities who keep things as real on social media as Chrissy Teigen, so when she shares an aspect of her life, it’s likely you can trust you’re getting an unfiltered opinion. For those looking for a new fitness routine to try, that honesty came in handy this past weekend when Teigen shared the latest workout she’s loving. Her most recent choice? It involved a buzzy technology called electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS.
Teigen posted about the workout in an Instagram story on April 4, telling her followers in a breathless video about her mid-hair-dye experience with the founder and CEO of EMS Concierge, Hana Monska. “It’s so good, honestly,” she laughed. “Hana, you’re amazing.”
While the model and entrepreneur clearly loved the workout, for those who have never heard of EMS before, you may be a little confused about what Teigen was talking about. (Not to mention intimidated, if you noticed all the equipment strapped to her body.) According to EMS Concierge, its own EMS technology activates nearly 90% of the body’s muscle fibers in 20 minutes — and in that time, you’re supposed to feel the results of a four-hour, full-body workout.
Surprisingly, though, EMS didn’t start as a workout at all. As Ryan Yelle, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, clinical director at Professional Physical Therapy told Refinery29 in 2018, EMS is actually “a tool that physical therapists use to help people recover from surgery or rehabilitate injuries.” Yet in recent years, that technology has been making its way into fitness routines — and celebrities like Ashley Graham and Teigen are getting on board.
But why? Well, as Shape reports, EMS “allows you to call upon more muscle fibers,” which could ultimately mean strength gains. The publication continues: “If you use e-stim in tandem with movement and weight, your muscles should get stronger than if you did the moves alone, according to some research.”
While it sounds amazing — it’s no surprise that something that’s supposed to help you get stronger, faster is gaining traction — it’s important to be careful, do your research, and talk to your doctor before trying a workout with EMS technology yourself. The FDA wrote that it has received reports of “shocks, burns, bruising, skin irritation, and pain” from devices that have not been regulated by the organization; therefore, “it is very important that these devices be properly designed, manufactured, and labeled with clear and complete instructions for use and that anyone using them follows the instructions carefully.”
So, make sure to speak with your trainer before using their equipment — and if you’re using an EMS device at home, as Nicholas Rodio, Ph.D., an instructor in the physical therapy department at the University of Scranton told Today, make sure to consult a medical professional first (while of course doing an in-depth look into the product, too).