Omron PM3030 Electrotherapy Device Review

Omron PM3030 Electrotherapy Device ReviewThis is the 2nd review for the Omron PM3030 Electrotherapy Device which I felt the need to do because I recently found out from a quick search on Google that this device is allegedly the most referenced and bought device which is considered to be useful for pain treatment. When you type in the term “best pain relief device” or even “pain relief device” what you find is the Amazon Product Page for this TENS Unit. I had previously written a review on the Omron PM3030 but I realized that in the first post I had left out some glaring issues which have only come up right now.

I am personally shocked that such a low functionality device would be considered to be among the best pain relief device on the internet right now. So let’s do a much more complete review and analysis on this unique pain relief device, which google seems to think is the best device for treating pain although there might be some much better models out there for pain treatment.

First, we can take a look at the device just from the picture to the right. It is actually one of the simplest TENS unit models out there. It does not have a LCD Display, which is actually really surprising since almost all the other electrotherapy devices we have looked at, the electronic pulse massagers, the TENS Units,  and the acupuncture massagers all had at least some type of screen. Even some of the models of the acupuncture pens like the Acu-Point Pen had a LCD screen display.

Most of the screens we have seen display 5 different readings. They include…

  1. The type of massager style you manually set the electrotherapy device to.
  2. The massage mode you are going to focus on. – The massager pre-programmed modes are different than the massager style. While the massager style refers to a type of massage, like acupuncture, cupping, scraping, kneading, etc., the massage mode means which area of the body the automatic pre-set mode is supposed to work on. The most common massage modes are shoulders, back, arms, leg, and feet.
  3. The intensity level you set it to – Some models of pulse massagers like the type by HeatlhmateForever (Plus-6IS, Plus-6AB, Pro-8IS,) have a standard of 20 intensity levels for all of their models of mini-pulse massagers.
  4. The amount of time left for the program – Some types of TENS devices have a programs which you are forced to choose within 30 or 60 minute cycles. Others like the PL009 and the PL029 go by 15 minute cycles. So the timer on the screen is to say how much is left of the 15 minute long massage session.
  5. The battery indicator to tell you how much power is left. – The devices often start to beep and have the indicator signal that the pulse massager unit is running out of battery power

HealthmateForever-Pro-8ISThe PM3030 seems to be just so much more simple in design compared to the others, since many of the features that the other types of electronic pulse massagers do have it doesn’t carry. So my question then is “why is this model of pain relief device so commonly reviewed?”

There are just 4 buttons to control the main device. You have the…

  • Power Button – To turn the pain relief device on and off
  • The massage mode button – You only get three choices on. They are focused on working on areas of the body.
  • The other 2 buttons is to increase and decrease the intensity level – There is only 5 intensity levels for you to choose from.

Let’s now compare this simple electrotherapy device to something just a little more simple, but much more expensive. I wanted to use the model Pro-8IS by HealthmateForever as an example to contrast the PM3030 from most other pulse massagers which have a LCD Screen display.

If we look at the screen between the Pro-8IS and the PM3030 which is the picture on the top right, the HealthmateForever Pro-8IS just looks so much more advanced than the PM3030 by Omron.

If fact, if we look at the intensity level indicators at the bottom of the LCD display, we can see that at least for the Pro-8IS model it is a dual channel pulse massager. This means that the intensity levels for the electrodes that will come from the device (there is 4 electrodes for this one) can be independent of each. You have the option of adjusting the intensity levels of each of the two channels that this mini TENS Unit is controlling.

However, we sort of digressed a little. Let’s get back the actual Omron PM3030 Electrotherapy Pain Relief Device.

The product specifications for this model of electrotherapy device are taken from the product page…

  • It is used to relief muscle pain and joint pain
  • It uses the Transcutaneous Electrical Muscle Stimulation theory for pain relief
  • There are 3 pre-programmed massager areas it is set for. They are 1. The arms, 2. The lower back, and 3. The legs and feet
  • There are a total of 5 different electrical pulsing signal levels.
  • There are two electrode pads connected to the main controller – For more information about the type of electrode pad this model of pulse massager is using refer to more information below which goes into much greater detail.
  • It is FDA approved
  • You don’t need a prescription to buy the device.
  • You have a 1 year guarantee on the TENS Unit and the electrode cords, but NOT the pads, since they are supposed to be worn out and you need to buy new ones after maybe over a hundred sessions of use.
  • It is easy and safe to be used at home, so you don’t really need any type of physician opinion or output.

