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Feeding Therapy

Electrical Stimulation.

Monkey Mouths Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is a therapeutic intervention for dysphagia that helps improve muscle strength needed for swallowing safely. Various research studies have been conducted that demonstrate the effectiveness of NMES in improving the safety of the swallow with minimal negative side effects.

NMES is a specialized, noninvasive treatment that involves placing electrodes on the neck and/or face to improve the strength and sensation needed for safe swallowing. NMES is provided in addition to traditional feeding therapy. This treatment is not painful and is tolerated well by most children, including infants.

Monkey Mouths Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation

Candidate Symptoms

At Monkey Mouths, we have both speech pathologists and occupational therapists who are formally trained in utilizing NMES as a therapeutic modality for feeding and swallowing.

If your child is aspirating or having difficulty with managing their diet, they may be a viable candidate for NMES if they have the following symptoms.

ask your therapist

Consult with your feeding therapist to see if NMES would be an effective treatment option for your child. If not completed already, your therapist will ask you to begin by completing a swallow study to determine the presence of pharyngeal dysphagia (aspiration). This will identify the specific muscles that are negatively impacting the swallow function and will guide the treatment recommendations for NMES.

NMES Systems

At Monkey Mouths, we utilize the following FDA approved NMES systems:

Monkey Mouths Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Vitalcare Technology
Monkey Mouths Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Ampcare
Monkey Mouths Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Guardian Way

Frequently Asked Questions

Although both TENS and NMES use electrical current via electrodes on the skin they are designed for different purposes. A TENS unit is designed to reduce or block pain in the nerves. NMES is used to increase muscle contractions which leads to increased strength. TENS units are not FDA-approved to be placed on the front of the neck.

No, most children, including infants, tolerate NMES well. While NMES is being used the child can easily participate in feeding therapy. NMES is never used on a child who is sleeping, unable to indicate pain or discomfort, or crying and unable to calm down. It is essential that the skin is clean when applying electrodes for the most effective treatment and comfort.

The only side effect reported by the FDA is occasional redness or irritation where the electrodes are placed on the skin. Applying moisturizer to the skin afterwards can alleviate this symptom which should fade quickly after the treatment.

After the electrodes are placed and the unit is turned on your child will feel a slight tingling sensation that will build to a pulling or tugging sensation.

Treatment using NMES is used as a part of a traditional feeding therapy session. Our therapy sessions typically last about 30 minutes and are recommended two to three times a week for 3 months. The electrical stimulation typically remains on the entire session if the child tolerates it well. Discuss with your therapist about specific recommendations for your child as each plan of care is custom designed to fit the needs of your family.