The Elle TENS Machine is one of my favourite surprises in my doula bag because the laboring person is never expecting to love it as much as they do. It’s not the fiercest looking piece of technology but it’s a game-changer for pain management.
TENS is an acronym that stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.
Transcutaneous is a fancy word that means ‘across the skin’; the machine (in super basic terms) sends electrical pulses to the nerves through your skin.
The TENS machine works under the premise of two ideas:
1. The electrical impulses pass through the skin and the nerves receive these electrical signals. The nerves then relay that information to the brain so the body begins to create its own pain-killing chemicals, like endorphins.
2. It utilizes the Gate Theory of Pain Control by gently stimulating your sensory nerves to suppress or block the pain signal to the brain. When these pain signals are blocked, it becomes more difficult for the brain to register the sensation of pain (or it opts for the more pleasant pulsing sensation). Therefore, labour pains become less/dulled/harder for the brain to pick up on.
I do encourage families to invest in their own Elle TENS machine because it’s a tool that offers relief in the weeks before labour and any time afterwards. Often back, hip and leg pain can be eased with the TENS machine, and some even use it on their upper back, shoulders, calves, etc. if that’s part of their discomfort. I do suggest specifically to get the Elle version because it comes with both a “boost” and “burst” mode that is exceptionally magical during contractions or moments of more intense sensation.
I always keep my Elle TENS machine close and let clients try it out before labour begins so they have an idea of what to expect.
Did you use an Elle TENS machine during labour?
And if you want to but haven't yet, let's chat!