A TENS unit is designed to provide a safe, natural, drug-free method of pain management and pain relief.
It is often used to treat symptoms such as neck and back pain, joint pain, and post-operative pain.
Furthermore, it can relieve pain related to multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, spinal cord injury, sports related injuries, and endometriosis.
Today we’re going to review the iReliev TENS unit, namely the iRenew Plus.
It is a compact, travel-friendly device designed for helping to reduce pain in your arms, legs or back — offering premium pain treatment and recovery throughout the day or night.
You might still be unsure about whether or not it will suit your specific needs. Luckily, I plan to divulge the most important information necessary to help you decide if this device is worth your time and money.
What is the iReliev TENS Unit?
The iReliev TENS Unit is produced by iReliev, a brand that develops electrotherapy devices and wellness products to enhance people’s lives. The products are FDA cleared, natural and drug-free.
This TENS unit is available in black and white and boasts a backlit display so that it can be used in both dark and light environments, plus it has a large LCD screen for easy viewing.
It features 8 modes, which deliver different pulse rates to target varying levels of arthritis pain, chronic pain and acute pain.
This updated ‘plus’ model is the successor to the iRenew, with the most obvious updates being the backlit display and the fact that this model is rechargeable.
The company claims that it’s the newest and the most advanced technology combination to date—delivering 80 mA output strength and offers 2-3 hours of charge.
It is FDA cleared to help alleviate pain associated with arthritis and related chronic symptoms. It is also FDA cleared for muscle recovery, strengthening and conditioning.
It’s good to note that the device doubles an EMS unit for Electronic Muscle Stimulation and is equipped with 6 EMS modes.
What’s included with the iRenew Plus unit?
- Instructional manual and quick start guide
- Tote bag
- Belt clip holster
- USB adapter
- Charging wire
- 2 lead wires
- Electro pads (4 large and 8 small)
How Does a TENS unit work?
Typically, a TENS unit has wired attachments with pads at the end. These are placed on the area of the body that is in pain, and once it is turned on the machine delivers electrical impulses to certain areas.
These electrical impulses flood the body’s nervous system, decreasing its ability to transmit pain signals to your spinal cord and brain.
Additionally, the electrical impulses also stimulate the production of, endorphins—the body’s natural pain relievers. 
This is how iRenew Plus works– allowing you to control the frequency, intensity and duration of the electronic impulses.
Things to consider before buying a TENS unit
If you’ve never bought a TENS unit before, there are a few things you should keep in mind before buying one.
TENS units are not a cure for pain relief, but are often used in conjunction with other treatments to help minimize some chronic and acute pain symptoms.
These devices are best used for arthritis pain, neck and back pain, joint pain and post-operative pain and period pain.
It is not suitable for pregnant women, or persons suffering from epilepsy and heart conditions.
The effectiveness of this pain management option is often dependent on how well made the device is, the level of intensity it can produce as well as the placement of the electrodes.
Other factors to consider are:
Make sure that the product adheres to safety standards by checking the information on the website.
If this is not clearly stated you can also check the FAQ section or even send an email to the manufacturer.
Some units may offer additional features and that can certainly be an extra bonus.
If you can get a TENS unit that also boasts EMS features, you’ll be getting the benefits of two devices in one.
This feature works by stimulating the muscles; treating inflammation and swelling thus taking the strain off the muscles and joints.
Intensity and speed settings
It is integral that your device can deliver at the speed and level of intensity required to address different levels of pain, so these are good features to pay attention to.
Some products come with 1 or 2 speed settings and intensity levels while some will give you a much wider range.
This refers to the amount of electrical pulses that the device delivers to the area per second.
It’s important that your TENS unit offers a range of frequency levels to target different types of pain.
Low frequency (LF) pulses are often used to target chronic pain while high frequency (HF) pulses are more suited to manage acute pain.
Wired vs Wireless
Traditional TENS units have wires with pads at the end, but the wires can get tangled in some case.
Another alternative is a wireless device which, as the name suggests does not have wires attached.
They both have their list of pros and cons, so you’ll have to review both options and decide what is most important for your needs and lifestyle.
Availability of replacement pads
This something that many new buyers do not consider before purchase, but can be a nightmare in the long run.
Make sure that the type of replacements pads used by the TENS unit of your choice can be easily sourced once the ones that come with your unit runs out.
Main Features & Benefits of the iRenew Plus
If you’ve never purchased a TENS unit before, it might be hard to figure out the most important features.
As you shop around, you’ll come across a number of selections, but the manufacturer of the iRenew Plus believes that it ranks higher than the others on the market.
Let’s delve into the main selling points behind this product.
Good warranty and return policy
One of the most important factors a new buyer should note is the company’s return policy; you’ll need assurance that if something goes wrong with your product you will be able to return it without hassle.
