This is not an easy task as there are currently so many PEMF brands marketing their product as being the most effective or the best.
There is however, one place where you can find some unbiased information on PEMF, and this is on the PubMed website.
Check out the reviews,
click the topics below to jump to the section
What is the Best Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy?
Pulsed Electro-magnetic field therapy is a relatively new area of therapeutic practice, and its potential for great benefits has already been seen.
These companies and brands have done excellent work in promoting the potential of PEMF therapy and specifically their exclusive brand of PEMF therapy & waveform.
Common PEMF Marketing Message Themes:
- PEMF therapy can really work, as the studies have shown
- Their brand of PEMF therapy is “the best and most effective”
This raises the question, What really is the best PEMF therapy?
To find out, we went and reviewed 56 of the most pertinent PEMF research articles which are publically available on the PubMed website.
The results were promising and may be a surprise to you.
Of the 56 studies reviewed,
50 indicated positive results
Furthermore the review of these studies gave us some insight into what really is the best PEMF waveform, intensity & frequency.
We put the results in a table, and in a chart, for better visualization of the findings, read on below to find out more.
What does PubMed research say about:
What is the Best PEMF Therapy Waveform?
Why do we say the research doesn’t show a single best PEMF waveform?
Most PEMF brands and companies base their claims of product effectivity upon their exclusive PEMF waveform.
What did the PubMed studies reviewed show us regarding the waveforms used?
What waveforms did the PubMed studies use?
Of these 49 studies which did not indicate the PEMF waveform used,
- 46 indicated positive result studies
- 3 indicated the following respectively: Neutral result, Positive/Neutral result, Positive/Further Research required result
What does it mean if a study does not indicate what waveform was used?
There are 2 things to understand about PEMF waveform.
The waveform is dependent on the frequency
- The higher the frequency, the shorter the waveform
- The lower the frequency, the longer the waveform
- One full wave “form” is the distance it takes to go from 0, up to the top, back through 0, to the bottom, and back up to 0 again
- See the image here for a visual representation of this
A standard “non-special” waveform is the “Sinusoidal” or “Sine” waveform.
- The reason a sinusoidal waveform is the standard, is because this is the waveform of the electricity that you get at your plug on the wall
- The sinusoidal waveform is the same as the red and blue waveforms shown in the image above or the red wave in the image to the right, a symmetrical wave
If a PEMF study does not indicate what waveform was used, this is likely because they have not created their own special waveform like some companies and brands have done and now market with their product.
If the PEMF study in question has not created their own special waveform, this means that they are using the standard sinusoidal waveform.
This is because this is the waveform we receive at the plug in the wall from the electricity grid.
What does this tell us about what is the best PEMF waveform?
With 46 PEMF studies with positive results not indicating any special waveform,
What does PubMed research say about:
What is the Best PEMF Therapy Frequency & Intensity?
There is no best PEMF intensity & frequency.
So why do we say that the research shows that there is no best PEMF intensity & frequency?
Most current PEMF companies and brands use either just 1 intensity & frequency, or they offer multiple settings of intensity & frequency.
What did the PubMed studies reviewed show us regarding the intensity and frequencies used?
What intensities & frequencies did the PubMed studies use?
33 of the studies reviewed used entirely different intensities & frequencies.
- 30 of the entirely different intensities & frequencies indicated positive results
- 3 of the entirely different intensities & frequencies indicated positive/further research required, positive/neutral, and neutral results respectively
What does this tell us about what is the best PEMF frequency & intensity?
The glaring fact we can observe from these studies is that there is no one true best frequency or intensity.
We can see this from 30 different combinations of intensity & frequency all demonstrating positive results.
What we should bear in mind in the review of these studies is that each study was evaluating the effects of PEMF intensity & frequency on a different ailment or cell culture.
What was apparent?
What was apparent is that certain combinations of intensity & frequency were better suited for certain ailments than others.
With this being said, there was not yet nearly enough ailment specific research to draw any conclusions as to what is the best frequency and/or intensity for any particular ailment.
What did the studies evaluate?
Many of the studies evaluated intensities & frequencies far beyond those in the therapeutic range, that means that many of the studies used VERY high intensities and frequencies which should ONLY be used in a clinical setting.
Some of these clinical, very high intensity & frequency level studies were performed only on animals or cell cultures, not on humans for the likely reason that it is not known whether they are safe.
Many of the other studies evaluated & utilized intensities & frequencies that were in the therapeutic range, somewhere in the range of less than 10 Gauss, and less than a 1 kHz frequency, and these also yielded positive results.
In broad terms, in the lower therapeutic range positive results across a wide range of ailments were observed in PEMF studies testing a very large range of intensities & frequencies.
What did we learn about what is the SAFE level of intensity for PEMF?
While we found that the lower range of intensities and frequencies typically yielded positive results, higher intensities and frequencies weren’t as consistent.
Many PEMF brands, even well known like Dr. Pawluk and MagnaWave, have been promoting their extremely high intensity PEMF devices as the most effective devices available with no negative side effects.
These claims of completely safe ultra high intensity PEMF devices didn’t seem to line up with the results we saw from the research so we decided to dig deep into the research on high intensity PEMF.
We ended up finding out so much about this topic that we needed to write an entire page on high intensity PEMF, and the results might be altogether unsurprising to you.
What does this mean?
Check out the PEMF intensity, frequency chart below for a visual representation of this.
PEMF Frequency & Intensity Chart
Each green dot represents a positive result from a PubMed PEMF study.
The location of a green dot represents the PEMF frequency & intensity used in its PubMed study.
Note how far apart all the positive result studies are from one another!
