You have probably seen plenty of advertisements extolling how Electronic Abdominal Stimulators can melt your belly fat fast and quickly. Most of these advertisements will also claim that their electronic abs stimulators can also flatten your tummy to reveal your six pack abs muscle. They even claim that by using electronic abs stimulators for X minutes is better that 300 sit ups or crunches, so you can say bye bye to diets and exercise forever. Too good to be true?
On the other hand, you may also have come across many articles and messages from the health and fitness industry or from your fitness personal trainers who refute the advertisers claiming that the only way to get a flat tummy with well defined six pack abs muscle is through healthy eating and exercise. Now that is hard work isn’t it? So you will rather take a chance with an electronic abs stimulator won’t you?
So who is telling the truth? Ok, instead of joining in the controversy, this article points out what the authorities such as U.S. Food and Drug Administration has got to say. Below is an excerpt from U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Consumer magazine July-August 2002.
“In May, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed complaints against three manufacturers of these devices, alleging that they have made false claims in their advertising, seen in heavily aired infomercials on national cable television, shorter television commercials, and ads in the print media.”
The unfounded claims cited by the FTC include the promise of “six pack” or “washboard” abs without exercise, claims that the devices will give users a trimmer waist or cause fat loss, and that use of the device is equivalent to (or better than) regular abdominal exercises, such as sit-ups or crunches. The FTC complaints also allege that the advertising claimed falsely that the stimulators are safe for all to use, and did not disclose adequately the possible health hazards for some people.
Q. Why does the FDA regulate electrical muscle stimulators?
A. Electrical muscle stimulators are considered medical devices under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Under this law and the agency’s regulations, the FDA is responsible for regulating the sale of all electrical muscle stimulators in the United States. Therefore, firms must comply with appropriate FDA premarket regulatory requirements before they can legally sell their stimulators. Most electrical muscle stimulators (EMS devices) that have been reviewed by the FDA are intended for use in physical therapy and rehabilitation under the direction of a health-care professional. If a company wants to sell EMS devices directly to consumers, the company needs to show the FDA that the device can be used safely and effectively in that setting.
Q. These electrical muscle stimulators are advertised not only to tone, firm, and strengthen abdominal muscles, but also to provide weight loss, girth reduction, and “rock hard” abs. Do they really work?
A. While an EMS device may be able to temporarily strengthen, tone or firm a muscle, no EMS devices have been cleared at this time for weight loss, girth reduction, or for obtaining “rock hard” abs.
Q. Is the FDA concerned about the unregulated marketing of these devices?
A. Yes. The FDA has received reports of shocks, burns, bruising, skin irritation, and pain associated with the use of some of these devices. There have been a few recent reports of interference with implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Some injuries required hospital treatment. The FDA is also concerned because many of these devices have cables and leads. If those cables and leads do not comply with electrical safety standards, there is the possibility that users and other household members could be electrocuted. The FDA is currently investigating firms that are illegally marketing EMS devices.
Q. What does FDA regulation accomplish?
A. Before they may legally sell their devices, firms that market EMS devices must be able to demonstrate that these products are as safe and as effective as similar devices that are legally marketed. Devices may be marketed only for uses that are established for the device or for uses that the firm can support with data. At this time, the FDA is not aware of scientific information to support many of the promotional claims being made for numerous devices being widely promoted on television, infomercials, newspapers, and magazines.
Q. Does that mean that it’s unsafe to use an electrical muscle stimulator that has not met FDA requirements?
A. Using a product that has not met FDA requirements isn’t necessarily unsafe or dangerous. But it could be. Unregulated devices also may have safety problems associated with cables and leads that can lead to accidental shock and electrocution of users and other household members, including children.
Q. If I use an electrical muscle stimulator, will it give me the same kind of effect that lots of sit-ups, stomach crunches and other abdominal exercises will?
A. Using these devices alone will not give you “six-pack” abs. Applying electrical current to muscles may cause them to contract. Stimulating muscles repeatedly with electricity may eventually result in muscles that are strengthened and toned to some extent but will not, based on currently available data, create a major change in your appearance without the addition of weight loss and regular exercise.”
Now, who is telling the truth about electronic muscle stimulator being able to melt tummy fat and reveal your six pack abs? Well, you be the judge and come to your own verdict.