FES Cycling

 Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) passes a small electrical current to a nerve through adhesive pads placed on the skin. The stimulated nerve, in turn, animates the muscles that it furnishes. When this is linked with a power-assisted immobile bike, coordinated muscle constrictions can be achieved that is competent of producing strong pedal strokes sufficient to perform a cycling action.

Clinical study has shown the following gains:

  • Raised muscle strength and bulk, which can help with the prevention of pressure sores
  • Support of muscle length and joint mobility
  • Relaxation of muscle spasms
  • Increased local blood circulation
  • Improved bladder and bowel function
  • Improved mood and well-being

The advantages are not limited to leg muscles. FES cycling can also animate the back muscles, stomach muscles, and arm muscles. By stimulating the back and stomach muscles, you can improve your posture and potentially your capacity to cough more effectively. To acquire and maintain these benefits you must commit to FES cycling as a leisure activity in its own right.

FES Cycling would be beneficial if you have:

  • Spinal Cord Injury: complete or incomplete above T12
  • Brain Injury
  • Stroke
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's
  • Cerebral Palsy

You will also need a sufficient range of movement in your upper or lower limbs to accommodate the cycling motion. Your skin must be intact without open wounds or pressure sores, in the areas where the electrode pads will be placed.

Following an initial assessment and setting of the amount of stimulation required, you can build up your exercise tolerance gradually, with up to 45-60 minutes daily. You should aim to cycle for a minimum of three times per week and up to 5-6 times per week, to achieve optimum results.

Check out this great FES video