Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses electromagnetic fields to promote healing and relieve pain in the body. PEMF has been used for decades and is gaining popularity as a natural and safe alternative to typical pain management approaches.
PEMF therapy stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms by producing electromagnetic fields at precise frequencies and intensities. These electromagnetic waves can permeate the skin and tissues, interacting with the body’s cells and organs. These waves can increase cellular function and promote healing, resulting in less pain and better overall health.
On the podcast this week, I interviewed Adrian Armstrong, a massage practitioner, Tai Chi and Chi Kung teacher, and Brain Balancing Alignment specialist, to talk about Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy and how it can affect holistic healing.
There are various types of PEMF devices available, each with its own set of functions and applications.
Some devices are intended for certain body areas, such as the back or knees, while others are intended for use on the entire body. Many of the devices can be used at home, and some are meant for a clinical setting.
“The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.”
- Joseph Conrad
We will explore the history and science of PEMF therapy, as well as its benefits and applications. Adrian also touched on the potential risks or side effects associated with PEMF therapy and we will have a further look at those. I have personally not tried PEMF therapy yet, but the concept certainly sounds promising.
What is Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy?
PEMF therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses electromagnetic fields to promote healing and relieve pain in the body. It is a type of bioelectromagnetic medicine that stimulates the body’s inherent healing processes by using electromagnetic fields. PEMF therapy is used to help with a variety of physical and mental complaints, including chronic pain and inflammation, as well as low mood, stress, and anxiety.
PEMF therapy uses electromagnetic fields of varying frequencies and intensities. These electromagnetic waves can permeate the skin and tissues, interacting with the body at the cellular level. PEMF therapy’s precise frequencies and intensities can help boost the body’s natural healing mechanisms, leading to enhanced cellular function and overall health.
PEMF devices exist in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as mats, pads, or applicators, and can be used in specific body areas or the entire body. These devices can be used in a clinical context and portable home devices. PEMF therapy sessions vary in length, but usually last between 8 and 20 minutes.
PEMF therapy is gaining popularity as a natural and safe alternative to standard pain management and drug-based treatments. It’s a non-invasive, drug-free therapy with low side effects that’s being researched for its potential to help with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and even cancer.
History of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
Using electromagnetic fields for therapeutic reasons dates back to the early twentieth century, when early PEMF devices were developed. However, the use of PEMF therapy did not become widely accepted until the 1960s and 1970s, when several studies on its usefulness for a range of illnesses were undertaken.
Dr. Robert O. Becker, an orthopedic surgeon and researcher, was one of the earliest and most renowned pioneers of PEMF therapy. Dr. Becker’s book “The Body Electric”, examined the ability of electromagnetic fields to promote healing and restoration in the body. He performed a series of animal studies and discovered that applying electromagnetic fields to injured tissues could enhance healing and repair. In the 1950s, Dr. Björn Nordenström, a Swedish surgeon and radiologist, completed research on PEMF in relation to cancer and tumors.
A growing amount of research on the effectiveness of PEMF therapy has been undertaken since then. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy has been used to help with a wide range of ailments, including osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and cancer. In veterinary medicine, PEMF therapy is used to treat illnesses such as osteoarthritis in horses.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy has evolved and developed over the decades. It is considered a potential alternative to standard pain management approaches and drug-based treatments. With the advancement of technology and the completion of more research, the future of PEMF therapy definitely shows promise.
How does Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy work?
As the name implies, PEMF therapy stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms by producing electromagnetic fields. These electromagnetic waves can permeate the skin and tissues, interacting with the body’s cells and organs. As these frequencies realign our body’s frequencies in our cells and organs, healing takes place, helping reduce pain and increasing our wellbeing. When electromagnetic fields are introduced to the body, they can affect cell membrane potential, ionic equilibrium, and intracellular signaling pathways. This increases cell activity, which can then lead to better healing and health.
PEMF therapy has been shown to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and increase blood vessel formation. It also increases the function of the mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouses, resulting in more energy and better cell metabolism.
PEMF therapy can also boost the release of natural painkillers such as endorphins and improve immune system activity. It has been shown to influence nerve cells, which can aid with pain relief and mobility.
Through reducing inflammation, PEMF therapy has been found to reduce pain and support the immune system. The production of white blood cells is increased, which can help fight infections and facilitate recovery.
Let’s note here that PEMF therapy is still being explored for its applications. More research is needed to properly understand how it works, but research has already shown these positive benefits. PEMF therapy should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare expert and after discussion with your primary care provider.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy Devices
There are various types of PEMF devices available, each with its own set of functions and applications. Some devices are intended for certain body areas, such as the back or knees. Others can be used on the whole body. As you will hear Adrian discuss, most of the devices can now be safely used at home, with guidance from a PEMF professional.
