The PEMF mat benefits that people most often experience are:
- Temporary pain relief
- Improved circulation
- Accelerated muscle recovery from sports
- Heightened mental clarity
- Improved Sleep
On this page I’ll give you a list of PEMF applications studied and the research results chart from our PEMF Research Database, the top 10 list of PEMF benefits studied, as well as does PEMF have any side effects, how to use PEMF, recommended devices and details on my own PEMF mat.
This is my own PEMF mat which I have at home, I wrote a section on its details further down on the page.
Using my mat I’ve personally noticed those common PEMF mat benefits I listed above: improved sleep after use, heightened mental clarity, and improved muscle recovery and pain relief; one caveat is that I typically use my mat with the infrared heat also turned on.
I still wanted a clearer picture on how PEMF worked being unsatisfied with the websites I could find about the topic.
What I did was compiled the largest and most relevant database of PEMF research studies from the PubMed website as I could, totaling 335 studies, and with a little help recorded as much information on them as possible.
I used this for a macro-analysis to see what we could learn and summarized the findings on our page about PEMF therapy, created a searchable PEMF research database with filters, and on this page we’ll review what we learned about the possible benefits of PEMF.
Before we start I must disclaim that nothing on this page is a substitute for advice from a health care professional, you should always seek the advice of your own doctor for any health concerns you may have.
Table Of Contents
- What is PEMF and How does it Work?
- Benefits of PEMF Therapy
- Top 10 Most Studied Benefits of PEMF from Our Database
- Does PEMF Have Any Side Effects?
- How Can I Experience PEMF
- How to Use a PEMF Mat
- Where to Get a PEMF Mat
- My PEMF Mat
What is PEMF and How does it Work?
PEMF therapy stands for pulsed electro-magnetic field (therapy), and it is the application of a pulsing electro-magnetic field across the entire body or a particular area being treated.
As to the question of how PEMF actually works, I’ll refer to a research study I found in our database and have excerpted here below for you:
First we should understand that the cells of the body communicate and interact on not only a chemical but also an electrical level.
Typically the voltage gradients of the body’s cells will be stable when healthy, and altered when the body undergoes processes like growth, injury or infection.
PEMF therapy works by altering the voltage gradient of the cells in the body using its electromagnetic field and has particular effect on cells with an unstable voltage gradient.
Benefits of PEMF Therapy
Disclaimer: it is the nature of what a study is investigating which determines the result to be positive, negative, or neutral, and no study found PEMF to cure any disease.
The list of PEMF therapy benefits as seen in our database can be summarized by the following chart:
The above chart does not encompass the entire list as I show next, but shows any topics researched by 5 or more studies.
The following is the encompassing list including topics researched by less than 5 studies, and this is the topics with positive results list from the database, so we can say the benefits of PEMF therapy apply to:
The list above is Health Mat Review’s own and simplified list of topic tags for the studies in our database, this is because the list of tags from the studies themselves is dramatically more academic, varied and complicated.
Interesting to note that bone healing and pain relief were the two most studied topics in the whole database.
Also important to note is that some studies fall into multiple categories, for example “back pain”, also falling into the category of “pain relief”, so the above list won’t add up to the same number of studies in the database of 335.
The list of topics above is a good representation of things PEMF therapy can help with because of our large sample of studies, but I want to state again that of all the 335 studies in the database, none found that PEMF therapy could cure any disease, only that it could help the cells of the body to function more optimally.
Explore Our Database
For people that are trying to do their own research, like I was, and searching the Pubmed website for PEMF research studies, you’ll know that they are countless, and not easy to navigate through.
That’s why I made our own PEMF studies database searchable with all the features missing from Pubmed’s search.
Pubmed doesn’t offer sorting features for the type of PEMF used (frequency, intensity, waveform), or an easy way to limit the search to only certain categories.
As you can see in the above screenshot of our PEMF Studies Search Explorer tool, I offer all those search features and more to help people find studies they want to review themselves.
Our database is made with a particular focus to include the Pubmed studies that had more detailed information about the PEMF used, like what frequency, intensity and waveform, to allow us to provide these special search functions.
PEMF Studies Category Chart
Not every PEMF research study is performed on real humans.
Most are performed on human cell cultures, or in many cases also on animal (and rarely plant) subjects.
