Introduction to PEMF Therapy
Updated: Sep 10
What is PEMF?
Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field (PEMF) therapy delivers an electromagnetic stimulus non-specifically to the body. The Pulse Centers machine uses a system of pads, paddles, or rings that deliver pulses generated by a copper coil.
PEMF devices can facilitate the repair of damaged cells, stimulate neurons, reduce inflammation, and enhance the creation of new healthy cells. PEMF may help improve circulation, speed up wound healing, and improve sleep quality.
How does it work?
In a single word: homeostasis. Every cell injury shows a reduced membrane potential, each PULSE of energy increases oxygen and blood flow at the cellular level. Pulse Centers describes this therapy like “re-energizing your internal battery.” Regular PEMF can restore the natural energy and vitality to the body!
What does it do?
Wounds, bone fractures, and any area of chronic injury or pain can be a viable target for PEMF therapy. PEMFs shouldn’t be thought of as “treating” conditions, but rather as a modality that “optimizes the self-healing environment.”
According to Jason Tebeau, president of Da Vinci Medical Inc., “It’s applicable anywhere the potential exists for the body to repair itself. If you badly break your leg in an accident, you will need an emergency room doctor to put a pin in your leg to hold it together. But, once home, PEMF will give the body the energy it needs to undertake the repairs the rest of the way, if possible.”
In 1979, PEMF gained FDA clearance* for osteogenesis, or bone growth and repair of nonunion fractures. In 2004, the FDA approved PEMF Therapy for cervical fusion patients at high-risk of non-fusion (post-operatively). In 2006, it was also FDA cleared for depression. (See this paper for further discussion of applications.) PEMF has been broadly adopted by professional sports teams. Many NFL teams use PEMF machines in their recovery room for a non-pharmacological and non-invasive solution to pain and injury.
PEMF has potential benefit to heal bone fractures, address psychological disorders, reduce swelling and pain, promote blood circulation, and stimulate the immune system.
What is the difference between PEMF and TENS?
>>Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy is a treatment approach that relies upon electromagnetic fields targeting the body at the cellular level. Its main purpose is to stimulate cell repair, and it can therefore be used in a number of health care applications, including pain management and to stimulate the healing process of fractured bones and wounds. Meanwhile, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy utilizes a low-voltage electrical current to relieve symptomatic pain by exciting sensory nerves and stimulating the opioid system or the pain gate mechanism.<<
PEMF uses electromagnetic field generated by a copper coil, while a TENS unit uses low-voltage electrical current to stimulate nerves. TENS can help manage pain, but does not affect the healing process.
For example, in the event of a sprain or fracture, a PEMF device can be used for pain relief AND to speed up the healing process; while a TENS unit would only lessen the pain resulting from injury.
Unlike TENS, PEMF does not rely on electrode contact with the skin. It can target a large area of the body at once.
How long is PEMF Therapy?
Illness is rarely an instantaneous happening—the same is true of healing.
One of the main goals of PEMF is to achieve pain relief and improved function without changing the chemistry of the body. PEMF can work at the cellular-level to stimulate natural healing processes that have gotten ‘stuck.’ It is this stimulus that yields reduced pain, improved overall health, and restored vitality.
PEMF is not a magic bullet. It is generally a better solution than exposing the body to surgical procedures or detrimental medications. IT TAKES TIME for dependable healing to happen. The amount of time needed will depend on the condition, severity, progression, age, and overall health of each patient.
At The Facility, we apply treatments anywhere from 30-90 minutes, up to 5 times a week. Cellular exercise packages are available in 10- and 20- hour increments*. Dr. Rasmussen and Dr. Fahey will evaluate your condition and consequently recommend a care plan specific to you. Ask us today how you can use PEMF to enhance your personal cellular health!
*Typical injuries we utilize PEMF for respond well to the following parameters:
An acute to sub-acute soft tissue injury (non-spinal) on an otherwise "healthy" individual typically responds well to 10 hours of PEMF.
A soft tissue condition more chronic in nature on an otherwise "healthy" individual typically responds well to 20 hours of PEMF.
With individuals who experience chronic/widespread pain, or who have injuries in multiple areas of the body, we will often treat with 30 plus hours of PEMF.
For overall wellness and total body cellular exercise (for those of you who desire the best results in all facets) we recommend a cellular exercise plan on our full body pad which includes 3 hours per week for up to 15-18 weeks.
*While some PEMF devices have been evaluated by the FDA and have been given clearance to be marketed for specific medical conditions, there is a larger group of PEMF manufacturers who have not sought such evaluations and clearances from the FDA. This latter group of non-medical PEMF devices like Pulse Centers may be marketed and promoted as general wellness devices.