If you purchase the iRenew Plus from the official website you have 45 days in which to return it.
Furthermore, there is a 2-year warranty that comes with your purchase, however, if you purchase the item from Amazon or any other website this warranty and return policy may not apply.
Doubles as an EMS unit
One admirable feature of this TENS unit is that it also doubles as an EMS unit, with 6 output modes to choose from.
This aids in activating the muscles to help increase strength and endurance, and to also speed up muscle recovery.
High output strength
The device offers 25 intensity levels with a maximum output strength of 80 mA.
The company claims that this number is equivalent to other portable TENS prescription models.
Your purchase of this TENS unit gives you everything you need, so there is no headache of trying to purchase additional accessories to ensure you get the most out of your device.
Although it is small and can easily fit into your pocket, you also get a belt clip for easy carrying as well as a tote bag for easy and convenient travel.
The charger, electrode pads, lead wire and AC adapter are all included with your device, unlike other companies that may sell these items separately.
Easy access to pad replaceable
The company is committed to their products and have such made it easy for customers to access replacement pads.
By signing up with iReliev’s subscription system you can choose your favourite products and the frequency in which you want them delivered to ensure you never run out.
There are various plans to choose from, and if you opt for a premium electrode pad configuration you can save up to 54%.
There is also free shipping (2-5 days) right to your door via USPS priority, and you can cancel or change your plan whenever you like.
Some devices are hard to operate and offer very little instructions on how to use the device; this can be frustrating for first-time users.
This won’t be an issue in this case as the system comes with a quick-start guide and instruction manual as well as a troubleshooting guide on the company website, a blog and also YouTube video for visual aid.
iReliev TENS Unit Review: Trying it Out for the First Time
In this section, I’ll outline my own personal experience with the iReliev TENS Unit.
In most cases when I buy a product I take it out of the box and try it right away, however with a TENS unit its a little different.
It took me some time before I could test whether the iReliev Tens Unit works or not as I’m not someone who suffers from constant chronic pain and therefore needs a TENS unit all the time.
If I have any form of pain it comes usually in the form of soreness the next day from a workout (DOMS) and I can usually foam roll it or just wait it out.
This meant that this TENS unit was more of an emergency item to be used in a worst-case scenario should I fall into some type of pain.
However, that day did come.
One day I just happened to wake up with a sore neck. The type of neck pain where I had to cup the back of my head in my hands to pull my head up so I could get out of bed.
I wasn’t sure how I got it but it was definitely some kind of neck strain I developed overnight.
Whenever I looked down there was a sharp pain near the base of the back of my neck around the upper trap area.
I attempted to do some housework but anytime I had to look downwards to do something I felt the pain.
I then decided that the day was a write-off in terms of getting things done so I thought it would be better to just recline in a chair and read.
Then remembered I had the iReliev TENS Unit.
At first, I put off trying it out as I couldn’t be bothered to fiddle with all the instructions and setting it up. But I had nothing better to do so I tried it out.
The Contents and Getting Started with the iReliev TENS Unit
When I opened the box there were less parts than I expected and it was much simpler to get started than I thought.
You attach two leads to two electrode pads, then plug the two leads into the top of the iReliev TENS Unit like you would plug in a headphone jack.
Now came the tricky part which is to attach the sticky pads onto the sore area, which in my case was the back of my neck.
This was not an easy feat as the pads were so sticky that they had to placed carefully, similar to putting on a band aid. I managed it eventually.
The next issue was to work out how to use the unit (you are supposed to charge the unit before using it but I cheated and used it straight out the box).
I’ll admit it took a little while to find out how everything worked through trial and error as the buttons of the unit are multi-functional in that each button does more than one thing depending on which setting you are in.
In addition, each one of the leads can have its own massage mode setting and intensity which means you are controlling two channels (two sets of pads) through one unit.
Did the iReliev TENS Unit Work?
In one word ‘Yes.’
I was surprised that immediately after turning it on I felt instant relief.
I could look down and turn my head from side to side with ease.
The higher I put the intensity the more comfortable everything felt. What’s even more of a bonus is that it actually felt pleasant!
I attached the unit onto the belt clip and began to carry on with the tasks I had planned while the iReliev TENS Unit was still running.
I had no issues with using my neck at all and what is even more surprising that when the auto timer switched off the TENs unit, my neck felt back to normal (I assumed TENS only relieved pain while using it).
I didn’t really fiddle around with the massage modes or have to find that special one that worked, they all seemed to work to ease the pain.
They do feel slightly different but it’s more a difference in the rhythm and length of the pulses.
For me the important thing was to be able to control the intensity for each massage mode.
If you’re having doubts on how powerful this little device is don’t be, as it’s very intense and I was a little too anxious to try the maximum intensity.
