What is PEMF Therapy? Does it work?

I had a client mention this to me so as always I had to do some research. This is what I found.

PEMF is defined as Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy. Magnetized stones were applied to various parts of the body as far back as 2000 B.C. PEMF therapy was described in “The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine”. This book is the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM.

Who invented PEMF?
It wasn’t until the late 1970s that Drs. Andrew Bassett and Arthur Pilla created a noninvasive PEMF device that succeeded in healing a non-union fracture.

Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy has been around for decades. Unfortunately, there is such confusion regarding the terminology and what constitutes PEMF that the history can be re-told many different ways.

Although the term PEMF is generic, the definition is that it is an active electromagnetic waveform delivered by an antenna. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, in section 890.5290, a PEMF medical device is a prescription device, that transmits a therapeutic signal in the radio frequency bands of 13.56 or 27.12 for the adjunctive and palliative treatment of pain and edema in soft tissue, without generating heat. Importantly, for FDA approval one must prove the device is safe and electromagnetically compatible with its use, in addition to providing important signal output characteristics including peak output power, pulse width, pulse frequency, duty cycle, antennae output, specific absorption rates, characterization of deposited energy, electrical and magnetic fields with correct labeling, and clinical testing. This is a fairly high bar. The FDA codes to describe the above are ILX & PQY. The technologies are differentiated by the parameters of waveforms they emit such as antenna size, duration, and frequency of the application. These combined determine the strength and efficacy. Often overlooked, PEMF waveforms do not cause heat or membrane depolarization, and the signal must be detectable above background noise.

How did this get accomplished? In the 19th century, English scientist Michael Faraday suggested that pulsing electromagnetic fields could induce an electrical field in a nearby conductor such as copper or even tissue. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many theories produced energy medicine devices, which were promoted without scientific evidence and had a wide array of operating characteristics, including heating tissue. Newer, modified, non-thermal devices were introduced by reducing the duty cycle to prevent it from heating tissue. Some previous 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. During the time of these inventions, many different trades were trying to find ways to use this technology.

In the 1970s, patients and orthopedic surgeons were frustrated by non-healing, or recalcitrant bone fractures. Clinicians began implanting electrodes directly into bone to provide direct electrical currents to treat non-union fractures. It was during this time that an electrochemist, Dr. Arthur Pilla, was traveling to San Diego for an electroceutical conference. The stranger sitting next to him on the plane was an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Bassett. Dr. Bassett was reviewing his Kodachrome slides for his upcoming presentation at an orthopedic conference. Dr. Pilla was peeking at Dr. Bassett’s slides and thought he saw something obvious. He confidently said, “I see you are working on dendritic outgrowth from an electrode” (a process in electronics in which metal grows whiskers that cause shorts). Dr. Bassett said, “No, that was bone growing from an electrode.” The pair obviously hit it off and the rest they say is history. When they returned home, Dr. Pilla traveled to Dr. Bassett’s lab and proposed rather than surgically inserting electrodes into both sides of a fracture, why wouldn’t they simply pulse an electromagnetic field from the outside.  They ultimately succeeded and were able to heal non-union fractures. Dr. Pilla and another orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Ryaby, went on to obtain regulatory approval for the first bone growth stimulator!

The bone growth stimulator (BGS) is a long-term, chronic treatment often used for many (> eight) hours per day for several months. This extensive treatment protocol was required because the BGS uses a less efficient signal waveform than the current Assisi signal, although it represented advanced thinking at the time. Randomized clinical trials to assess the BGS’s efficacy showed it to be about 70-80% successful as the transduction mechanism was unknown, so the dosimetry was poor. With more understanding of biological processes, scientists were able to target specific biochemical and electrical pathways associated with pain, edema, and tissue regeneration. Dr. Pilla was able to continue his life’s work and continually improve the BGS signal into the current day Assisi signal.

