Lebby EyresImage source, Lebby Eyres
Image caption, Lebby Eyres says whole-body electrical muscle stimulation suits, such as the one she is wearing here, work for her

It felt strange for the first time that long-distance rower Lebby Eyres tried exercising in the gym while wearing anEMS suit.

The 51-year-old says that he got into the suit and trainers sprayed him with water and strapped him to his body. I wondered if I would be able to exercise in these.

The machine gave me the most strange sensations.

When she woke up the next day in London, she said her muscles were sore from only 20 minutes of exercise.

People with a number of health conditions, such as patients recovering from a stroke or people with multiplesclerosis, can benefit from the use of EMTs.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, EMS systems have long been used for pain relief or to boost mobility

A piece of equipment called a tens machine is used by mothers during labor to try to alleviate the pain by using low currents of electricity. The woman fixes sticky pads to her lower back and then uses a controller to adjust the electrical charge that the pads emit.

While those health usages focus on one area of the body, whole-body EMS suits are now a fast-growing trend in the fitness and gym world

The idea is that the stimulation of your muscles will make them stronger. If you're not wearing a body suit, you can do a 20-minute workout that's equivalent to 90 minutes.

The number of gyms that offer EMT has been increasing quickly. Iron Bodyfit opened more than 100 studios in France over the past five years and is continuing to expand.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, A growing number of gyms are allowing members to try EMS suits

It launched its first UK venue in London a year ago. Feel Electric and Surge are two chains that focus on emergency medical services.

Does it work in the fitness field? Does it improve the efficiency of your workout and make you stronger? Is it ever safe?

Phil Horton is the UK director for Miha Bodytec, one of the largest manufacturers of body suits. The brain would tell the muscle to move in a different way, but we can use a more efficient method.

Image source, Phil Horton
Image caption, Phil Horton says EMS suits turbo-charge gym workouts

The small electrical charge is easier to reach deep in the muscle. The water is sprayed on the suit.

Studies into whether it works are very mixed, and even those that are positive use a lot of words such as "might", "could", or "may".

The use of EMS has been acknowledged to help lead to significant improvements in strength, according to one report. It added that the changes are still ambiguous and need more study.

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It cautions against the use of unregulated devices, as they can cause injuries.

A sports science expert at a Swiss clinic has been critical of whole-body EMTs.

He says that whole-body electrical stimulation is difficult to dose properly and that under-dosage means no effect.

There aren't strong arguments in favor of whole-body electrical stimulation being used.

Robert Herbst is a veteran US weightlifter. The 64-year-old doesn't think it works.

Image source, Robert Herbst
Image caption, Veteran US weightlifter Robert Herbst has no truck with EMS

Mr Herbst, who has won several world and American championships, says that the stress put on your muscles by EMTs is not enough to create micro-trauma.

Tom Holland believes that full-body EMS can encourage people to do more exercise. He says that traditional exercises are more fun when done through the Emergency Medical Services.

He says it's not cheap, with prices in the US as high as $125 and in the UK as high as $1300-135 per 20-minute session.

Image source, Atlantic Campaigns
Image caption, Lebby Eyres, far right, and three friends rowed across the Atlantic last year

Ms Eyres used whole-body EMTs to help her train for the Atlantic challenge. She rowed in a boat with her friends.

She says that thanks in part to the use of EMS her body is better now than it was when she was younger.

I was praised for my strong and toned figure.

  • Gyms
  • Fitness
  • Wearable technology