Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is the application of small electrical stimulation pulses through surface electrodes in order to elicit muscle contractions in an orchestrated manner. If performed correctly these muscle contractions result in functional movements which can be used for therapeutic interventions and to supplement lost functions.
In the context of neuroplasticity, FES can be used to train lost movement patterns, thereby actively supporting the brain in the process of relearning these functions. An active participation of the patient is key for a successful rehabilitation. One example of how this can be achieved is by the use of a small switch, worn on the finger. By simply pressing this switch stimulation timing and duration can be controlled by the therapist or patient. Another example of FES is the correction of drop foot, achieved with a foot switch.
Simple programs for FES, involving the use of switches, can be performed with the MICROSTIM and the PARESESTIM. More advanced techniques for FES like bilateral or task-oriented training can be performed with the MOTIONSTIM 8 and innovative switches.