A few weeks ago, an email popped into my inbox that had me intrigued. I was asked if I would like to review a device called the Body Clock iTENS. The Body Clock iTENS is a portable TENS machine that offers drug-free pain relief and works with Bluetooth technology. The bit that really caught my eye was the word portable (if it has caught yours too, be sure to stick around to the end of the post for a 20% discount code!).
The problem with traditional TENS machines
You see, I’ve never been a big fan of traditional TENS machines; clunky, restrictive and a faff to get all the electrodes on the right places. But, I do find that I get pain relief from them. They are worn on the site of pain and work by sending electrical signals through the skin to intercept and prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. Additionally, they also encourage the release of endorphins; our body’s natural pain fighting chemical.
The result is reduced pain. A portable TENS machine, therefore, sounded good to me and I wanted to know more.
Enter the Body Clock iTENS: a portable, wireless TENS machine
The Body Clock iTENS is a wireless TENS device that works with Bluetooth technology. You place it onto the site of pain and, although it can be controlled via the device itself, it is designed to mainly be used via an app on an iPhone or Android device. Very high-tech stuff but in reality it is simple to use.
You know when things come along at just the right time and you think, “this was definitely meant for me?” (If not, humour me a little here). Well, the offer to try the Body Clock iTENS couldn’t have come at a better time and I knew I had to try it out for myself.
Why I decided to try the Body Clock iTENS
I took on a project last month that resulted in me completely knackering my lower back; I decided to upcycle my bedside cabinets. The idea popped into my head and I ran with it. I figured that I would manage to paint them; it couldn’t be that hard, right? Wrong.
I pushed myself well out with my limitations and my back suffered as a result. I’ve had lower back problems ever since I pulled it when I was a teenager and it flares every now and again. My Quell has done a decent job at stopping a full-blown pain attack. But, after my dabble with upcycling, I literally could not stand up straight… for days. I knew I needed something localised to help my back pain.
Did the Body Clock iTENS work for me?
As soon as my iTENS arrived it was attached to my back. And it’s actually has been incredibly helpful for it. After the first use (and when I say first use, I did run a few cycles during that first time) I was able to bend my back without wincing in agony. I have been using the Body Clock iTENS every morning before I get out of bed and after any activity that triggers my back problems (anything that requires bending, such as loading the dishwasher).
I have definitely been in less pain and I’ve also been much less stiff too. And it’s not just my back that I’ve been using the iTENS on; my shoulder, neck, abdomen have all benefitted. I’d say it’s been helpful for all of those areas (plus my husband found it helpful too) but I personally found it least effective for period pain.
It did take me from a curled up ball in bed to being able to get up and about. But I did find it was a kind of pain for gain situation. It was a bit painful to use on that area but I did feel the benefit afterwards. I was still in pain but I became functional, which is a win for me.
My preference is definitely to use the iTENS on my back, neck and shoulder. These have always been my worst pain areas and I’ve enjoyed using the device on those areas.
Side note: I do think that if you are very sensitive or suffer from painful allodynia this device may not be for you. The first few settings are very gentle (which I’ll talk about in a little bit) but if your clothes or a light touch hurt you, this device is probably going to cause you pain as you use it.
How to use the Body Clock iTENS
The Body Clock iTENS is a nifty little device. So, now I’ve told you how I have found it, I’ll delve into the ins and outs of using it, including the settings I prefer to use.
See that tiny little thing sitting in the charger in the photo above? That’s the actual device. So incredibly different to a traditional TENS unit, isn’t it? It charges using a USB cable and it takes 2.5hrs to fully charge. It then lasts for 24 hours of use.
The iTENS attaches to “wings” and it’s those wings that you stick the electrodes to. There are large and small wings, as well as a long strip attachment that can be used with the device. The iTENS came packaged with the large wings (plus a set of electrodes) but it’s good to know that other attachments can be purchased to make adaptations if needed. The Body Clock iTENS has definitely been developed with individual needs and different types of pain in mind.
The electrodes peel off and stick to the wings. It states that you can get 10-15 uses out of them. I have been dabbing a little bit of water onto the electrodes to keep them hydrated after every use and they’ve actually retained their stickiness a bit longer than that for me. The iTENS also comes with a little plastic wallet to keep the electrodes in between uses, which helps them to last.
When it is time to replace the electrodes, thankfully, the replacements are relatively inexpensive.
The Body Clock iTENS app
The app is pretty straightforward to use and you can find a ‘Quick Start’ guide and full instructions to help you get started within the app itself. Essentially, you turn Bluetooth on, open the app and pair your iTENS device by clicking on the little paper clip symbol.
So long as you use the app to turn the device off, the Body Clock iTENS remains paired to your phone. (If you switch the iTENS off using the button on the device it will need to be paired again before the next use. However, it only takes a few seconds to do so it’s no big deal if you do this).
The different programs that you can choose from
There various different programs that you can then select. You can choose these either by body part or by condition. There are programs for Fibromyalgia, neuropathy pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, plus a bunch more. My favourite programs are the one for sciatica (which I’ll happily use on my shoulder as well as back) and muscle massage (which literally feels like someone is massaging me if I have it turned up strongly).
Talking about strength, there are 20 different intensity levels. I actually can’t feel the first couple so I’d say they are super gentle. I find that now I am confident using the device, I start off around level 7-9 (this is quite strong though so be warned– when my husband used it this was his maximum) and gradually increase it if I feel I need to. The maximum I have used is 16 for my back pain.
The programs run for various lengths of time, with some being up to an hour. The good thing is, you can pop the device on and get on with things if you want to. Personally, I prefer to use the device when I’m resting. It’s actually a strategy I’ve been using; I lie down, completely switch off, rest and use the iTENS like a timer. It benefits both my pain and fatigue that way.
Using the app to track pain
The other benefit of using the app is that you can use it to track your pain. If this feature is on, you are asked to rate your pain before and after each session. This is a good way to visually see how the Body Clock iTENS is helping (which I find also helps me mentally) and it also helps to show which programs help the most.
If you would like to see how the Body Clock iTENS looks and how to use it yourself, check out the below video:
I would recommend the Body Clock iTENS
I’ve really been enjoying the Body Clock iTENS and I think it has promising benefits for both acute and chronic pain. It is pricier than your bog-standard TENS device but I think it’s worth it. It’s easier to use, it’s discreet and you can basically slap it on and forget about it. Plus all the different programs available make it a versatile and helpful device.
Where to buy + a 20% discount
If you would like to try the Body Clock iTENS for yourself, it can be purchased from Amazon or directly from BodyClock.co.uk (who ship worldwide). If you are in the UK and have a chronic health condition, you can purchase the device with VAT exemption from the Body Clock website.
Body Clock is very kindly giving you a 20% discount code to use at checkout on their website. To get 20% off their iTENS, use the code: FSTARSITENS. This code is only redeemable at bodyclock.co.uk.
Let me know your thoughts on the Body Clock iTENS in the comments down below. And if you do try it, I’d love to hear how you find it.
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