It seems like yesterday, but in reality it was the mid-1980s; Casio digital watches were the all the rage and our university was at the forefront of advanced technology because it had a newswire machine in the lab for us journalism students. We had a fax.
And there I was, an injured athlete undergoing electrical stimulation to repair whatever it was that hurt – all sorts of bits did as I averaged a tad over 100 miles a week back then. Anyway, time passes, my weekly mileage has relentlessly declined and those electrical stimulation machines that were all the rage back then has similarly faded into obscurity. But in 2020, like that Casio now being a style statement in the City, so stimulation has returned.
Interesting. I had to give it a go as... well, you’ve guessed that part... I’m currently sporting yet another overuse injury. It’s more related to age than anything dynamically exciting in the world of sporting achievement, but nonetheless it needed sorting. I may not run 100mpw, but there’s always that #Run1000Miles goal.
Using electric stimulation on aching muscles is not a new thing; indeed, it’s been around since Roman times, but for a variety of reasons it’s taken a back seat in recent years. But now, as our understanding of frequencies and response improves so has its use for aiding sporting injuries.
We’re talking fascia release, loosening of tight muscles and even improved circulation. All good news. Former world champ Ricky Lightfoot loves it. “At first I was a bit sceptical but once I used it, I was amazed and have never looked back since,” he says. “Recovery is such an important part of my training, I tend to use my NuroKor devices mostly to aid recovery, but most recently to help relieve pain from Plantar Fasciitis and also neck discomfort.
“It serves as ‘active’ recovery. The devices are easy to use, and I can start using it on the way home from a training session. It works by taking away any toxins which have built up during my training and flushing the muscles with fresh blood. I mainly use it on my legs – glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves – but I’ve also used it on my neck and back to relieve tension. It also helps to relax my muscles and promote fresh blood flow to the areas which need it most.”
My thinking is, if Ricky can benefit, then surely I can. So, I gave it a whirl. What worried me most was that kit like this definitely used to require a degree level background to operate it. I can barely work my electric drill let alone discern where stim pads should be placed on my injured leg to facilitate advanced recovery techniques, or some such medical jargon.
“No problem,” says Rick Rowan, CEO and founder of NuroKor. “We’ve found that everyone has their own preferences on how and when to use it.”
That gets me thinking. Initially I felt it was purely for treatment, but actually the real benefit comes in a warm-up. It’s all about activation of your muscles. It prepares your body for exertion, which is definitely no bad thing. Yes, the kit is great for treating niggly injuries and there are all sorts of modes and levels you can dial into. It even claims to intercept the signals sent from the foot to the brain and blocks the pain signal, therefore preventing you from suffering any discomfort.
It’s certainly interesting to use and I agree with Rick, who says it doesn’t exactly treat the injury, but works instead around the area to ease any problems. For me, it got my brain ticking. I had a rotten Achilles and used the kit to loosen off any tight muscles around that. It helped and kept me moving, although it was also pretty handy to see a physio.
I think that sums it nicely. Have one in your armoury, ready to use regularly, but equally be aware that it won’t cure everything! Certainly not an Achilles which, so it turned out, had moved 1cm to the left of the bone. Ouch.
Paul Larkins was trying the Nurokor Mibody __