A logarithmic scale is used on this chart, see below on How to Read & Understand this Chart
Where do popular PEMF mat products fall on this chart?
To help put things into context we’ve indicated the operation range of the 3 most popular PEMF mat products currently available.
Bemer Mat – indicated with an ORANGE circle on the chart (note, Bemer has 2 frequencies, here is shown the 33Hz position)
iMRS 2000 Mat – indicated with a YELLOW circle on the chart (note, iMRS 2000 has 4 frequencies, here is shown the 5.5Hz position)
How to Read & Understand this Chart
This is a logarithmic chart which means,
- Each line of the chart represents a factor of 10
This is important to keep in mind when comparing one study to the next or one product to the next.
It was necessary to use a logarithmic chart because frequencies & intensities of different studies were so far apart from one another that the graph was unreadable.
Read & Understand this Chart - Example
For example, the line next to a line is 10 times greater than the first, and the second line from the first line is 100 times greater (this is 2 factors of 10, 10 x 10 = 100, this is what “log scale” or “logarithmic scale” means, this factor of 10).
This means that if one green dot is one line away from the next, they’re using a frequency or intensity that is 10 times greater or less than the dot one line over. If one green dot is two lines away from the next, they’re using a frequency or intensity that is 100 times greater or less than the dot two lines over.
How did we compose this chart?
In our chart, we charted only the studies which included the information on both intensity & frequency, this was 44 of the 56 total studies reviewed.
What did we not chart on the graph above?
We did not chart the 2 studies which indicated only “Neutral” results.
We did not chart the 7 studies which only provided the frequency information and not intensity, (our chart shows both intensity and frequency of each study).
We could not chart the 5 studies which did not provide intensity or frequency information.
What do the vertical & horizontal positions mean?
As we have labeled on the sides of the chart,
Again keep in mind, each green dot represents just one positive study.
Why did we use a logarithmic scale?
We used a “log scale” for the horiztonal and vertical axis of the chart.
We used this “log scale” is because the values were so far apart that we needed a way to show them all on one chart, this is what the “log scale” allows us to do, to have each line represent 10 times the one next to it.
This means with 3 lines in between one green dot and another, one is 1,000 times higher intensity or frequency!
PubMed PEMF Research Table Data Review
We have compiled the PEMF studies we reviewed into the table below so that you can see the information for yourself.
The title of each study in the table links to its PubMed research article, and we indicate the study’s intensity, frequency, waveform, and what the results showed in these respective columns.
Summarizing the Data from the Studies in the Table
56 studies total reviewed.
What was included in the table?
51 studies are included in the table.
5 studies not included in the table did not indicate what intensity, frequency, or waveform was used, of these 4 indicated positive results, one indicated neutral results.
44 of the studies reviewed & included in the table indicated both what intensity was used & what frequency was used and of these,
- 38 indicated positive results
- 2 indicated positive/further research required
- 2 indicated positive/neutral results
- 2 indicated neutral results
7 of the reviewed studies included in the table did not indicate what intensity was used, but did indicate frequency, of these all 7 indicated positive results.
The table is searchable for your convenience and note there are multiple pages, use the “Next” & “Previous” buttons.
What is the Best PEMF Mat or Device?
Without examining the research and findings on PEMF that is currently available, there is no way to say which PEMF therapy is the best.
How can anyone, or any company or brand say that their technology is the best, without providing unbiased research to back it up?
The fact is, there is a lot that we do not yet know about PEMF, the research is ongoing, and there is undoubtedly going to be great developments in the future.
What do we know?
What we do know is that, based on the current reviewed research,
Almost every waveform, intensity and frequency of PEMF has shown to some extent positive results in the lab settings.
We also know that ultra high intensity PEMF may not be as safe as high intensity PEMF brands would have us believe, read more on what we found out on our page, Is High Intensity PEMF Safe?
The good news is that from what the studies show,
Every therapeutic PEMF machine, mat or device should be beneficial!
What does this mean?
This means that the “best PEMF device, machine, or mat”, is going to be the one that:
- Best suits your budget
- Best suits your desired therapies
- Best suits your considerations of warranty and guarantee
It also means that the “best PEMF machine, mat or device” is NOT going to be the one that:
- Someone says “has the best waveform”
- Someone says “has the best intensity”
- Or someone says “has the best frequency”
- Or has the highest price point
What do you want to know before you buy a PEMF Mat or Device?
We reviewed 56 of the most pertinent PEMF studies which we could find, based on their evaluation of PEMF and its effects on the most common ailments & pains.
What did we find out?
What we found is that,
Almost every form of PEMF therapy, regardless of waveform, frequency, and intensity was effective
to some degree within the parameters of the research performed.
What does this tell us?
What this demonstrated to us is that ,
There isn’t one be all end all best PEMF machine, device or mat out there
and that most devices and mats will be effective to some degree dependent on individual circumstance.
Consider the unknown & safety,
Many PEMF brands promote extreme levels of intensity as the most effective PEMF.
Seldom will these high intensity brands mention any possibility of negative effects due to the high intensity.
We dug deep into this topic and we recommend you have a read of our page, Is High Intensity PEMF Safe to find out more to help you make your own decisions.
What do we recommend?
We recommend therefore that before you buy any mat or device that you consider,
- Your budget
- Your warranty and guarantee concerns
- Whether you should consider combining PEMF with other therapies
If you’ve made it this far down the page, thank you for taking the time to read our whole article.
We really appreciate it, believe it or not it took weeks to compile so many PubMed studies, evaluate the data and present it to you.
If you found the article helpful please share it with your friends, thanks for reading!