The chart above is more a point of interest which shows us again generally where PEMF research is focused as a whole, or at least where the focus of studies in our database is.
PEMF Research Results Chart
Now for something perhaps a little more interesting, the results from the PEMF research studies in our database.
As I disclaimed above, it is the nature of what a study is investigating which determines the result to be positive, negative, or neutral.
In some cases results of a study can be vague, or “suggesting more research required”, and this is why we have mixed categories such as Positive, Neutral, and Positive, Negative, as odd as it sounds.
The bar height in the chart indicates how many studies in each category of result type.
The overwhelming majority found positive results in their research study after the application of PEMF.
I think this is probably the most interesting or compelling finding from doing this macro-analysis of 335 PEMF studies was just to see how many actually came out showing any kind of positive difference.
Top 10 Most Studied Benefits of PEMF from Our Database
The 10 most commonly studied PEMF benefit topics from our research database are:
- bone healing
- pain relief
- brittle bone
- back pain
- cartilage growth
You can go see the full list of relevant studies in each of these categories on the PEMF study search explorer page.
Some of the topics overlapped more than others so I combined them.
Let’s look at a study or two for each category but let me disclaim here again that no study found that PEMF could cure any disease, all I am providing here is what these research studies on Pubmed found in their investigations of PEMF as a therapy.
Click on any of the headings below to expand the section for more info, quotes and links to research studies!
This is a very in depth article which cites what PEMF therapy is already being used for, including improving bone healing.
- Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) transiently stimulates the rate of mineralization in a 3-dimensional ring culture model of osteogenesis
Taking 3 quotes from the study:
- “Thus, in a defined, strong osteogenic environment, PEMF applied at different times was capable of further stimulation of osteogenesis with the potential to enhance bone repair.”
- “PEMF optimization may lead to more effective treatment of a variety of musculoskeletal ailments, in particular those involving bone metabolism”
- “PEMF is currently in clinical use for enhancement of bone-related repair  based on efficacy in clinical trials in specific circumstances, namely, fracture non-union  and spinal fusion [3–5].”
PEMF therapy for pain relief is the second most studied application.
The following study investigated the benefits of PEMF therapy for chronic pain:
- A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial using a low-frequency magnetic field in the treatment of musculoskeletal chronic pain
To quote the study it found that:
- “PEMF may be a novel, safe and effective therapeutic tool for use in at least certain subsets of patients with chronic, nonmalignant pain.”
This study demonstrated PEMF could be an effective tool to regulate inflammatory response:
- The Use of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field to Modulate Inflammation and Improve Tissue Regeneration: A Review
As with much of the research on PEMF, the study also recommended further investigation into the potential benefits and application methods for the therapy.
Two quotes from the study indicate the benefit of PEMF therapy in regulating inflammatory responses:
- “Results show that the immunomodulatory effect of this therapy has the potential to decrease the production of proinflammatory secretion, while stabilizing or increasing anti-inflammatory cytokine production, and NF-κB expression during activated response.”
- “PEMF is showing promise as a treatment for inflammatory regulation to be used to promote tissue regeneration.”
Another bone category for the benefits of PEMF therapy, benefits for brittle bone.
This study looked at improvements in bone growth but particularly at patients in the 50 years and older category:
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy Improves Osseous Consolidation after High Tibial Osteotomy in Elderly Patients—A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial
A couple of quotes from the study are as follows:
- “X-rays revealed faster osseous consolidation for ELF-PEMF compared to placebo treatment, which was significant in patients ≥50 years”
- “This effect was stronger and more significant for patients ≥50 years. This ELF-PEMF treatment might represent a promising adjunct to conventional therapy supporting osseous consolidation in elderly patients.”
This section in particular I want to reiterate that PEMF cannot cure cancer, and it cannot cure any disease.
I didn’t want to leave this section out however because there are a number of research studies looking at PEMF and the potential benefits for cancer and if you want to learn about them you should be able to.
Just like with anything though, we shouldn’t blindly believe any one research study, and you should always talk to your own doctor about what’s best for your own health.
Having said all that, this particular study on PEMF with application towards breast cancer sounds highly interesting and hopefully is something that researchers will explore in greater depth in the near future.