Something that the makers and sellers of this device does not put in is that you actually have only a single channel device. There is only one single signal coming from the device, and the device only attaches to 2 pads at any one time. Most pulse massagers are dual channel devices, and attach to 4 electrodes at the same time. Compared to almost all other models, this device is actually really low on options.

There is also a lot of information about the pads too from the product page, since they seem to be very specific. In the specifications above, we had only stated that the device uses only 2 pads but we did not go into a lot of detail in showing what are the specifications for the pads.

  • TENS Unit PadsThe type of electrode pads that are used are called Life Long Pads.
  • They are self-adhesive so you don’t need to use the hydrogel for better conductivity if you are using this specific brand of electrode pads.
  • You can supposedly use the pads which are self-adhesive upwards of even 150 times before they become worn out and you are required to buy new replacement ones.
  • You can even wash the pads upwards of 10 times (You want to refer to the manual on this issue)
  • The width by height of the pads, the pad dimensions are 2.5 inches by 4 inches.
  • The pads are designed specifically for use only for the Omron PM3030 model. – This is a problem for anyone who wants to switch pads since the ports on the PM3030 only work on the exact brand of pads, which are quite expensive.
  • You get a 30 day guarantee on the pads, but you get a 1 year guarantee on the device and the electrode connectors.

There are two main tips also on how you want to use the pads. They are…

  • Place the pads at least one inch apart on clean and dry skin
  • Do not share your pads

TENS Unit SessionFrom the Omron PM3030 Product Page on Amazon, we also learn much more about the device than we were aware of before. Apparently it also has massage sessions which are set by 15 minute intervals. It seems that the device has been programmed to automatically shut off after each 15 minutes, probably to protect the user of the TENS unit from being electrocuted if they are being careless and forget the device is turned on.

The sellers of the massager recommend that you do just 30 minutes of 2 sessions of massager every day. If you wanted a slight extra bit of use from the Omron Pain Relief Device, the maximum is just 3 sessions a day, or 45 minutes.

What is slightly strange is that while there are only 3 pre-set programs specifically designed for the application on the arms, lower back, and legs & feet, the product page says that there are supposed to be 12 areas on the body the massager can be used on. They include…

  • TENs Unit Pad PlacementLower back
  • Upper Arm
  • Hip
  • Thigh
  • Deltoid
  • Elbow
  • Calf
  • Knee
  • Ankle
  • Feet
  • Sciatic
  • It is interesting that it says there are 12 possible places to put the device, but only 11 areas of the body are specified.
  • It is generally NOT recommended to use the device on the neck – The reason that the sellers speaks of is that if you use the PM3030 on the neck, it can cause muscle spasms that could result in airway closure or even change the heart rhythm.
  • NEVER apply the pads to the head
  • NEVER apply the pads to any areas of the face

I would like to note that the picture above on the right shows you just how you would want to place the pads if you want to work on one of the 12 main places in the body. Like the pad specification says, you want to put the pads around 1 inches away from each other. The skin area should be clean and dry. If the skin is wet from sweat, it might cause a conduction problem, concentrating the electrical signal and give a slight shock to the person using the device.

PM3030When you buy the device, you get more than just the device. You get also the 2 pads that are supposed to be connected to the pulse massager,  the connectors, the 2 AAA batteries needed to power the pain relief device, the “quick start guide” on how to at least first turn it on and how to attach it properly on your skin so that the pads don’t fall off, as well as a full Instructions Manual. You even get parts for the pads too. You get the Pad Holder, which is just a plastic container  and a small piece of paper showing you how to place the pads correctly called the Pad Placement Guide. To see what the entire program would look like see the picture to the right.

Some things to remember: 

If you are using any type of internal electronic medical devices, like a pacemaker, then you definitely do not want to try this device, especially anywhere next to the chest. The function of a pacemaker, aka artificial cardiac pacemaker is to regulate the beating of the heart through electrical impulses created and delivered as the heart is beating. Even though the product page says that you don’t need a prescription to get this electronic medical device (I am referring to the Pulse massager or TENS unit, not the pacemaker), most people who use the device highly recommend that you talk with your personal physician about using the device.

So what do people who bought the Omron PM3030 Electrotherapy Pain Relief Device actually think of it?

The overall majority of people who have bought the device have said that the device works reasonably well. Over 80% of the reviews written about the model says that it worked really well in relieving lower back pain, knee pain, some joint pain, and muscle soreness.

However I think it is more important to be aware of before you ever buy anything. You want to know what types of problems and issues you might have to deal with before you buy this model of TENS unit.

