The Femme Elite concept:
If you used TENS during labour then you'll already be familiar with wired electrodes that attach to your body with self-adhesive pads. These pads deliver electrical impulses through your skin to diminish the sensation of pain. Designed to provide relief from post-natal discomforts, the Femme Elite works on the same principle, but takes things a step further by tripling up as a pelvic floor stimulator and muscle toner as well as pain reliever. So whether you're suffering from post-natal incontinence, backache or simply need to build back those abs and upper arms then this dinky device offers something for you.
The small unit can be used on the move with complete discretion. Do be aware that the Femme Elite is for post-natal usage, and is not suitable for use during pregnancy nor labour.
Femme Elite in action:
Ease of use
Once you've got the hang of handling the self-adhesive electrodes without them getting stuck to everything, the Femme Elite is very simple to use. This is largely because once the unit is positioned and switched on you can just forget about it completely and get on with whatever you were doing. If you're using the TENS or EMS (for muscle toning) modes, then you just position the pads as shown in the instruction leaflet, select the programme and intensity you want and off you go. Using the vaginal probe is a little more involved, for obvious reasons, but still fairly straightforward.
It's easy to change the programme and intensity of the electrical pulses so that you can find a level that's comfortable for you - the pulsing sensation is a little odd at first, but you quickly get used to it - and then the unit can just slip in your pocket or be worn on your waistband with the wires tucked away.
One thing we did notice that the Femme Elite lacked though, was a hold or lock function to prevent accidental changes to the settings. This happens quite easily and as the Femme Elite is so easy to forget about once on, you may not even notice that the pulse has become much weaker or has switched off.
But does the Femme Elite work?
The fastest results you'll see from the Femme Elite are probably for pain relief. Backache is a very common complaint for new mums, not only because your body needs time to recover, but also as you'll probably be carrying your baby around a lot, and that takes its toll on your back. Carrying our six-month-old around certainly leaves us feeling, and walking, like a little old lady but we found that the Femme Elite really does make a difference - and quickly. When on the TENS programme the unit gives a constant vibration, a little like being in a massage chair, and the best thing of course, is that you can just get on with your morning jobs or playing with your baby as the TENS gets to work. Fantastic.
Using the muscle toning programmes requires more sustained usage to see results, though you may feel a difference in your pelvic floor quite quickly. The pelvic floor programme ensures that the right 'down there' muscles are strengthened - not everyone gets it right with DIY pelvic floor exercises (PFEs). If you're suffering the misery of post-natal incontinence but never seem to be able to remember to do your PFEs then this little box could be a huge help.
With your upper arms, thighs and abs it may take a while to see results, but you can certainly feel your muscles contracting as the unit pulses and later feel that they have been working. We wouldn't recommend it as a substitute for getting plenty of exercise, but it's certainly a luxury to be able to do some good as you unload the washer or read your baby a story. Purely in the interests of this review we had to ascertain, of course, whether the Femme Elite would work your abs as you share coffee and news with other mums, and we're happy to say that it does.
Given what the Femme Elite offers, we think it's reasonably priced at £59.95 and we'd consider paying that for the regular backache relief alone. You'll need fresh self-adhesive pads for the electrodes when you get through the six that are provided with the unit. How long you can use the electrodes for will depend partly upon how well you take care of them - you can get new ones from the Body Clock website for a few pounds per set.