- Low intensity and frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields selectively impair breast cancer cell viability
Quoting the study, they say they observed that PEMF could increase cancer cells vulnerability to existing cancer treatments:
- “Based on our data it appears that PEMF-based anticancer strategies may represent a new therapeutic approach to treat breast cancer without affecting normal tissues in a manner that is non-invasive and can be potentially combined with existing anti-cancer treatments.”
- “We observed a discrete window of vulnerability of MCF7 cells to PEMFs of 20 Hz frequency, 3 mT magnitude and exposure duration of 60 minutes per day.”
The benefits of PEMF therapy for back pain are also widely studied, and hit home for me having suffered years of pain from a severe disc herniation in my own back.
This study looked at middle aged individuals with non-specific lower back pain:
- Short-Term impacts of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in middle-aged university’s employees with non-specific low back pain: A pilot study
Quoting the study:
- “PEMT therapy may decrease pain, LBP disability, increase lumbar spine mobility, and improve HRQOL in middle-aged university’s employees with nonspecific LBP (low back pain).”
This study looked at the benefit of PEMF therapy for postoperative low back pain:
- Evaluation of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy for the treatment of chronic postoperative pain following lumbar surgery: a pilot, double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial
Quoting the study:
- “EMF therapy (42-μs pulse width) was associated with trends for a reduction in pain, compared to sham treatment.”
As I mentioned I am no stranger to back pain, and I found that in addition to PEMF, infrared therapy helped me manage my back pain when it was at its worst.
I wrote a page on infrared mat benefits where I described my experience using an infrared PEMF mat to help during recovery from my disc herniation.
I found the combination of PEMF and infrared therapy gave me a place where I could feel good during those months of being stuck with constant radiating back pain.
PEMF therapy seems to show a trend in aiding the cells of the body with recovery and to function better, this study looked at how PEMF can help with cartilage:
- Pulsed electromagnetic fields potentiate the paracrine function of mesenchymal stem cells for cartilage regeneration
Quoting the study, it found that PEMF promoted cartilage while protecting against inflammatory conditions:
- “We provide evidence that brief exposure to low amplitude PEMFs enhanced the ability of MSCs to produce and secrete paracrine factors capable of promoting cartilage regeneration as well as protecting against adverse inflammatory conditions.”
The benefits of PEMF therapy for arthritis is another well studied topic.
This study looked at osteoarthritis in the knee:
- Pulsed electromagnetic fields in knee osteoarthritis: a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial
Quoting the study,
- “These results suggest that PEMF therapy is effective for pain management in knee OA patients and also affects pain threshold and physical functioning.”
This study of PEMF therapy and the benefits for the cardiovascular system was performed on rats but looked promising like most PEMF studies:
- Increases in microvascular perfusion and tissue oxygenation via pulsed electromagnetic fields in the healthy rat brain
Quoting the study it found that PEMF treatment improved microvascular blood flow:
- “Thirty minutes of PEMF treatment induced cerebral arteriolar dilation leading to an increase in micro-vascular blood flow and tissue oxygenation that persisted for at least 3 hours.”
This next study also looked at rats and at the improvement of cardiac function:
Quoting from the study results:
- “The data demonstrated that PEMF treatment significantly inhibited cardiac apoptosis and improved cardiac systolic function. Moreover, PEMF treatment increased capillary density, the levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hypoxic inducible factor-1α in infarct border zone.”
I think I should caution here again that PEMF can’t cure cardiovascular related ailments, all we can say is that from the studies on the topic, the majority found improvements in cell function.
No where did we find any studies where PEMF cured heart disease; be wary of any brands or websites claiming something like this.
These next two studies also studied rats, and looked specifically at tendon healing.
The first study found:
- “PEMFs exerted a positive role in the tendon healing process, thus representing a promising conservative treatment for tendinopathy, although further investigations regarding the clinical evaluation are needed.”
And the second study:
- Effects of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy at different frequencies and durations on rotator cuff tendon-to-bone healing in a rat model
This study also found PEMF to have a positive effect on healing in the rats tested in the study:
- “Overall, results suggest that PEMF has a positive effect on rat rotator cuff healing for each electromagnetic fundamental pulse frequency and treatment duration tested in this study.”