The most popular type of PEMF device is a PEMF mat. They are often put on the floor or the bed and are used on the entire body.
Similar to PEMF mats, PEMF pads are smaller and can be positioned on a specific place on the body where you have pain or inflammation. They are commonly used to treat specific body parts such as the back, knees, or foot.
PEMF Spheres are small, portable devices that can treat specific body parts. They are most commonly used to help with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
PEMF rings are finger-worn devices used to help with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
PEMF Cushions are used on chairs in the car to help with complaints like back pain and sciatica.
Depending on what you are wanting to achieve, you can select a device specific to your needs. For general healing and supporting your wellbeing, a mat in your bed can be helpful. You can set it to work as you fall asleep and just as you wake up. If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer, you might consider a pad or cushion for your chair.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy Benefits
Let’s talk more in detail about some of the benefits of PEMF therapy that have been found in research. Keep in mind that not every person will respond the same.
PEMF therapy has been found to reduce pain and inflammation by lowering the body’s production of pain-causing chemicals. It can be beneficial in the treatment of chronic pain problems, such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and back pain. Especially for osteoarthritis, PEMF therapy has been found to relieve pain and improve function, reduce inflammation, and enhance healing in arthritic joints.
PEMF therapy has been shown to enhance bone healing by increasing blood flow to the area, fostering the creation of new blood vessels, and activating bone cells. It has been used in the treatment of fractures, osteoporosis, and delayed healing, for example. It has even shown promise helping with peripheral artery disease and varicose veins.
Another encouraging benefit is the improvement of sleep. PEMF therapy has been shown to promote sleep by lowering discomfort, regulating the sleep-wake cycle, and encouraging relaxation. It can also relieve stress and anxiety by controlling the synthesis of stress hormones and increasing relaxation.
Overall, PEMF therapy has been helpful with promoting mental wellness. It affects the production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which can help with mood, anxiety, and depression. Although neurotransmitters are just one small part of mental wellbeing, things like chronic pain, inflammation, and poor sleep can also affect mental health negatively. PEMF could help with mental wellbeing from a variety of angles.
PEMF Risks and Side Effects
So, who should or should not use PEMF? PEMF therapy is generally regarded as safe, with minimal documented side effects. However, like with any medical treatment, there are potential risks and side effects to consider.
Some people might experience skin irritation or redness where the PEMF device is placed. This is usually moderate and brief, but if it persists, it is best to stop using the product and visit a healthcare practitioner.
Some medical devices, such as pacemakers, cochlear implants, or other electronic devices, may be affected by PEMF therapy. The electromagnetic fields created by PEMF devices may interact with your electronic devices and cause unexpected side effects.
People with a history of seizures should avoid PEMF therapy. Seizures may be triggered by the electromagnetic fields created by PEMF devices in persons who are prone to them.
Because PEMF therapy has not been researched in pregnant or breastfeeding women, it is recommended you seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner before beginning any treatment. Similarly, PEMF therapy has not been investigated in children, so check with your child’s doctor beforehand.
Although some earlier research has been conducted with cancer patients, PEMF therapy has not been investigated extensively in this area. The same goes for organ transplant recipients.
Before beginning any PEMF therapy, I always recommend speaking with your doctor, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. PEMF therapy is not for everyone, and any concerns should be discussed with a healthcare practitioner before beginning treatment. That way you can rule out any physical conditions that could put you at risk.
PEMF therapy is a non-invasive treatment that promotes healing and pain relief in the body by utilizing electromagnetic fields. It can be considered a type of bioelectromagnetic medicine that stimulates the body’s inherent healing processes. PEMF therapy has been useful in helping with a variety of complaints, like osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions.
Aside from supporting physical wellbeing, cell regeneration, bone regeneration, and wound healing, PEMF therapy can also promote mental health. Benefits include help with mood, stress, anxiety, sadness, and sleep quality. The idea of having electromagnetic fields promote mental and physical wellbeing in the comfort of your own home is certainly intriguing.
You can also use PEMF therapy in combination with other treatments. If you are in physical therapy or taking medication, PEMF therapy may be more effective. Adrian combines PEMF with massage therapy, for example, which can be helpful.
PEMF therapy is a relatively new therapeutic field, and much remains to be discovered about its potential advantages and applications. More research is needed to completely understand the mechanisms of PEMF therapy, as well as to discover the most effective frequencies and intensities for treating various complaints.
If you are new to PEMF therapy, I would highly recommend working with a trained professional.
Figuring out which device to purchase, how to use it, and what to use it for can be overwhelming. Working with a PEMF expert can take the guesswork out of it. If you are going to invest into a device, you want to make sure you get the most benefits out of it.
Take advantage of the many resources available and find out if Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy could be part of your healing journey!