In this blog, we will look at PEMF. You will learn:
- What Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy or PEMF is
- The Benefits of PEMF
- A few tips on choosing a home PEMF device that’s right for you
- Do you know what PEMF is what the PEMF benefits are? If you want to know more about this cutting-edge health technology and how to best optimize your health, then this blog is for you. Please read on for answers!
** Please note: If you want the longer, more detailed and scientific version of this article, then please click here.
What is Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy or PEMF?
To understand PEMF, we first need to understand electromagnetic energy and how our cells function. The human body produces electrical activity. This activity occurs in the cell membrane of different cells; in neurons, endocrine and muscle cells. This activity creates an electromagnetic field.
As a result of the electrical activity in the cell membrane, there is a charge or voltage. When a cell is damaged or sick, the voltage of the membrane decreases and its electrical activity slows or stops.
Electromagnetic energy is very important for our bio chemistry. Any disturbance to the energy in cells causes impaired cell metabolism. If our cells are not healthy, our body cannot be healthy. Lower electromagnetic activity can lead to disease. A cancer cell, for example, has a lower-than-normal membrane voltage.
It is possible to help a sick cell. Applying a therapeutic magnetic field to the body supports the sick cell and provides energy. Magnetic fields rebalance cells and increase cellular energy. It can help cells even before damage or disease become obvious.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field or PEMF sends magnetic energy into the body. The magnetic energy works with the body’s own magnetic field to improve healing (Fiani B, 2021). PEMF electromagnetic fields naturally influence cells to address and correct cellular dysfunction.
PEMF pulses work by penetrating the cellular membrane. This stimulates important organelles of the cell, like mitochondria and the nucleus. It restores the function of cells and tissues (Tamulevicius N, 2021). Healthier cells and tissues improve health and longevity.
PEMF is non-invasive. It has been used in medicine for bone growth, wound healing, neuropathies and depression since the 1950s (Gold, 2015). The first FDA approval was in 1979 (Gold, 2015).
PEMF helps with a number of issues:
- Pain and Inflammation
PEMF is useful in swelling, pain management and inflammation-related diseases through the decreased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (Tamulevicius N, 2021).
The gold standard in clinical trials (randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled) show PEMF can treat non-specific lower back pain, pain syndromes, chronic post-operative pain, osteoarthritis-related pain, rheumatoid arthritis-related pain and fibromyalgia-related pain (Ross C, 2022). This is thought to be due to the reduction it causes in inflammation.
- Wound and Bone Healing
PEMF can be used in bone fracture healing, soft-tissue injury, ligament, tendon and wound injuries (Chen Y, 2021). In bone, PEMF promotes cell viability and cell adhesion. It can even protect against the harm cigarette smoking causes in bones (Chen Y, 2021).
PEMF promotes osteogenesis or the formation of bone (Wang L, 2021). Using PEMF post-operatively can help with bone fusion following spinal fusion surgery. It decreases recovery time and pain (Fiani B, 2021).
- Muscle, Tendon & Ligament Health
PEMF benefits cellular repair processes important to bone and tendon injuries (Huegel J, 2021). PEMF therapy improves tendon repair and recovery in rats (Huegel J, 2021). It affects tendon gene expression and cell composition, bone microarchitecture and dynamic bone metabolism during early stages of healing. PEMF improves the signaling pathways and reduces inflammation for better bone metabolism at the repair site.
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
PEMF can be used for osteoarthritis-related pain. It is even more effective when PEMF treatment is given before OA sets in. PEMF reduces pain, can improve knee function and physical performance and enhance the quality of life in people with osteoarthritis (Mauro GL, 2021). Studies show that PEMF may need to be repeated to maintain results. Results are better in OA patients younger than 45 years old (Mauro GL, 2021).
Brain Health, Strokes, Neurological Disease, Depression & Anxiety
PEMF increases nitric oxide in the brain. This induces vasodilation, opens blood flow, enhances microvascular perfusion and tissue oxygenation in the brain. This is very helpful in healing the brain after stroke and traumatic brain injury (Bragin DE, 2015).
