May 23, 2022

PEMF Therapy and How Does it Work?

Written by: Omnia Tantawi, MSc

PEMF, also known as ‘Pulsed Electromagnetic Field’ therapy, is an innovative technology designed to help treat patients with pain and inflammation to manage their symptoms better. This treatment is still under investigation and has only been used as complementary medicine combined with other medications rather than as a primary therapeutic option.

This article will answer all your questions about PEMF and how it can be used for health purposes.

 

What Does PEMF Therapy Do?

The genius behind the PEMF technology is that it’s a non-invasive technique that’s relatively easy to use. Just by buying a PEMF device or going to the doctor’s office, you’ll find yourself done with the session in a couple of hours — more or less, depending on the treatment dosage prescribed for your case. 

It’s so flexible that you can direct it at specific injured areas on your body instead of taking medications that can affect several organs in your body.

Quoting from the author of The Fifth Element of Health —Bryant A. Meyers1

“PEMF can be thought of as a whole-body (100 trillion cells) battery recharger. PEMF works by improving adenosine triphosphate [ATP] production, increasing oxygenation, enhancing circulation, promoting hydration, facilitating detoxification,” and gaining a better overall absorption of nutrients.”

Simply put, PEMF uses electromagnetic waves to stimulate charges inside your cells for treatment and therapeutic purposes. It performs the following functions:2

  • Boosts energy ‘ATP production’
  • Stimulates circulation and increases blood follow
  • Reduction in cramps and spasms
  • Improved bone healing
  • Improves sleep pattern
  • Reduces pain
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Treats bone fractures

 

Is PEMF Therapy Effective?

Many research studies and compiled data have supported the use of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy in many health conditions, especially those concerned with mobility issues.

In 2016, a review study was done to evaluate the efficacy of PEMF therapy in treating patients with lower back pain. This search was conducted over 10 years and revealed that PEMF was indeed helpful in relieving pain and improving disease symptoms of the patients.3

Another study in 2018 investigated the possible mechanisms and pathways that PEMF can utilize to help in treating patients with Arthritis and chronic inflammation. Scientists found that PEMF mimics some immune anti-inflammatory properties that cause cell protection and relieves symptoms of inflammation.4

Thus, it’s considered beneficial for patients with inflammatory diseases.

Additionally, a recent study in 2020 was done to assess the effect of PEMF on patients with Osteoarthritis and how it can relieve the symptoms associated with it. Results came back positive in favor of PEMF use, where it was shown to relieve symptoms of pain, stiffness, and inflammation while improving the physical function of patients.5

 

How Safe is PEMF?

So far, PEMF is considered relatively safe as there have been no reports of any adverse effects related to its application. This is well demonstrated in a patient’s case, a 29-year-old female who complained of bladder and pelvic problems. Upon undergoing PEMF therapy, her symptoms were under control, with no adverse events occurring.6

However, this doesn’t contradict the need for more clinical trials and studies to investigate the efficacy and safety of PEMF until it’s wholly validated for safe use.

 

Who Should Not Use PEMF?

Seeing that there hasn’t been any evidence showing adverse events occurring because of PEMF use, there isn’t much data about who should not use PEMF. 

However, it’s imminent to note that there haven’t been any studies focused on investigating the effect of long-term use of PEMF either. This notion was raised by a study done in 2012, which urged on the necessity of further investigations when it comes to PEMF and ceasing the use and recommendations of its application until further scientific evidence is provided.7

So, as usual, pregnant and breastfeeding women are excluded from using PEMF, and you should always consult your doctor before commencing any new treatment options.

 

What Types of Conditions Can PEMF Therapy Treat?

PEMF therapy has been linked in the literature to several health conditions, usually those that are associated with inflammatory, mobility, and painful symptoms, these include:7

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Skin-ulcer healing
  • Multiple sclerosis-related fatigues
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Pain perception
  • Heart-rate variability and well-being

 

The Bottom Line

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field is an innovative, non-invasive, easy-to-use technology that can help in relieving symptoms of pain and inflammation in a diverse range of health conditions.

It operates by recharging your cells to heal and boost energy among other functions. Supported by scientific evidence, it still should be approached with caution and used as advised by your health care provider.

It’s considered a form of physical therapy and can be performed in the comfort of your own home using small devices that you can purchase online or through health services stores.

Nevertheless, it should be worth noting that there hasn’t been sufficient evidence to support its safety on a long-term basis.

 

References

  1. PEMF-The Fifth Element of Health.
  2. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics [Internet]. [cited 2022 May 17]. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/pulsed-electromagnetic-field-therapy
  3. Andrade R, Duarte H, Pereira R, Lopes I, Pereira H, Rocha R, et al. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy effectiveness in low back pain: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Porto Biomedical Journal [Internet]. 2016 Nov 1 [cited 2022 May 17];1(5):156–63. Available from: https://www.elsevier.es/en-revista-porto-biomedical-journal-445-articulo-pulsed-electromagnetic-field-therapy-effectiveness-S2444866416300514
  4. Coupling of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) therapy to molecular grounds of the cell - PubMed [Internet]. [cited 2022 May 17]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29887943/
  5. Yang X, He H, Ye W, Perry TA, He C. Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy on Pain, Stiffness, Physical Function, and Quality of Life in Patients With Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials. Phys Ther [Internet]. 2020 Jul 1 [cited 2022 May 17];100(7):1118–31. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32251502/
  6. Overholt TL, Ross C, Evans RJ, Walker SJ. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy as a Complementary Alternative for Chronic Pelvic Pain Management in an Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome Patient. Case Reports in Urology [Internet]. 2019 Dec 27 [cited 2022 May 17];2019:1–3. Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC6948308/
  7. Hug K, Röösli M. Therapeutic effects of whole-body devices applying pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF): a systematic literature review. Bioelectromagnetics [Internet]. 2012 Feb [cited 2022 May 17];33(2):95–105. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21938735/
Article written by Omnia Tantawi, MSc
Omnia is an Assistant Lecturer and Medical Researcher from Egypt. She’s an integral part in many research projects that proved promising in revolutionizing the future of Medicine. As a Research Scholar, she’s particularly interested in Personalized & Molecular Medicine because she believes that this is the prospect of the healthcare industry and can be applied to all medical and pharmaceutical specializations. But at heart she remains a wordsmith, so she currently works as a Medical Writer. This transition was fairly easy with an Academic Medical background, ability to adapt to different audiences and passion for research and creation. She always takes the most complex or mundane topics and turn it into a must-read with an unparalleled style. In her free time, she likes to read books, tunes in Netflix or enjoys the outdoors.

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