Article at a Glance
- PEMF electrochemically alters cell membranes aiding in biochemical processes.
- PEMF can be beneficial in optimizing the body’s natural self-healing and self-regulating functions.
- Side effects are minimal and are mostly the result of the detoxification process.
Electromagnetic fields (EMF) – known as radiation – are naturally occurring or man-made forms of invisible energy. The electromagnetic spectrum is a representation of each frequency of electromagnetic energy, ranging from long wavelengths (low frequency) to short wavelengths (high frequency).
EMFs are grouped into two categories:
1) Non-ionizing radiation (eg, radio frequency, microwaves, and light), which includes low-to mid-frequency EMFs, and is harmless to humans.
2) Ionizing radiation (eg, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma), which includes higher frequency EMFs, leading to DNA and cellular damage with prolonged exposure.
What is PEMF?
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) is a non-invasive, painless treatment that works by emitting a pulsating electromagnetic field [R]. PEMF machines are designed to direct low-frequency electromagnetic pulses that penetrate through muscle and bone.
PEMF therapy benefits are broad, as it has been shown to charge cells through increasing metabolism, facilitating apoptosis, and reducing inflammation.
Chronic diseases are often the result of impaired cell homeostasis causing an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants [R]. PEMFs have been shown to help restore equilibrium by offsetting DNA and protein damage [R, R].
What Conditions Can PEMF Help?
Research has shown the positive effects of PEMF on conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis (MS), sleep disorders, and musculoskeletal injury [R].
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial demonstrated the pain-relieving effect PEMF has on fibromyalgia. Using a portable PEMF unit for 40 minutes twice-daily over seven days, patients reported an analgesic effect on their generalized chronic musculoskeletal pain [R].
In a double-blind controlled trial of 117 MS patients, 81% reported significant improvements in MS-associated fatigue and quality of life when exposed to low-frequency PEMF over six weeks when compared to placebo [R].
PEMF has been shown to alter brain activity during sleep. During the sleep cycle, the brain exhibits distinct brainwaves correlating to the level of sleep. People with difficulty sleeping can place a PEMF device under their pillow to change their brain frequency to both induce sleep and help stay asleep [R].
Other clinical studies have demonstrated the beneficial therapeutic effects of PEMF in the treatment of various musculoskeletal conditions, such as promoting regeneration of nerve fibers in the spinal cord and improving joint mobility by preventing cartilage breakdown in osteoarthritis [R, R, R]. Patients have also reported a decrease in arthritis pain and improved functional performance after several weeks of PEMF exposure [R].
How Practical is PEMF?
Most PEMF sessions last an hour or less. PEMF is not covered by health insurance at this time and generally starts at around $100 per session depending on the provider.
For those considering purchasing a portable PEMF device, they are user-friendly and vary widely in cost. Currently, PEMF devices are not medically regulated, so a prescription is not required.
Is PEMF Safe?
You may have heard that electromagnetic radiation from cellphones, microwaves, and airplanes can cause DNA damage and cancer [R]. PEMF is NOT the same, as the PEMF devices emit very low-frequency EMFs, similar to those found in nature.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some PEMF devices specifically for the healing of nonunion fractures [R, R, R]. The FDA has subsequently approved certain PEMF devices for use in addressing urinary stress incontinence, cervical fusion, anxiety and depression, and brain cancer [R, R, R, R]. PEMF has since gained national attention when it was featured on the Dr. Oz show [R].
Side effects of PEMF are generally limited to effects of the detoxifying process that PEMF induces, and these effects can be mitigated by taking certain minerals before a session as directed by those administering the therapy.
PEMF is a treatment with several applications, from generally increasing one’s energy to addressing specific medical conditions. PEMF therapy benefits people with a wide range of conditions. If you’d like to learn more, please check out the PEMF centers in the Prime directory.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. Information is provided for educational purposes. You should consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website.