What is PEMF?
PEMF is used to positively impact energy within damaged or injured cell. It does this by directing repeating electromagnetic pulses toward the affected cells, stimulating a healthier response.
The way PEMF works is simple. A device which emits these electromagnetic pulses through a coil applicator. This applicator is placed on or near the area which is injured or somehow damaged. Energy is then induced from the device to the impacted cells, thus providing the patient with a number of different benefits.
Perhaps the easiest way to understand PEMF is to think in terms of each cell in your body as if it were a little battery. Like with any battery, sometimes your cells become tired and worn, whether due to age, stress, overuse, or damage, making it more difficult for them to fight off any type of potentially damaging force or illness.
What does PEMF treat?
Theoretically, wounds, bone fractures, any area of chronic injury and pain can be a viable target for PEMF therapy.
But there are additional areas where it can be considered appropriate. But PEMF shouldn’t be thought of as “treating” conditions, but rather as a modality that “optimizes the self-healing environment.”
1. PEMF machines work in conjunction with the body’s own recovery processes to relieve pain by restoring cells’ ability to function efficiently.
Our skins, bones, and organs are composed of tiny cells. The membrane of a healthy cell has both positive and negative charges that are required for the exchange of potassium, sodium, and calcium ions. When cells become distressed from disease, trauma or toxins, they lose their ability to function efficiently. PEMF restores the positive and negative charges in the cell, enabling it to perform its natural function while speeding tissue recovery.
2. PEMF machines operate on different frequencies and this is what often sets them apart.
Everyone’s body responds differently to electromagnetic waves and different frequencies target specific tissue types. PEMF units emit a unique series of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields at precise frequencies targeted on four key tissue types resulting in increased circulation, reduced inflammation, improved mobility, and relieved pain.
3. The human body requires electricity to send signals through the body and to the brain. PEMF therapy works effectively to re-align the electric potential of our cells.
Resting cells are negatively charged on the inside, while the outside of the cell is more positively charged. The flow of charges across the cell membrane is what generates electrical currents.
When a cell is stimulated, it allows positive charges to enter the cell through open ion channels. The inside of the cell then becomes more positively charged, which triggers further electrical currents that can turn into electrical pulses, called action potentials. Our bodies use certain patterns of action potentials to initiate the correct movements, thoughts and behaviors.
A disruption in electrical currents can lead to illness. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy (PEMF) can restore the disruption of the electrical current to its normal state, therefore, helping restore the cell.
4. Unlike x-ray machines, PEMF wave frequencies are completely safe.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting. EMFs are typically characterized by wavelength or frequency into one of two radioactive categories:
• Non-ionizing: low-level radiation which is generally perceived as harmless to humans
• Ionizing: high-level radiation which has the potential for cellular and DNA damage
5. PEMF therapy has a 60+ year long track record of clinical success.
PEMF therapy has 60+ years of clinical success in relieving pain at the source by pulsing electromagnetic waves at precise frequencies, speeding the body's recovery at a cellular level.
PEMF therapy was approved by the FDA in 1979 specifically for the healing of nonunion fractures, which came after a Columbia University study that was encouraged by NASA, and has recently gained attention in the U.S. The value of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy has been shown to cover a wide range of conditions, with well documented trials carried out by hospitals, rheumatologists, physiotherapists, and neurologists.
6. PEMF technology was developed after WWII (though its origins go back much further) and was researched and adopted by NASA.
PEMF therapy actually originated from NASA’s research involving the benefits of pulsed electromagnetic fields on astronauts for fatigue, depression, bone loss and other symptoms following even short trips to outer space. Scientists discovered that the cause was due to astronauts being without this beneficial natural field emanating from our Earth.
NASA did a 4-year collaborative study on the efficacy of electromagnetic fields to stimulate growth and repair in mammalian tissues. You can download the findings here.
7. Many of the first PEMF machines originated in Eastern Europe.
Prior to the invention of the first PEMF machine, Nikola Tesla created the first magnetic loop coil, which are now used in all modern PEMF machines. Some of the first devices were invented in Czech Republic and then introduced to Hungary in the 1980’s. By the late 1990’s, much of Europe was already familiar with PEMF therapy. (source)
8. The first PEMF machine was quite large.
The original PEMF devices consisted of a Helmholtz coil—a life-size, space-age looking machine, that produced a nearly uniform region of magnetic fields. The patient was placed inside this machine to deliver treatment. Today, the majority of PEMF wellness devices resemble a yoga mat in dimensions, but are slightly thicker to house several flat spiral coils to produce an even electromagnetic field.
9. PEMF therapy was FDA approved decades ago.
PEMF technology has been FDA approved for 25 years for bone healing, post-surgical pain and healing, pain and inflammation, knee pain and even depression..
10. PEMF machines are not just for people. Animals respond to them, too!
Veterinarians became the first health professionals to use PEMF therapy, usually to heal broken legs in racehorses.