Acute cerebral ischemia, or stroke, is when blood flow to the brain is impaired and causes an acute brain injury. PEMF can help. In a stroke, a prolonged inflammatory response, impaired mitochondrial function and oxidative stress are responsible for the brain injury that occurs. PEMF has a neuroprotective role and can reduce problems with brain function following a stroke (Capone F, 2021).
- Neurological Disease
In patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), PEMF benefits them by reduces inflammation, increases vasodilation and improves blood circulation (Funk RH, 2021). This is due to increased nitric oxide. It can modulate gene expression in cell functions that become dysregulated with AD. It stimulates epigenetic regulation and rebalances signaling and cellular pathways that stop functioning properly in Alzheimer’s Disease (Funk RH, 2021).
PEMF reduces pain in patients with MS (Funk RH, 2021). Nitric oxide levels are low in the brains of MS patients (Funk RH, 2021). PEMF raises NO. NO blocks pain perception in the central nervous system and can enhance the pain-relieving effects of opioids and other painkillers.
- Depression & Anxiety
PEMF has proven anti-depression effects and is more effective than antidepressants (Bech P, 2011). It improves cellular respiration and function. It can modulate neuro-chemical imbalances that cause depression (Udupa K, 2007). This is done by rebalancing critical hormones for mental health, such as serotonin, dopamine and cortisol (Udupa K, 2007). In anxiety, PEMF lessens PTSD-induced fear and exaggerated fear (Alizadeh MAM, 2019). This is due to its neuroprotective effects on the brain (Alizadeh MAM, 2019).
PEMF affects the potency of anti-cancer drugs by increasing cytotoxicity in cancer cells. One study showed 12 hours of PEMF significantly increases the cytotoxic effect of cancer drugs on cancer cells (Woo SH, 2022). PEMF can also affect intracellular signaling molecules in various types of cancer (Woo SH, 2022). Specifically, PEMF exposure was shown to reduce the invasiveness of MCF-7 breast cancer cells (Tai YK, 2022). PEMF is helpful as an addition to chemotherapy in treating certain breast cancers (Tai YK, 2022).
- Post-Viral Fatigue
PEMF stimulates the body to heal itself. It is helpful with post-viral infection fatigue. In one study, fatigue, work ability, quality of life, anxiety, depression, stress levels and resilience were measured after a strong viral infection. PEMF improved all of these symptoms in 10 sessions (Wagner B, 2022). Results indicate that fatigue, work ability, quality of life, and psychological well-being clearly improved with PEMF and continued to show results 6 weeks later (Wagner B, 2022).
Cells naturally lose their electromagnetic charge with age. This decreases their function, leading to poor circulation, inflammation, chronic pain and disease. PEMF rebalances cell health and vitality, which is anti-aging. Reasons for aging include the depletion of ATP, cellular changes, mitochondrial dysfunction and DNA damage. PEMF can improve all of these issues.
PEMF has anti-aging benefits for skin too. PEMF forms electrical currents on skin. This changes the electrical potential of charged receptors on the membrane of skin cells and stimulates cellular reactions. Benefits of PEMF used on skin include tightening loose skin, smoothing the appearance of cellulite, reducing localized fat deposits and softening fine lines and wrinkles (Gold, 2015).
As we have seen, PEMF improves various physiological processes including production of nitric oxide, reducing pain and inflammation, improving circulation, enhancing cellular membrane function and metabolism, communication and growth and repair. It improves biochemical activity on a cellular level which can slow aging and its effects.
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Does PEMF have any Side Effects?
Acute adverse effects have not been reported (Hug K, 2012). PEMF is considered safe. It is painless and non-invasive. There are no issues with high use, or ‘excessive’ exposure, of the electromagnetic fields generated by a PEMF device (Hug K, 2012). Some people should not use PEMF. This includes people with pacemakers, insulin pumps or other electrical implants and pregnant women.
You can buy a PEMF device to use at home. There are full body devices or smaller ones for spot treatment. Doing PEMF at home means you can do it in your own time. It’s low cost once you’ve bought the device and avoids the need for frequent clinic visits.
