PEMF therapy is rapidly becoming more well known and mainstream in therapeutic and recovery enhancement health markets.
Despite sounding like a brand new technology, PEMF therapy has actually been being researched for decades and has been used in medical applications for many years.
Research has shown surprising benefits across a wide range of ailments and issues including but not limited to,
- Sleep enhancement
- Injury healing rate
- Muscle recovery
- Bone density & healing
- Immune system
- Energy level
So what is PEMF therapy?
What is PEMF Therapy?
PEMF therapy is the application of a pulsing low-energy level magnetic field across the whole body or specific area to be treated.
The pulsing magnetic field is able to pass through all tissues applying its energy across all, skin, bones, muscles, organs, in a completely non-invasive manner.
The idea is that the pulsing of the magnetic field will re-energize and realign the communication receptors of the cells of the body.
As a therapy PEMF can be applied at all manner of different frequencies, magnetic intensities and with different waveform shapes.
Researchers have tested various frequencies and intensities and have discovered that some frequency, intensity configurations perform better in certain applications.
Read on to find out more!
What does PEMF Stand For?
The acronym PEMF stands for “pulsed electromagnetic field”, or “pulsing electromagnetic field”.
How Does PEMF Therapy Work?
PEMF, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, is the action of applying magnetic frequencies to invigorate, re-energize and stimulate the 70 trillion cells of the human form.
When a pulse of electromagnetic energy enters the tissue it can re-energize the electrons of the cells raising the cell voltage, and re-synchronize the message receptors of the cell allowing these cells to continue to function at an optimal level.
In essence, every cell of the human body uses electromagnetic energy.
Just about any pathology or ailment in humans will reduce the charge of the affected tissue below a normal level and leave it unable to replicate & repair itself at the rate it normally would.
Applying a natural therapy of PEMF allows the voltage of these cells to be raised back to their normal levels, providing them the ability to replicate & heal themselves naturally.
Inevitably over time cells will also sustain damage to their electron receiving message receptors, or neurons will pulse incorrectly sending false information around the nerves and causing more and more of these cells to gradually become dysfunctional.
Eventually and regardless of the cause, these damaged cells will become dysfunctional and will degrade to the point at which they die.
This degradation is caused by a myriad of factors including and certainly not limited to, natural aging, medication, physical trauma, pollution, and harmful EMF’s (electromagnetic frequencies) from power lines, and the electronics we’re exposed to on a daily basis.
By raising cellular voltages to normal levels across all tissues PEMF can help keep neurons and the cell’s electron receiving message receptors functioning optimally.
It’s also interesting to note that the body is comprised of over 200 different types of cells, and based on what PEMF research has found (different results for different PEMF frequencies, & intensity configurations), we can speculate that different PEMF therapy configurations will be more effective for the different cells of the body.
We recommend to people looking for a PEMF device to try and choose one which provides multiple frequencies, intensities & waveforms so that you can find what is the most effective for yourself.
Is PEMF Safe?
Almost all clinical research studies of PEMF therapy show to be safe & a non-invasive therapeutic modality.
It is important to note that PEMF has limitless configurability meaning that by choosing the frequencies, intensities & waveform formations there is no end to the different “types” of PEMF which can be created.
Referencing for your own reading a number of PEMF and rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, a form of PEMF for the head) studies have shown no adverse effects and that it is a safe form of therapy looking into a range of topics including chronic pain and as an alternative to a drug or medicine for pain relief,
- A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial using a low-frequency magnetic field in the treatment of musculoskeletal chronic pain
- Long-term Efficacy of Repeated Daily Prefrontal Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in Treatment-Resistant Depression
- Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Depression: State of the Art
- Tolerability and safety of large daily doses of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in healthy young men
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Exposure Reduces Hypoxia and Inflammation Damage in Neuron-Like and Microglial Cells
It’s always wise to consider your particular set of circumstances and what different information is available, for instance, pregnant women are recommended to limit the use of MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging, using magnetic fields like PEMF but much higher intensity) however thus far no harmful side effects have been found from MRIs with pregnant women, MRI Safety During Pregnancy.
Frequently high intensity and high frequency PEMF devices are marketed as the best devices for multiple applications like pain relief, drug and medicine alternatives and are often sold at extreme premium prices; we encourage you to look at the research and reasoning which these brands reference because typically their devices have not been researched, and the studies which they cite are most often of low intensity, low frequency PEMF, not what they’re marketing.
This is also likely because the majority of PEMF research shown to have positive results is conducted at relatively low intensities and low frequencies, and the trend of high intensity, high frequency studies have been to determine their effectiveness in cellular apoptosis (cellular death, typically tested for tumor treatment).
