Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy
What is it and how does it work?
by Dr. John Simon
Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy, (abbreviated PEMF), is a highly effective form of physical therapy used to treat soft tissue and bone damage. PEMF uses pulses of magnetic field energy to enhance cellular function and thereby accelerates healing, regeneration, pain reduction, and immune system function. A pulsating magnetic field has a high biological effectiveness and is being used in the medical field as a means of therapy.
Human and animal organisms consist of a large number of cells which function electrically. Each cell has a voltage (an electric potential). If there is no voltage left in a cell it is no longer alive. All cells have a basic voltage which drops if a cell is damaged. Pulsed magnetic field therapy is able to raise the diseased cell’s voltage back to a healthy range. It raises the voltage by increasing oxygen utilization.
Unlike electrical forms of therapy and laser, pulsed magnetic waves are not stopped by clothing, hair or even bone. Consequently a patient need not disrobe and animals need not be shaven. The thickness of the body part is not a limiting factor. Nor is it necessary to moisten the skin or apply a conductive gel. There is no sensation during PEMF therapy and there is no need to touch the patient with the device. PEMF can penetrate almost any material. Hospitals use PEMF to accelerate the healing of patients with bone pins and plates.
Pulsed magnetic field therapy, PEMF, works through two different physiologic mechanisms. First, PEMF dilates blood and lymph vessels and consequently brings in more oxygen and nutrients to help repair damaged cells while at the same time it helps remove cellular waste and CO2. Secondly, pulse magnetic therapy actually “structures” the body’s water which allows the water to act as a “liquid crystal.” Liquid crystal structured water has the same molecular arrangement as a hard crystal but the molecular arrangement flows rather than remaining static.
Like a hard crystal, a liquid crystal has the ability to store and transmit information and thereby can greatly enhance “cellular communication.” This enhanced communication allows the body’s immune system to work much more effectively and be more responsive to disease threats.
The wide range of indication for PEMF therapy include:
1 - Arthritic joints, orthopedic conditions and fractures
2 - Open wounds and trauma
3 - Soft tissue injuries, including sore backs, muscular damage, tendonitis and ligamentitis
4 - Chronic pain of almost any type, acute and chronic inflammation and spinal disc disease
5 - Circulatory and cardiovascular problems, including arteriosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks
From clinical observations we know that pulsed magnetic fields can reduce pain almost immediately. This is due, in part, to increased tissue oxygenation resulting from enhanced blood flow into the capillary beds.
There are no contra-indications to pulsed magnetic therapy except in cases of hemorrhage. Unlike drug therapy there is no chance of overdosage. PEMF does not produce heat and therefore all implants can be treated. PEMF will penetrate bandages and even casts.
PEMF therapy commonly takes no longer than 30 minutes, and the therapeutic effect of such treatment lasts from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the device used.
1 - Reduce pain and inflammation
2 - Stimulate the immune system
3 - Increase circulation of blood containing oxygen to help repair and regenerate damaged tissue
PEMF therapy is not new and has been a well accepted medical modality used in European hospitals and clinics for over 20 years. Elite athletes such as professional cyclists, and professional tennis players use PEMF as a way of recovering more rapidly from the grueling ordeals of their sport. The advanced form of pulsed magnetic therapy that I have found particularly effective on both myself and my patients is called “Bemer Therapy.”
For more information on pulsed magnetic therapy go to Dr. Simon’s website Doc4pets.com and click on the big orange square marked “Bemer” on the home page. Dr. John M. Simon, DVM, practices at Woodside Animal Hospital, 27452 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak, MI.