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Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)

Get paralysed legs moving again!

Functional Electric Stimulation (FES) is an innovation in the field of muscle stimulation that gets completely paralysed muscles moving again. When combined with the BerkelBike (or EasyLegs), this technology enables users with spinal cord injury to cycle by means of their own remaining leg strength.

How does it work?

Electrodes integrated into a pair of cycling pants or applied to the skin of the user send electric impulses to the different muscle groups of legs and buttocks. A sensor at the front wheel of the bike transmits the current pedal position to the FES computer. The computer then coordinates which muscles have to be stimulated at what time to generate a cycling motion.

In general, most people with spinal cord injury who have a spastic paralysis can use the BerkelBike FES-Box. If you are paralysed but don’t have any spasms, the RISE Stimulator may be the right choice for you. There are cases, where also people with multiple sclerosis can benefit from the functional electrical stimulation.

The BerkelBike FES-Box can also be used as a stand-alone stimulator, for instance, to stimulate abdominal or back muscles while lying in your bed.

Strengths of the FES-Box

Improved Legs
Full Body Effects
Mental Improvements
Multi Use
Wearable Electrodes
Wollen Sie wissen, ob die Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) die richtige Wahl für Sie ist?

New possibilities

FES cycling was proven effective in university laboratories during the 1980s. Since then, paraplegics and tetraplegics could come to research centres and hospitals to cycle on stationary exercise bikes. Meanwhile, a lot of scientific studies were conducted, which demonstrated the benefits of cycling with FES for people with spastic paralysis.

However, until recently nobody succeeded in making FES technology suitable for the independent use at home. The BerkelBike FES-Box in combination with the BerkelBike or EasyLegs offers you the possibility to use functional electrical stimulation outside on the road. Or when also combined with the docking station you can choose whether you want to train outside or in your home. If you want to have a pure stationary trainer, there is the BerkelBike Fitness, which can also be equipped with the FES-Box.


The effects

Exercising with functional electrical stimulation has all sorts of positive effects on the physical and mental wellbeing. As the muscles become reactivated, blood circulation will increase, resulting in improved metabolism and decreased risk of decubitus. Furthermore, many users report that fewer muscle spasms occur due to training with FES.

Exercise, in general, has great benefits for your overall wellbeing. As your fitness improves, the immune system will be strengthened. Further, there is a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, which is especially important for someone who is restricted in his/her day-to-day mobility. Last but not least, users of the FES system tell us regularly how much they enjoy cycling with the power of their own legs and how the activity makes them feel a lot better.

If you want to dig into the scientific literature to learn more about functional electrical stimulation, check out our database.


Who can benefit from the FES-Box?

The BerkelBike FES system is suited for people with spinal cord injury. There are two main criteria that may determine to which extent FES is suitable for your medical condition.

First, the occurrence of spasms; spasms indicate that the motor-nerves of the muscles are still able to work. This is a requirement for the use of the FES-Box because it is based on the stimulation of such motor-nerves to cause a contraction of the muscle. However, if you suffer from a flaccid, non-spastic, paralysis, you may profit from the RISE Stimulator, a relatively new device that was specially developed for the stimulation of enervated muscle tissue.

The second requirement for the use of our FES system is decreased pain perception in the legs. Simply put, FES is based on electrical impulses that can be painful when there is still full pain perception in the area that is stimulated.

Both points above are no definite exclusion criteria. To find out whether FES is a possibility for you personally, you can contact us and fill in the ‘Ask the Expert’ form. And you can also download our FES brochure (pdf) for more information.