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How can an electrode suit treat nerve disorders?


The Elektrodress
The Facebook page for Inerventions, the company started by Frederik Lundqvist to develop and produce the Elektrodress, shares news and press coverage of the innovative therapeutic technology.
The Facebook page for Inerventions, the company started by Frederik Lundqvist to develop and produce the Elektrodress, shares news and press coverage of the innovative therapeutic technology.
Screencap by HowStuffWorks staff

The Elektrodress is wearable therapy. It combines electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) with vibration therapy (used to contract and strengthen muscles) to increase muscle strength, improve balance and coordination, and improve muscle movement and range of motion.

The Elektrodress began to materialize after Swedish chiropractor Fredrik Lundqvist pitched the concept on the Swedish reality TV show "Dragon's Den" and was awarded a grant of $300,000 USD (roughly 2,000,000 SEK) by the Knowledge Foundation [source: FashionTech].

The invention of the Elektrodress is not the first time doctors have tried accessible vibration therapy. During the 19th century, neurologist J.M. Charcot built a vibrating chair to treat patients with Parkinson's disease after he observed their symptoms eased after they spent time traveling (think about how turbulent those carriage rides must have been). His colleague, Gilles de la Tourette, took things a step further with the development of a vibrating helmet to be used as similar therapy [source: Goetz].

The Elektrodress is a full body unitard. In terms of style, think Star Trek, though, rather than your local gym. The bodysuit has strategically-placed electrodes throughout its fabric, used to stimulate muscles with EMS and vibration therapies. More than the electrode placement is customized, too: Each suit is customized for the individual wearer based on age and rehabilitation needs, meaning it can be adjusted for patients seeking to reduce chronic pain as well as patients who need help with muscle movement. The Elektrodress is designed to be used by patients in their own homes under guidance of a professional therapist. Patients are instructed to wear the suit for 60 to 90 minutes three to four times per week [source: Inerventions AB]. This takes the place of multiple visits that would normally need to be made to a therapist or doctor's office during the week.

The use of an electrode suit to treat nerve disorders is still in its infancy, but Inerventions, the company behind the suit, is positive about its early results. The suit improves patients' mobility, including walking with varying results, but has a pervasive positive impact on their physical, social and emotional outlook.


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