Read more on this further below.
Are EMFs Dangerous, isn’t PEMF Therapy EMFs?
PEMF therapy is in fact quite different from what are commonly referred to as EMFs, electro-magnetic fields.
As a therapy PEMF is applied as an electromagnetic field, pulsing at low frequencies in an intentional manner, whereas EMFs are extremely high frequency (for data transfer, 5G, Wifi, etc.) magnetic fields (albeit likely at lower intensities than PEMF).
Unlike PEMF therapy, one of the concerns of EMFs is that these are something we’re exposed to in an ongoing non-stop basis with modern life, from TVs to Wifi, to cell phones, computers, power lines outside, we’re constantly in the presence of these high frequencies caused by EMFs.
PEMF is used for short durations and mostly PEMFs will look much like the low frequency we experience in nature from the Earth, compared to EMFs comprising a wide spectrum of everything from power lines to X-rays to Bluetooth speakers & TVs all emitting an unnaturally elevated range of EMF frequencies.
These unnatural EMFs have raised concerns of the possibility of their ability to disrupt the natural biology of our bodies, for instance some studies suggest they may have the ability to damage the DNA of our cells.
- Intermittent extremely low frequency electro-magnetic fields cause DNA damage in a dose-dependent way
- Electromagnetic fields and DNA damage
- Age-related effects on induction of DNA strand breaks by intermittent exposure to electromagnetic fields
- Genotoxic effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields
The current consensus around EMFs however is that they aren’t overwhelmingly harmful or dangerous,
- National Cancer Institute
- Radiation Safety Canada
It would also be true to say that we should do what we can to limit our exposure to EMFs in our everyday lives just as we should with anything unnatural, another good example would be highly processed unnatural foods.
Have a look at our page, 5G EMF Radiation Protection – EMF Protection, to learn more about what we can do to naturally limit our EMF exposure and lead a healthy life.
Is PEMF FDA Approved?
The most succinct answer to the multi-layer question of “Is PEMF Therapy FDA Approved?” is,
- the FDA has approved certain PEMF devices for certain applications over the years since the 1970s
- the FDA has cleared certain PEMF devices as safe for the public via their 510(K) form and these devices can be sold & marketed in the USA
- There is no blanket approval from the FDA for all PEMF devices
Is PEMF Therapy FDA approved is a question many people are asking, and it isn’t a simple yes or no, the real answer is that some PEMF devices are cleared for sale in the USA with a PMA (pre-market authorization) form or a FDA 510(K) form.
Just because one device has a FDA PMA or FDA 510(K) form, doesn’t mean that “PEMF is FDA Approved”, that would be like saying, because the Ford F150 Truck is safety road use approved that this homemade truck I made in my garage is also road use approved. Simply not how approvals work.
Over the years the FDA has approved a number of PEMF devices for various applications, Wikipedia has a relatively good summary of this, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy.
A great number of PEMF websites and brands have stated that “on October 13th 2015 the FDA reclassified PEMF wellness devices from the Class 3 category to a Class 2 status”. These websites appear to have blindly copied this from the Wikipedia article which states this, but also notes next to this statement, “Citation Needed”, in other words there isn’t a document from the FDA which actually backs this statement.
There are a couple of clinical trials which state PEMF is FDA approved for pain, edema relief, and has been approved & used for bone repair & non-union growth since 1970.
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) and Post-Axillary Surgery Morbidity
- Pulsed Electro Magnetic Field (PEMF) in Depression (PEMF)
- Effects of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy at different frequencies and durations on rotator cuff tendon-to-bone healing in a rat model
You can also search the FDA 510(K) form database to see if a device has approval, though sometimes they may be registered under different names than they are marketed, FDA 510(K) Database.
What Does Science Show About PEMF Therapy?
Researchers have been looking into PEMF as a therapy for decades and these days there is more PEMF research available than ever looking at PEMF as a way to treat chronic conditions & many other ailments.
In fact there are countless studies available on the PubMed website, and we really do mean countless, if you search PubMed for “PEMF” it will give you more than 33 pages of results, and if you search “Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy” you get more than 42 pages!
We gathered up as much of the research most relevant to people as we could and put the data into a table which you can review for yourself with all of the links to the research on our page, What is the Best PEMF Therapy?
We’ve also put together a page on PEMF Benefits, which reviews some of the PEMF research available, what tissue or conditions it aims to treat, and what is indicated by the results.
What are some of the results which scientists have been able to demonstrate with these treatments thus far?
