Why can't I buy this Electrical Stimulation Device in Canada?
I get asked this question many times from clients in Canada, why they cannot purchase many of the Electrical Stimulation Products that are readily available in other countries, such as the United States or the UK, so I decided to explain it here in a blog, so that I can refer people to it. First of all we need to get some terms and benefits explained.
What is Electrical Stimulation:
Electrical stimulation or neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is a technique used to elicit a muscle contraction using electrical impulses. Electrodes, controlled by a unit, are placed on the skin over a predetermined area. Electrical current is then sent from the unit to the electrodes and delivered into the muscle causing a contraction.
The Benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation:
There are many benefits to Electrical Muscle Stimulation for Athletes, which include but not limited to:
- Improved circulation
- Quicker recovery – which allows athletes to get back to playing faster
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved mobility
- Reduced instances of muscle spasm
The Benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation for people suffering from Neurological Injuries such as Stroke, ABI, TBI, MS and ALS
Help In Case Of Muscle Atrophy
Help In Reducing Pain
Re-educating/ Retraining Muscles
Taking Care Of Post Surgery Issues
Toning Of the Muscles
Increase or Maintain Range Of Motion
Examples of Electrical Muscle Stimulation Devices:
Utilizing a tilt sensor and accelerometer technology, the WalkAide stimulates the common peroneal nerve to lift the foot at the right time during the gait cycle, prompting a more natural, efficient, and safe walking pattern. WalkAide users have the freedom to walk with or without footwear, up and down the stairs, and all directions. Watch the video below for a better description.
I use the Walkaide. I have now since May 2017. I believe that it is the greatest solution to Foot Drop, or at least my situation. It is the first thing I put on when I get out of the shower in the morning, and the last thing I take off before I go to bed at night. However, there are several drawbacks with the Walkaide.
Cost: I purchased my Walkaide in 2017 for $6500.00 Canadian Dollars, and I believe that it is worth every penny.
Durability: Since it is an Electrical Device, Water is it's enemy, so wearing it is dependent on weather, or where you plan on wearing it. When I travel to the Beach, pools, or when it is raining hard in the summer, I switch to the SaeboStep.
Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of the Walkaide is 5-7 years.
Programing: Only certified Technicians can program the Walkaide, to best conform to your walking style.
Not for Everyone: There is a certain criteria that you must meet to qualify for the Walkaide.
Availability: Not available in Canada.
- The SaeboStim Pro is an advanced neuromuscular electrical stimulation device. This device is designed to improve motor impairment, reduce pain, re-educate and strengthen weakened muscles and offset the effects of disuse after a neurological or orthopedic injury. It can be used to re-educate muscles to perform everyday tasks in both the upper and lower limb.
- The device works by delivering electrical signals through electrodes to the targeted muscles to contract and relax.
- The SaeboStim Pro is a portable, dual-channel stimulation device that incorporates a comprehensive range of programs that makes it ideal for any rehabilitation program.
Again, I have a SaeboStim Pro, and it is Hands down the best Stim device I have ever used, and I personally have four TENS / EMS Devices at my disposal. The only problem with the SaeboStim Pro, is that it isn't available in Canada. I had a friend who was down to the United States on vacation pick one up for me.
If you have a choice, get this one. The SaeboStim Pro operates on AAA Batteries or has an AC power option, to save on batteries, is very user friendly, reasonably priced, and comes in a neat soft cover carrying case. There are numerous videos on YouTube, explaining the operational features and Pad placement, for various muscle groups and conditions.
The SaeboStim Spa provides extremely safe, low-level electrical stimulation designed to improve sensation, reduce spasticity, improve function, and decrease pain in the foot. The device works by submerging the involved foot, along with the associated rubber electrodes, into the water for a 30-minute stimulation session.
The SaeboStim Spa provides circumferential “under water” nerve stimulation that is consistent, comfortable and evenly distributed throughout the affected area. This form of stimulation surrounds the feet with a soothing and uniform level of current that treats the underlying conditions.
In addition to providing low-level sensory electrical stimulation for clients suffering from stroke and other neurological injuries, the SaeboStim Spa’s specialized waveforms provides treatment for additional conditions including peripheral neuropathy and nerve pain disorders.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
The peripheral nervous system connects the nerves running from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body including the arms and hands, legs and feet. Nerve damage in the feet occurs when nerves are injured or destroyed and can’t send messages from the brain to your extremities and vice versa. When damage occurs, numbness, tingling, pain and/or burning sensation may occur.
This breakthrough device can calm the nerves and increase blood flow which allows the nerve cells the potential to recover.
I have the SaeboStim Spa as well, I received it as a gift from a friend, and use it everyday on both my Feet and my Hand. The results for me have been incredible. I have found that a 30 minute session per day, reduces the Spasticity in both my Stroke affected Foot and Hand. I consider this device a must have if you suffer from a neurological injury such as a Stroke, especially, if you have Spasticity. Problem is that once again it is not available in Canada.
Not Available in Canada, what's that all about?
Now get this, the Walkaide was designed, developed, and perfected by the University of Alberta in the 1990's. It is Health Canada Certified, but the technology and copyrights was sold to a company in the United States.
Then, in 2019 Health Canada changed the Fee Structure for companies wanting to export Electrical Stimulation Devices to Canada, and for companies wanting to Distribute these same devices within Canada. The Health Canada Licensing Fees rose to approximately $45,000.00 every two years for companies wanting to export these devices into Canada, and an annual License Fee of $4500.00 for Distributors in Canada, to sell and service these devices to clients in Canada.
The New Health Canada Fee Structure, has made doing business in Canada unremunerative for the suppliers of these devices, with the real victims being those of us who really need these products to enhance our recovery, and/or improve our quality of life. That's the real crime.
So, the next time a politician knocks on your door looking for your support in the next election, throw him that curve ball. We need a change in Canadian policy as it pertains to the old, sick and disabled. Sometimes we just need access to the products.