Although there are just 5 intensity levels, just the 4th intensity level is strong enough for most people who use it. If you have never used a TENS unit or any type of medical device which uses electrical signals for healing purposes, the first few times most people will never turn the intensity level to be very high. The highest intensity level can be too strong for most people especially when they are just starting to use the device. Over time you will develop a higher tolerance for the  higher intensities.

The number of people who have hated this model have some common complaints about it. The fact that this device is made in China might suggest to some Americans that the device is of low quality. When you get the device, it is quite surprising just how small it is. Even for people with small hands, the device is very small and light weighing around just 6 ozs. When most people get the device, the size and weight of the device, coupled by the plastic covering makes it look cheap and of low quality. The plastic is very weak and if you drop the device, it will break apart.

The way that the connectors connect to the device is by the use of the alligator clip. The alligator clip partially covers the off and on button so it is a slight hassle to turn on and off the device.

This makes the device really fragile. If you move the device, the connection might be lost slightly. The way you tell which intensity level you are in is through watching the number of times the indicator lights blink. This makes it a hassle compared to most other TENS Units which show which intensity level you are in by the LCD screen through some type of intensity bar graph.

Another complaint is that the Long Life Pads don’t last the 150 sessions that is claimed on the front of the box. That is true. Many people said that after maybe a dozen times, the self adhesive pads stop sticking to the skin very well. The pads don’t stick and peel off. You have to be constantly buying new replacement pads.

Because there is only 5 intensity levels, some people complain that they can’t get the electrical signal to be the exact intensity where it would be beneficial. Either you go down one intensity level and feel almost no stimulation or you go up to the next level and feel like your muscles are spasming. It is hard to set the adjustment of the power level just right. Note that because there is no LCD display to easily tell you which intensity level you are in, you have to watch the blinking indicator light to see how many times it blinks to figure out which intensity level you are on. This gets a lot of people confused and they choose an intensity level which is too high and get shocked.

Probably the biggest issue is that the device for some people is just not effective in removing their pain. Many people become first away of electronic pulse massagers or TENS Unit after being in a physical therapist session and seeing their physical therapist pull out one of these electrotherapy devices and working the device on them. They get curious and buy the device to try it at home. A few people complain that the signal this model gives out is nothing compared to the TENS Unit from physical therapy. The electrical stimulation is too weak. Users of the device say that they felt nothing at all. it doesn’t seem to be able to handle chronic pain.

What about the price of the device?

While the PM3030 has definitely been getting a lot of reviews (currently around 270 so far) and has an overall rating of 8/10 stars from its Amazon Page, I would say that it is not as good as its counter parts. In another one of the posts I had previous written where I had compared the PM3030 to the XFT-502 and the XFT-320a entitled XFT-320a vs PM3030 vs XFT-502 which showed in the end that the XFT-320A Electrotherapy Device was the best device for your money, although the XFT-502 was clearly cheaper by around $7-$10.

If you type in the term “PM3030” into Amazon, you get at least half a dozen product pages all selling the same device. Some of them will be more expensive and others will be cheaper. The current price for the device is at $37 w/ Free Shipping as of Sept 10, 2013. The price actually fluctuates a lot and I’ve seen the price of the PM3030 be as low as around $35. This means that if you can wait around, you can save around $10 off and still get the device with free shipping costs.

So would I recommend the PM3030 Electrotherapy Device for Pain Relief?

It would not be my first choice but I would recommend it. It is very simple in design and you don’t have many features to work with. There are just 2 main ways for you to adjust the pulsing electrical signal. You can set the intensity to be any of the 5 modes, and you can set the massage program to be one of 3 types. My first choice would be either the PL-009 by Prospera (which I wrote a review about Here) or the XFT-320A Electrotherapy Device (which I wrote a review about Here). Both of these models of pulse massagers have  a dual channel system so you can set the device to work on more than just one area of the body at the same time. You get to have 4 electrode pads on at the same time instead of just 2. You can set the intensity level of each of the channels to be different from each other. Plus, the price for either of the PL-009 and the XFT-320A are actually about the same as the PM3030. All of these pulse massagers are around the $30-$40 range, which is cheap when you compare them to say the Echo Massager models which cost around $200-$250.

However, the PM3030 does work well for pain relief. It is one of the better models out there. It has a loyal following of people who swear that it has been one of the better models of pain relief devices they’ve tried. So if you want to buy it click on the link below.

Buy the Omron PM3030 here from Amazon or Check out the PL-009 model here

(or read other people’s reviews on the PM3030 here)

To see a real model of the Omron Electrotherapy Device and what features it has watch the video below