Does PEMF Have Any Side Effects
The short answer is: no PEMF therapy doesn’t have any side effects when used correctly.
There are things to avoid and individuals who should avoid PEMF therapy, I’m going to give you everything I know on that presently.
The ICNIRP is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and they were formed to make safety guidelines for EMF exposure as electronics were becoming more prevalent worldwide.
PEMF therapy can be applied at countless intensities, frequencies, and waveforms so we want to know which are effective, and which are safe.
For what PEMF therapy is effective, look at the section on our PEMF therapy page on where did PEMF research find positive results.
For what PEMF is safe we look at the chart from the ICNIRP.
This chart shows intensity on the vertical axis and frequency along the bottom axis and simply put, higher intensity, higher frequency, delivers more power.
To what degree more power is beneficial versus harmful, is what we want to know for safety, but for now all we have for guidelines is this chart from the ICNIRP.
I’ve added the color lines, text, and intensity in Gauss indicated to make the chart easier to understand.
Go look at our PEMF mats page, in the PEMF Mat safety section where I’ve drawn the operating ranges of different PEMF mats onto this same safety chart so you can see which brands offer a wide range of PEMF configurations within the safe operating range.
Who should not use PEMF
Here I’ve summarized from across different brands the contraindications as to who should not use PEMF therapy:
- Individuals with pacemakers/defibrillators
- Individuals with active medical implants (medication pumps) are absolute contraindication
- Epilepsy: safety of PEMF has not been established
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Those in immunosuppressive therapy due to transplantation
With any condition, not limited to those above, you should consult your own doctor prior to the use of PEMF therapy.
There are also warnings for a few other conditions:
- During fever
- Infectious disease
- Cardiac rhythm disorder
- Tumor diseases or other serious diseases requiring ongoing treatment require discussion with your own doctor
These are only guidelines from the various manufacturers of PEMF devices, any concern you have you should discuss with your own doctor.
How Can I Experience PEMF
If you’re curious about PEMF and want to experience it for yourself I have a couple of recommendations:
- Buy a PEMF mat with an extended 100% money back guarantee to try it at home or,
- Check our PEMF Near Me Directory to see if we list any (unaffiliated) locations to try out PEMF therapy near you
Check out the review on my number one recommended PEMF mat (it includes a 90 day 100% money back guarantee):
Check out our PEMF directory:
You may also wonder how to incorporate using a PEMF mat into your daily routine.
I’ll give you a short list of things I do on my own PEMF mat to give you some ideas:
- Post Workout
- Before Sleep
It’s easier to find some time to kill on your PEMF mat than you think when you overlap it with some daily activities, I almost always use mine if I’m watching TV.
How to Use a PEMF Mat
Using a PEMF mat is as simple as the mat’s controller, here is my PEMF mat’s controller as an example.
Mine is the Healthy Wave 4 Therapy Pro mat and isn’t the advanced Multi-Wave PEMF mat, so this controller offers less PEMF options and is even more simple to use.
As I noted on the image, using my PEMF mat is as simple as:
- Turning the controller on
- Two clicks on the PEMF button which makes the PEMF frequency number on the screen flash
- When the PEMF frequency number is flashing then you can use the + or – to change the frequency up and down
- One more click on the PEMF button to set it
- That’s it, the PEMF is working!
Using controllers for more advanced PEMF can be a little trickier, but still quite simple, oftentimes they come preloaded with a few easy 1 click PEMF programs which will give you a few different frequencies, intensities & waveforms preprogrammed for a single session.
Where to Get a PEMF Mat
PEMF mats aren’t really something that you’ll find in many stores around town, they’re still a new therapy tool and you can mostly only find them from online retailers.
There are a few brands selling PEMF mats now, and I’ve reviewed all the main ones on my page on the best PEMF mats.
Choosing the Right PEMF Mat
I’ve come up with my own list of criteria to evaluate PEMF devices from what I learned building this website, including the macro-analysis of our PEMF research database and reviewing a number of products.
On the best PEMF mats page I compare all the brands on the following topics in addition to their pricing and whether they include additional therapies:
|PEMF Safety – is the range of PEMF intensity & frequency known to be safe?
|PEMF Research – are there PEMF research studies showing positive benefits within the operating range?
|PEMF Flexibility – is the device flexible with PEMF configuration allowing you to find your preferred settings?
|Return Policies – PEMF products are expensive, what kind of return policy is there?
|Warranty Policies – PEMF devices are expensive, does the warranty policy mat up?