The strength of the magnetic fields generated by PEMF devices can vary dramatically from less than one Gauss to several thousand Gauss, which means that not all PEMF signals are alike, nor efficacious. And one PEMF device that proves it is efficacious and safe does not mean that all PEMF devices are efficacious or safe. The clinician must understand the difference between signals/fields and rely on human and animal research to validate specific devices for clinical conditions. Unfortunately, many PEMF systems today show a wide range of effectiveness. One must understand which signal/device they are using and for what condition.

Conscientiously, the Assisi signal has had decades of investigation and utilization from cell research, to lab animal research, to human research, and finally to veterinary research to substantiate its attributes. BGS/PEMF in general has been used on hundreds of thousands of patients without known adverse or side effects.

 

PEMF is a cellular exercise based on the principles of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. Exercising the cells in this way allows for an exchange of fluids. Toxins are expelled, and fresh minerals, nutrients, and water enter the cell, stimulating optimal function. It is a reparative technique most commonly used in the field of orthopedics for the treatment of non-union fractures and failed fusions. In the case of bone healing, PEMF uses electrical energy to direct a series of magnetic pulses through injured tissue whereby each magnetic pulse induces a tiny electrical signal that stimulates cellular repair by enhancing uptake of oxygen, transport of ions (calcium, potassium, sodium) across cell membranes, improved circulation, enhanced sleep, pain relief, and stress reduction.

Many studies have also demonstrated the effectiveness of PEMF in healing soft-tissue wounds, suppressing inflammatory responses at the cell membrane level to alleviate pain, and increasing range of motion. The value of PEMF has been shown to cover a wide range of conditions with well-documented trials carried out by hospitals, researchers, and the medical community.

What is PEMF therapy used for?
Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field (PEMF) therapy uses technology to stimulate and exercise cells to help resolve cellular dysfunction and to support overall wellness.
How effective is PEMF?
Conclusion. Our study findings indicate that PEMF therapy is safe in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain. However, it does not provide further improvement in pain and functionality when applied in addition to conventional physical therapy.
How is PEMF created?
Today, the majority of PEMF wellness devices resemble a typical yoga mat in dimensions but are slightly thicker to house several flat spiral coils to produce an even electromagnetic field. A frequency generator is then used to energize the coils to create a pulsed electromagnetic field.
How long does it take PEMF therapy to work?
For chronic conditions such as arthritis, it often takes a week or two for results to show. For many animals, it replaces pain medication as a long-term treatment.

The Benefits of High-Powered PEMF include:

  • reduces pain (both short and long-term);
  • reduces inflammation;
  • increases circulation, oxygenation, and cellular activity;
  • increases range of motion;
  • accelerates functional recovery;
  • speeds healing of broken bones and skin wounds;
  • speeds recovery from surgery;
  • improves general health:
    • enhances capillary formation,
    • increases tensile strength in ligaments,
    • reduces tissue necrosis,
    • accelerates nerve regeneration,
  • increases blood and lymphatic circulation;
  • increases cellular membrane permeability, flexibility, and elasticity;
  • increases cellular energy storage, activity, communication, and replication;
  • stimulates cellular genesis (growth and repair);
  • helps the Spine, Bones, Cartilage, Tendons, Intestines, and Brain.
How often can you use PEMF?
You can use PEMF Therapy every day, but it is not recommended to use it more than once per day. For great results, we recommend at least twice per week.
Can you feel PEMF?
The force of the pulses was akin to someone poking you, just without the impact of a finger touching your body. You feel it and it’s slightly jarring, but it doesn’t hurt.
Does PEMF help nerve pain?
PEMF by targeting increased circulation and anti-inflammatory effects combined with the pain relief and restoration of normal nerve conduction leads to a reversal of the damage that causes peripheral neuropathy.
And as seen with DPN, PEMF has been effective in enhancing nerve regeneration both in vitro and in vivo. One of the most important effects of PEMF is the reduction of inflammation18 and low back pain.
How fast do nerves regrow?
Regeneration time depends on how seriously your nerve was injured and the type of injury that you sustained. If your nerve is bruised or traumatized but is not cut, it should recover over 6-12 weeks. A nerve that is cut will grow at 1mm per day, after about a 4-week period of ‘rest’ following your injury.
Can PEMF cause pain?
Most patients only feel great following PEMF therapy sessions, but some patients may experience one or more of the following; oxidative stress, a temporary increase in pain, decreased blood pressure, a fall in blood sugar levels, fatigue on exertion, sleep disturbances, loss of energy or interest in day-to-day …
Does PEMF reduce inflammation?
Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that PEMF therapy has been successful in reducing inflammation. PEMF therapy treats the cellular source of swelling by recharging the cells with a mild electromagnetic current.
Is electromagnetic therapy effective?
EMFs therapy is well-tolerated and effective with no negative side effects, which can be integrated with rehabilitation for the treatment of chronic and acute pain in musculoskeletal diseases, but further studies are needed to examine the use of more standardized protocols.
Does PEMF help anxiety?
PEMFs, including higher and lower-intensity PEMFs, have been found to be very helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including PTSD. The value of PEMFs is that there is a great potential for ongoing PEMF therapies in the home setting to provide enduring and long-lasting benefits with continued treatment.
Is PEMF good for depression?
PEMF can be used to relieve depression and even treatment-resistant depression. The clinical studies show significant improvement for those with mental illness issues such as mood disorders, pain, anxiety, as well as other conditions.
Does PEMF work for depression?
Hence it can decrease higher EEG frequencies observed in patients with anxiety. A 2019 12-week clinical trial on PEMF can effectively treat anxiety, depression, pain, and quality of life with a significant improvement compared to hot pack and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).Dec
Can you use PEMF on your head?
Yes. PEMF treatment involves placing the treatment helmet on the head and connecting it to a power source (220 V), which leads to the induction of a pulsating magnetic field. The treatment was given for 30 min once or twice daily for 8 weeks.
How long does PEMF last?
A PEMF treatment will last between 40-and 60 minutes depending on the individual circumstances. It requires only lying down or seated fully clothed on a PEMF body mat. Most people feel absolutely nothing, sometimes there is a slight tingling or warmth due to the increased circulation from the therapy.
Can you overuse PEMF?
NO. If necessary, it is possible to repeat the treatment several times during the year. For example in the case of arthrosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, and joint pain. However, there is no risk of overdosing.
Can PEMF be harmful?
Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) are a non-invasive, safe, and effective physical therapy, with no significant side effects. PEMFs provide a new alternative for the treatment of various musculoskeletal disorders.
What is the difference between tens and PEMF?