Which PEMF Device is Right for you?
There are different types of PEMF devices on the market. Traditional PEMF devices are often full body mats that you lie down on during the session. Primary care doctors, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and chiropractors typically use these devices. The full body mats manage full body pain and inflammation.
There are also smaller, portable PEMF devices which are easier to use at home. Smaller portable PEMF devices are better for localized areas of the body, such as knees or back.
There are differences between PEMF devices so you need to choose the right device for you. Some important factors to consider when looking at the various options in PEMF are:
- Is the device appropriate for you and your specific health conditions? Different people, parts of the body and pathologies respond better or worse to different devices.
- Proven results of the specific device
- Convenience & comfort
- Full-body mats versus portable devices
- Low versus high frequency and intensity settings
- Ease of use
There are quite a few devices on the market. The best way to choose a PEMF device is to ask in our clinic. Our doctors can advise you and give you a professional opinion on which device suits you and your needs best.
Are you ready to try PEMF therapy?
** Please stay tuned for our next Blog! **
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- Alizadeh MAM, K. A. (2019). Pulsed electromagnetic field attenuated PTSD-induced failure of conditioned fear extinction. Iran J Basic Med Sci.
- Bech P, G. M. (2011). The Pharmacopsychometric Triangle to Illustrate the Effectiveness of T-PEMF Concomitant with Antidepressants in Treatment Resistant Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomised, Sham-Controlled Trial Revisited with Focus on the Patient-Reported Outcomes. Depress Res Treat. .
- Bragin DE, S. G. (2015). Increases in microvascular perfusion and tissue oxygenation via pulsed electromagnetic fields in the healthy rat brain. J Neurosurg.
- Capone F, S. S. (2021). Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields: A Novel Attractive Therapeutic Opportunity for Neuroprotection After Acute Cerebral Ischemia. Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface.
- Chen Y, A.-W. R. (2021). Exposure to 16 Hz Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields Protect the Structural Integrity of Primary Cilia and Associated TGF-β Signaling in Osteoprogenitor Cells Harmed by Cigarette Smoke. Int J Mol Sci.
- Fiani B, K. A. (2021). Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Stimulators Efficacy for Noninvasive Bone Growth in Spine Surgery. J Korean Neurosurg Soc.
- Funk RH, F. M. (2021). A short review on the influence of magnetic fields on neurological diseases. Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed).
- Gold, M. H. (2015). Noninvasive Skin Tightening Treatment. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol.
- Huegel J, C. P. (2021). Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy alters early healing in a rat model of rotator cuff injury and repair: Potential mechanisms. J Orthop Res.
- Hug K, R. M. (2012). Therapeutic effects of whole-body devices applying pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF): a systematic literature review. Bioelectromagnetics.
- Lee CG, P. C. (2022). Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Treatment Reduces Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Septic Shock in Mice. Int J Mol Sci.
- Mauro GL, S. D. (2021). Physical Agent Modalities in Early Osteoarthritis: A Scoping Review. Medicina (Kaunas).
- Ross C, O. T. (2022). Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) as an adjunct therapy for pain management in interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. Int Urogynecol J.
- Tai YK, C. K. (2022). Modulated TRPC1 Expression Predicts Sensitivity of Breast Cancer to Doxorubicin and Magnetic Field Therapy: Segue Towards a Precision Medicine Approach. Front Oncol.
- Tamulevicius N, T. W. (2021). Effects of Acute Low-Frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy on Aerobic Performance during a Preseason Training Camp: A Pilot Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health.
- Udupa K, S. T. (2007). Modulation of cardiac autonomic functions in patients with major depression treated with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. J Affect Disord.
- Wagner B, S. M. (2022). Successful application of pulsed electromagnetic fields in a patient with post-COVID-19 fatigue: a case report. Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift volume.
- Wang L, L. Y. (2021). Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy at Different Frequencies on Bone Mass and Microarchitecture in Osteoporotic Mice. Bioelectromagnetics.
- Woo SH, K. B. (2022). Pulsed electromagnetic field potentiates etoposide-induced MCF-7 cell death. BMB Rep.
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