I found the middle level intensity levels were more than enough, however it does depend on where you are placing the pads. Generally the fleshier the area the more intensity you will need.
What Do Other Users Say about iRenew Plus?
The Amazon ratings on this product are mostly positive with persons noting that it specifically helps with back pain management.
These came from persons who frequently engage in recreational activities as well as a few athletes.
These claims were backed up by users who bought directly from the company website, as many reiterated this sentiment.
Additionally, the over 60 age group expressed that iRenew worked wonders for sciatica, and tendonitis, while lots of arthritis suffers stated that the device brought them pain relief.
However, one downside seems to be the battery which some customers found problematic.
While the product information states that it offers 2-3 hours of battery life, some users complained that their unit died in less than an hour (I did not find this to be true of my unit, in fact, I thought it lasted longer than 2-3 hours).
While this was a common complaint from Amazon buyers, those who bought directly from iReliev didn’t seem to have that issue.
Some commenters also took an issue with the price tag, noting that similar products are sold for half the price of the iRenew.
Should You Buy the iReliev Wired TENS Unit?
I’ve learnt two things by testing this unit.
Firstly that TENS therapy does work, and secondly that the iReliev TENS Unit delivers on its promises.
If you have chronic pain, strains or sore muscles then this does help alleviate the pain.
Furthermore, it is powerful enough to deal with most pains.
In the future if I get the odd muscle strain I am sure that the iReliev TENS Unit will allow me to carry on with my day as normal and not let minor pains ruin my day.
Overall, the iReliev TENS Unit is a solid device. It is easy to use once you get the hang of it, and does exactly what it is supposed to do.
It’s lightweight so you can carry it around without noticing it and I have had no issues with the battery life whatsoever.
There are some issues I have, but it’s regarding the way TENS unit are in general, more specifically the pads.
First of all, the pads are adhesive and will eventually lose their stickiness which means you will need to get new pads at some point.
On this issue, I have only used the iReliev TENS Unit a couple of times and the stickiness remains but I will have to get them replaced at some point.
So for any TENS unit brand that you buy you have to make sure that pads are easily replaceable and available.
For the iReliev TENS Unit, iReliev does have replacement pads readily available and even a replacement pad subscription model.
Secondly, it’s not easy attaching the pads onto yourself especially with the numerous leads and pads all getting tangled up together.
Then with that, you have the wires running all over your body which can be a bit of a nuisance.
Storing the iReliev TENS Unit after using it can also be a bit cumbersome too as you have to untangle everything before using it.
A Better Option: iReliev WIRELESS TENS & EMS Unit
While the stickiness issue is likely always going to be a problem, iReliev have a Wireless TENS unit available also.
The wireless premium TENS + EMS therapeutic wearable system, designed for chronic pain sufferers as well as those experiencing acute pain symptoms such as a muscle strain or sprain.
If you live an active lifestyle, this is a great item to consider because the wireless features make it simple and easy to setup and use.
It is better than the wired version as there are no wires and therefore no tangling, which is my main complaint about wired TENS units.
The wireless pods can be operated in sync with each other or used in isolation and the product offers treatment times of up to 60 minutes per session, set in 5- minute increments.
Each wireless pod offers 3-5 hours of charge and the hand control gives you 5-10 hours of charge. It boasts a backlit display much like the iRenew Plus.
This unit comes with 14 programs, 7 for pain relief, 1 for arthritis and 6 for muscle conditioning. The system comes with dual charging wires, 2 wireless pods,4 large 3″ x 5″ electrode pads, 4 Small 2.75″ x 2.75″ electrode pads, and dual USB adapter.
It is virtually the same as the unit I tested except there are no wires. The TENS unit will connect to the each of the four pads wirelessly.
If you do decide to get a TENS unit by iReliev I highly recommend that you purchase iReliev’s Wireless option assuming you have a little more to spend and you are going to be using your unit frequently.
With this model you will avoid the one big disadvantage of tangling wires.
The iReliev TENS Unit works in helping to alleviate arthritis and chronic pain so it is a good value buy. It’s also simple to use and has 8 intensity modes– giving you a range of options to target different types of pain.
Another advantage of buying the iRenew TENS unit is the EMS option, which is a beneficial feature for athletes or persons who live an active lifestyle, since it promotes muscle recovery.
The price tag might be a hindrance to some persons, but if you are not restricted by a small budget buying this device will be value for your money.
Hopefully the information we shared today helps to cement your decision in whether or not you want to make a purchase.
Keep in mind that TENS units are relatively safe and comfortable to use, but you may notice a tingling or prickling sensation in some case.
If you have a heart condition, or wear a pacemaker or any other metal or electronic implant you’ll need to avoid the use of TENS products unless otherwise advised by a doctor. Furthermore, if you are pregnant, or have a heart condition consult your doctor before use.