Mechanical vs. E-Stim Devices

By Ella Sofia 4th Oct, 21

How Does The Motus Hand Differ From Electrical Stimulation Devices In Helping You Recover From Stroke?

You’re looking for an at-home rehabilitation device for your stroke recovery, so you do a little google searching. You come across the Motus Nova Home Mentor System and you are trying to figure out how is it different from an electrical stimulation (e-stim) device. So, the big question that runs through your mind is…do both devices work the same way?

The simple answer is no, but we need to dig a little deeper into what makes both devices functionally different.

Let’s First Jump Into The Basics Of An E-Stim Device.

To utilize an e-stim device, the user must place surface electrodes near the affected muscle or nerve, and the electric current that passes through the affected area will generate a motor or sensational response, respectively. Let’s break down a few different types of e-stim devices.

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) devices, also known as electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) devices, send electrical currents to muscles to stimulate contractions and reduce atrophy of the muscles. The electrical currents sent to muscles increase blood flow as well as improve muscle mass and strength.

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) devices transmit mild electric currents near targeted muscles to reactivate movement in the affected limb. This device is typically used when you are working on improving your ability to perform certain functional tasks such as walking between parallel bars or grasping a ball.

So Then How Do Mechanical Devices Like The Motus Hand Work?

Therapy with mechanical devices like the Motus Hand do not send electrical pulses through your body. Instead, these devices help you to exercise the paralytic limb through task-oriented and repetitive practice. When you physically use your affected limb more, you are encouraging the changes in the wiring of the neurons in your brain, and retraining your muscles to get your limb moving again.

But That Still Leaves The Question: What Is Special About The Motus Hand In Comparison To Other Mechanical Devices?

The Motus Home Mentor System is first and foremost a robot- assisted therapy device. The benefit of robots for rehab is that they can help with repetitive task practice (RTP) and high-intensity therapy as well as encourage you to exercise your affected limb safely and correctly. Additionally, it also provides active assistance meaning the device provides gentle assistance to help you complete your exercises, similar to how a therapist would assist and encourage you during your therapy sessions. The combination of these features is what makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd!

What About Long-Term Effects After You Stop Using The Device?

There have been limited studies demonstrating the effectiveness of e-stim devices in improving upper and lower-extremity mobility after a user has completely stopped incorporating the device in their therapy. It is yet to be established if these devices can provide long-lasting, functional changes in persons with profound motor limitations.

With enough dosage of therapy using a mechanical device such as the Motus Hand, it is possible to increase the active range of motion of your wrist and fingers along with decreasing spasticity in your hand. In other words, your brain can be re-wired and your muscles can be strengthened and trained to a point where you can continue to engage in activities of daily living even if you stop using the device.

Ella Sofia is a freelance writer, habit coach, and content creator at

Follow Ella Sofia for more