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WB-EMS with nutritional intervention improve body composition in cancer patients

EMS with nutritional intervention improve body composition in cancer patients


The novel method of training the whole body electrostimulation (WB-EMS) provides a time-saving option. The effectiveness of WB-EMS in increasing muscle strength and mass in athletes.
(Filipovic A, et. Al., 2012), was also demonstrated in the elderly, sedentary people and patients with chronic heart failure. (Filipovic A, et. Al., 2012), but studies with cancer patients are lacking.


35 patients with advanced solid tumors undergoing anticancer therapy were assigned to a control group receiving individualized nutritional support and in the intervention group were 96 patients who performed a physical exercise program with WB-EMS. The sessions were 20 minutes with 85 Hz frequency twice a week for 12 weeks.

The primary result of skeletal muscle mass and the secondary results of body composition, body weight and hand grip strength were measured at the beginning of weeks 4, 8 and 12 by bioelectrical impedance analysis and hand dynamometer. The effects of WB-EMS were estimated using mixed linear models. Secondary outcomes of physical function, hematological parameters and blood chemistry, quality of life and fatigue were assessed at the start of the study and at week 12.

Exercise program


24 patients from the control group and 58 from the WB-EMS group completed the 12-week trial. Patients in the WB-EMS group had significantly greater skeletal muscle mass. They also significantly improved physical function and performance status. However, no significant differences were detected in changes in quality of life, fatigue and blood parameters between the groups after 12 weeks.


Physical exercise with WB-EMS is safe and can be an effective exercise technique for patients with advanced-stage cancer who are being treated. Our therapeutic intervention combined with WB-EMS and nutritional support demonstrates promising effects on muscle maintenance and functioning, and it will be of great interest to continue examining this impact of WB-EMS in future large-scale randomized controlled trials with an additional focus on disease progression and survival.


Schin K., Herrmann HJ., Schwappacher R., Meyer J., Orlemann T., Waldmann E., Wullich B., Kahlmeyer A., Fietkau R., Lubgan D., Beckman MW., Hack C., Kemmler W., Siebler J., Neurath MF., y Zopf Y. (2018) Effects of whole-body electromyostimulation combined with individualized nutritional support on body composition in patients with advanced cancer: a controlled pilot trial. BMC cancer, 18 (886).

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