- Multiple study of PEMF reducing fatigue from MS to increasing recovery speed in rotator cuff injuries
- PEMF improves circulation & reduces post plastic surgery pain
- Improvement in blood pressure & vascular function in hypertensive individuals
- PEMF for treatment resistant depression
- Reduces pain & stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis
- Increased nerve regeneration rate in animal test
- PEMF may improve function, pain & fatigue in FM fibromyalgia patients
- PEMF improves tendon to bone healing in animal rotator cuff model
- Cartilage regeneration enhanced with use of PEMF
- PEMF reduces systolic blood pressure in aging adults
- PEMF waveform can elicit significant arteriolar vasodilation improving circulation
Where to Get PEMF Treatments
You can get PEMF therapy in a couple of different ways, if you’re looking just to try it out we would recommend that if you have a friend that has a PEMF machine to try and test it out for free there first.
PEMF therapy sessions can also be had at a number of chiropractic, & physiotherapy offices, and typically these sessions will run anywhere from $30 to $75. You can check out our PEMF Locations page to find some & if you know of any centers that would like to be added to our list please let us know on the Contact Us page.
The other option is to buy a PEMF therapy device for yourself to use at home.
You don’t need to be a licensed medical practitioner of any kind to purchase a PEMF device as they are not regulated medical devices, typically also these PEMF devices are provided with simple to use controls & guidelines to make at home use straightforward for everyday users.
How much does PEMF Therapy Cost?
If you’re looking for a single session of PEMF therapy from a local practitioner typically it will cost anywhere from $30 to $75 for a session.
Some PEMF brands will offer rentals of their devices also, typically these run around $500 for a month’s rental.
We would not recommend the rental option however because other PEMF devices will actually provide up to a 45 day guarantee return policy if you aren’t happy with the purchase; so rather than rent for $500, purchase for the full cost, use it for a month & if it doesn’t work for you simply return it for a full refund.
How much does a PEMF Machine Cost?
PEMF machines come in all shapes & sizes but don’t be tricked by big price differences between brands.
Many brands have overpriced themselves & use their marketing powers to sell an overpriced device.
PEMF machines & devices can cost anywhere from $500 to $25,000, this might be a jaw dropping price to you as you read this, and we would agree; there isn’t any reason to pay an astronomical price (typically for an ultra high intensity device which haven’t been proven to be any more effective than a low intensity device).
Check out our comparison page for more information on different PEMF device pricing, Best PEMF Devices Review.
Is High Intensity PEMF Dangerous?
High intensity PEMF hasn’t been proven as safe, or as exceedingly dangerous, however there are international laws and guidelines around what is and is not considered a safe level of exposure to magnetic fields.
The chart you see below is from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.
Radiation is on the electromagnetic spectrum, just like light, PEMF and far infrared; these are all forms of energy, and there is an international organization which provides safety guidelines for human exposure to these energies.
As you can see on the chart, it’s a comparison of magnetic flux density (intensity in Tesla (T)) and frequency, you need to be below the dotted line for general public exposure, which as you can see is:
- 0.05 Tesla = 500 Gauss for 1 Hz frequency
- 0.001 Tesla = 10 Gauss for ~8Hz frequency
- 0.0003 Tesla = 3 Gauss for 45Hz to ~800Hz frequency
- And even lower thereafter
The chart above is out of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s document ICNIRP Guidelines.
Be sure to make sure you are working with a professional if considering a high intensity device and that you follow guidelines set out by the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection.
Check out more on the topic on our page, Is High Intensity PEMF Safe?
What is the Most Effective PEMF Therapy?
What is the most effective PEMF is still an overly contested fact, primarily between the different manufacturers of PEMF products.
We chose to look at the research articles found on the PubMed website to get an unbiased, different view to the answer of this question.
We wrote about our findings extensively and even summarized the data in a table for you to form your own opinion, on our webpage, “What is the Best PEMF Therapy?”
In essence, what we discovered was not altogether surprising.
Most, if not almost all, different forms of PEMF were found to be beneficial in one form or another.
Which led us to the most likely hypothesis which is:
Every type of cell in our bodies and every ailment which we suffer from, has a particular PEMF configuration which will be most effective.
Every person is different, and every group of cells in the body are different, we know of over 200 specialized cell types in humans; it’s just plain logic that different configurations of PEMF application will work more effectively for certain cell groups.
This is a primary reason why the Healthy Wave Pro Multi-Wave Mat is recommended with such regard on our website, because it has a greatly more comprehensive range of PEMF configurations when compared to the competition.
We hope this article has been helpful and informative to you, and if it has, please share it with your friends!