Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices intended for consumers to use themselves are nothing new anymore. They’ve been even getting a bit stale, often looking similar and relying on pads that are individually connected by wire to the control unit. The iTENS, a product of an Ohio company by the same name, is a rethought and redesigned TENS unit that we took an opportunity to try for ourselves.
Seeing the iTENS for the first time may surprise previous users of similar devices because it’s tiny, has only three buttons on the front, and uses electrode pads that look like wings that clip on to the main puck-like device. You can use it as is, relying on buttons to activate and regulate the power level, but the real interesting options and settings are in the matching app that’s really supposed to be used to control the device.
Pairing the iTENS to both an iPhone and Android device was very easy, simply requiring a three second push of the center button and the typical pairing steps on the smartphone. Once connected, you simply snap the “wings” to the device thanks to built-in magnets and stick the wings to whichever part of the body where you’re feeling pain (btw, this is not for all your aches and pains, not for pregnant women, so read the labeling before use). There are two wing sizes, small and large, that are different only in the surface area that they cover. The larger ones are intended mostly for the back and upper legs, while the smaller ones are better for arms, lower legs, and joints.
Once ready, you simply use the app to select between the regimes that you want the stimulator to go through. You can either select the body part that you want treated and the device will run a predesigned program, or you can create your own program that works best for you. In addition to selecting by body part to address pain, you can also choose from a list of conditions and treatments, such as sciatica and muscle massage, to get more targeted therapy depending on needs and a person’s condition.
You can do all this without registering as a user, but doing so will let you save your favorite settings and track usage over time.
If you have multiple sources of pain, you can even operate up to four of the iTENS devices from the same app to treat all spots at the same time.
Once stimulation is activated, you can control the intensity by simply pressing a plus or minus to achieve a level that feels the best. You can pause the current and continue once ready again. The intensity can also be controlled by pressing on the buttons above and below the center button on top of the main unit.
Having used it daily for over a week, we got a chance to try all the features and options and to find the ones that seem to work best for us.
Some of the things that stood out for us about the iTENS is how small and portable it is, how neat the charging cradle is, and how easy it is to detach the wings and set it to charge.
The different preset programs seem to be well targeted, but you’d have to confirm that for yourself and see what works for you.
We really liked the app and how fast the stimulator reacts, seemingly instantaneously, to it whenever any changes are made like lowering the intensity or pausing treatment.
Did we mention this is an over-the-counter product you can purchase without a doctor’s note?
One issue some might experience is getting the pads to stick to spots where they have to bend quite a bit to make contact with the skin. The smaller wings are intended for smaller areas, so choosing the proper wing size depending on the pain you’d like to address is important.
We also feel that the iTENS should come with a carrying case where the charger, charging cable, and extra wings can be kept together.
Overall we really liked the iTENS and are quite impressed by the design of it in many ways. The hardware and software work great together. It’s small, convenient, and easy to use, and doesn’t suffer from the clunkiness of many other transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators.
Product page: iTENS…