I start out the review page with an easy side by side comparison table of the mats before going into the detailed sections I listed above, check it out here:
My PEMF Mat
The PEMF mat which I use at home is the Healthy Wave 4 Therapy Infrared PEMF Pro Mat.
This is where I typically use my mat, and conveniently when I’m not using it, it slides under the couch because I don’t have a lot of spare room in my apartment.
What I wanted in a PEMF mat was:
- Only operate in a safe range
- Operate in a range where there is evidence of benefits from PEMF research
- Provide flexibility to try different frequencies within the brain and body’s normal operating frequency range
This mat covered those 3 main points with its PEMF configuration which is as follows:
- PEMF exclusively within the safe range of the ICNIRP chart
- Gives adjustable frequency settings from 0-30 Hz
- Uses the Sine Wave which was the most tested PEMF signal in our PEMF research database
- (see the “How are the 335 PEMF studies defined” section under What is PEMF Therapy on our PEMF therapy page)
- Uses a 3 Gauss intensity, low intensity PEMF showing more positive results
- (see the “Results per Intensity Range” section under Where did the 335 PEMF studies find results on our PEMF therapy page)
In addition to hitting my 3 main points this mat was a competitive price and had a few additional compelling features as well:
- Large size
- long enough for me because I’m a bit taller than average
- Infrared heat from amethyst, tourmaline and obsidian
- 3 month full money back guarantee
- just in case I didn’t like it
- 5 Year Extended Warranty on the Mat Controller
- Mat controllers are the most common component that fails in a PEMF mat because they contain complicated electronics
- Mat Safety
- All of Healthy Wave mats are EMF free, (tested with an EMF meter)
- All Healthy Wave mat controllers allow 1 to 12 hour adjustable timers to auto shut off
- And in the safe range on the ICNIRP chart as mentioned
That’s the basis of reasons which had me choosing that as my own PEMF mat, you can see it on the Healthy Wave website here:
The PEMF mat which I would get, if I had the budget, would be the Healthy Wave Multi-Wave Mat, which I recommend as the best PEMF mat.
Primarily I recommend it as such because it gives a way wider range of PEMF configurations, all within the ICNIRP chart and which can replicate a number of PEMF studies.
See the very in depth review including studies which can be replicated by the Multi-Wave mat here:
You might have noticed in the photo above the red infrared PEMF pad so I’ll briefly mention it here.
This is one of my favorite mats because it’s flexible and you can wrap it around your leg, or back if you’re on the couch or any chair.
I like it because when I’ve had a hamstring pulled or anything else it’s easy to wrap it around for the infrared heat, and PEMF targeted at one spot.
You can see it on the Healthy Wave website here,
Frequently Asked Questions
Does PEMF therapy really work?
Yes PEMF therapy does really work, the majority of PEMF research studies we evaluated, over 80% found positive results but PEMF therapy is not a cure for any disease or ailment.
How often should you use a PEMF mat?
You should use a PEMF mat once per day, typically you will receive the benefits with a 20 minute session, with higher intensity higher frequency PEMF sessions can be shorter.
What are the benefits of daily PEMF?
The benefits of daily PEMF can depend on time of day: in the morning heightened mental clarity, in the evening improved sleep, throughout the day improved circulation, accelerated muscle recovery from sports and temporary pain relief are the main benefits people notice.
What are the benefits of a PEMF mat?
The benefits of a PEMF mat are back pain relief, pain relief, improved circulation, muscle recovery, mental clarity, improved sleep and calming.
What are the benefits of infrared PEMF mats?
The benefits of infrared PEMF mats are pain relief, improved circulation, relaxation, better sleep, cramping relief, stiffness reduction, stress reduction, muscle recovery, and mental clarity, because they combine both infrared therapy with PEMF therapy.
If you made it this far down the page then thank you for reading all the way through!
It took a lot of time and organizing of my thoughts to put this page together so I really hope it helped you, if it did, please share it with friends or family you think might be interested.
Next to read is the review of our top rated PEMF mat the Healthy Wave Multi-Wave Mat!