PEMF – Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
What if magnets could accelerate healing? If that sounds unrealistic, you don’t know PEMF. Pulsed Electromagnetic field therapy is the use of magnets to create pulsing and the movement of energy. The energy waves created could change the way your body manages pain.
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Pulsed Electromagnetic field therapy or PEMF, is a FDA approved reparative technique commonly used by integrative medical practitioners to treat non-union fractures and to reduce swelling and joint pain. PEMF uses directed pulses through injured tissue to stimulate cellular repair.
For over 60 years, doctors have used pulsed magnetic fields (PMFs) across bone fractures to accelerate the healing process. The idea for PEMF derived from radio frequency (RF) diathermy, which had been used to produce heat in soft tissue. Today, PEMFs are used alone or with other therapies to help cells rebalance faster.
PEMF works to:
- Reduce pain & inflammation
- Improve energy
- Balance the immune system
- Accelerate repair of bone and soft tissue
- Relax Muscles
PEMF treatments also improve circulation, blood and tissue oxygenation, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
Certain health problems require higher field intensities than others. Likewise, some conditions may require a broader range of frequencies while others require just a single frequency. Many patients experience some signs of improvement within the first one to two weeks of treatment. However, results may come more slowly for some, at which point the practitioner would adjust treatment protocol.
As far back as 200 B.C. Greek physician Galen noted the powers of magnetism in his book De Simplicum Medicamentorum Temperamentis Ac Facultatibus. In China magnetic therapy has been practiced since around 2000 B.C. as noted in The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine. At the end of the 19th Century, Albert Einstein showed that electricity and magnetism are not discrete phenomena, but different aspects of the same phenomenon. Medical textbooks began including magnetism and electricity as therapeutic alternatives for insomnia, fatigue, arthritis, pain and convulsion.
Modern clinical application of electro-biology hit North America in 1971 when Friedenberg described success in treating a nonunion fracture with 10 micro amps of direct current delivered via stainless steel electrodes.
Dr. Andrew Bassett at Columbia University medical Center introduced a new approach that employed biphasic low frequency electromagnetic signals. In 1979 the FDA allowed electromagnetic fields to be used in the USA for non-union and delayed union fractures. Ten years later the FDA approved its use for pain and edema in superficial soft tissues.
Today PEMF it is accepted as a treatment for healing fractures, providing pain relief, and addressing muscle tone and spasm.
Science has proven that a body projects its own magnetic fields, and that each of our cells communicate via electromagnetic frequencies. When the electromagnetic activity of the body stops, life stops. A disruption in the electromagnetic energy in cells causes impaired cell metabolism, which can be fixed by PEMFs.
PEMF treatments deliver beneficial, health-enhancing EMFs and frequencies to cells. As these frequencies pass through the body, they stimulate electrical and chemical processes in our tissues. PEMF therapy is designed to support cellar energy, creating better cellular health and function.
Risks & Side Effects
In studies some side effects have been reported including nausea, feelings of light headedness, diarrhea, and heavy menstrual periods. However, it is unclear whether these side effects were caused by the magnetic therapy. Those who are pregnant, have epilepsy, or currently have a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator should avoid PEMF treatment. Consult with your doctor before opting for PEMF treatments.
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Nelson F, et al., The use of a specific pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) in treating early knee osteoarthritis. Trans 56th Annual Orthopedic Research Society Meeting, New Orleans, LA (2010), p. 1034.
Pilla, et al., Electromagnetic fields as first messenger in biological signaling: Application to calmodulin-dependent signaling in tissue repair, Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2011), 2011 Oct 8;1810(12):1236-1245.
Rosch P, et al., Bioelectromagnetic medicine. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2004.
Encyclopedia Britannica Vol. 18 15th Ed. 1991/
WebMD.com: “Magnet Therapy: Side Effects & Safety.”