These magnetic fields are applied to the entire body with the purpose of improving the repair and health of cells, tissues, and the whole body. In contrast, TENS units make use of a low-voltage electric current that stimulates the nerves.
What does it cost to buy a PEMF machine and accessories?
What types of conditions can PEMF therapy treat?
  • Increasing circulation.
  • Decreasing inflammation.
  • Accelerating bone healing.
  • Enhancing muscle function.
  • Reducing the effects of stress.
  • Improving blood oxygenation, and much more.
Can PEMF raise your blood pressure?
Conclusion: PEMF may increase plasma NO availability and improve BP at rest and during exercise. However, this beneficial effect appears to be more pronounced in subjects with existing hypertension.
How many PEMF sessions do you need?
The recommended application of PEMF varies from one hour, for an average of 20 sessions for chronic conditions, to sixteen-minute daily sessions for health maintenance, according to multiple manufacturers.
Can PEMF make you tired?
If you experience any negative PEMF therapy side effects, you’ll notice those will also minimize after a few sessions. We will have some nutritional recommendations should you have any of those effects. The most common negative effect is feeling tired.
Do PEMF mats work?
Many studies suggest that PEMF therapy does work, although further medical research will help establish the long-term effects and how it may benefit an individual’s quality of life. A person may not experience results until they have used the device for some time.
Does BioMat have PEMF?
Although PEMF mats and the BioMat share some of the same health benefits, they are actually quite different a PEMF device uses an electromagnetic pulse to administer healing. The BioMat combines far infrared light, negative ion technology, and the healing properties of the amethyst crystal to deliver its.
Can you use PEMF If you have metal in your body?
YES. Patients who have had hips or knees replaced with fabricated metal parts may safely receive PEMF applications.
Can PEMF be used with metal implants?
Almost all the studies have shown that PEMF stimulation can be applied locally and can significantly enhance the integration of implant materials, including titanium, stainless steel, and ceramic implants.
Is PEMF FDA approved?
Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fracture non-unions and for the enhancement of bone formation after lumbar and cervical spine fusion surgery.
Is PEMF therapy safe?
Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMFs) are considered to be a safe and non-invasive way to effectively treat numerous musculoskeletal disorders, such as delayed union or nonunion fractures, osteoarthritis (OA), and osteoporosis (OP), osteonecrosis (ON), tendon disorders, etc.
Is PEMF scientifically proven?
YES. Not surprisingly, the scientific evidence is that PEMF therapy is effective because it conveys ‘information’ that triggers specific repair activities within the body. The currents induced in tissues by PEMF mimic the natural electrical activities created within bones during movements.
What is the difference between PEMF and TMS?
Finally, the temporal variation (stimulating frequency) of T-PEMF is higher than in most other NIBS techniques: T-PEMF uses relatively high, pulsating frequencies of around 50 Hz. In contrast, repetitive TMS (1–20 Hz) and tACS (10–20 Hz) studies have induced electrical currents in the brain at much lower frequencies.
Does Bemer therapy help with anxiety?
The BEMER system also has the ability to help improve the skin by enhancing the healing process of a wound or clearing out dark spots or acne. Benefits of BEMER include Reduced Stress & Anxiety. Improved Sleep.
What is a PEMF mat?
The Infrared PEMF Mat combines two powerful healing technologies to create the ultimate recovery tool. PEMF grounds you in earth’s magnetic field for a full-body reset, while Infrared’s deeply penetrating heat doubles your dose.
Can PEMF help Parkinson’s disease?
PEMF therapy improves PD symptoms including tremors, slowness of movement, and difficulty in walking [159]. It is non-invasive, safe, and improves PD patients’ quality of life [124, 160]. PEMF therapy, employed for PD treatment, supports the body’s own healing process for 4–6 h after a therapy session.
Can you use a PEMF mat with a pacemaker?
Anyone from the very young to the elderly can use PEMF safely and without negative side effects. The only contraindications are for those individuals with pacemakers, insulin pumps, or other electrical implants, and pregnancy.
Does PEMF help blood clots?

It can improve blood circulation, prevent blood clots, regulate blood pressure, and generally strengthen the cardiovascular system. The ability to enhance the healing of muscle injuries, improve bone density, and reduce arthritic pain and inflammation are a benefit to the muscular and skeletal systems.
Does Magna wave work?
Magna Wave PEMF therapy also increases blood oxygen at the cellular level. Studies have shown that blood oxygen can be increased by as much as 100 to 200%. Magna Wave PEMF, because of its deep penetration is particularly effective in relieving deep muscle soreness.
Is PEMF the same as infrared?
PEMF is the hottest technology since infrared. This isn’t your average PEMF mat. All of our products are made using professional-grade materials. Both the Infrared Sauna Blanket and Infrared PEMF Mat utilize crystal, negative ion, and infrared therapies to provide the deepest level of healing.
Does PEMF stimulate stem cells?
In recent years, several researchers have confirmed that PEMF has a role in promoting mesenchymal stem cell proliferation and osteogenic differentiation [6,14,15]. Cell proliferation is important for cell survival and the expression of various biological activities.
Does PEMF lengthen telomeres?
PEMF exposure was also shown to activate a calcium-mitochondrial axis stimulating mitochondrial respiration and promoting both mitochondriogenesis and myogenesis as well as reducing basal apoptosis and increasing telomere length via a process of adaptive magnetic mitohormesis.
What are telomeres and what is their function?
Telomeres are DNA-protein structures that form protective caps at the end of eukaryotic chromosomes. They constitute the safeguards against chromosome degradation and are responsible for maintaining genomic integrity.
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Therapeutic Deep Tissue, Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.

 

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.

 

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