The Power of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) is a painless, non-invasive treatment that uses electrical energy to amplify your body’s natural regenerative process in order to treat various injuries and ailments. It does this by charging your mitochondria (the powerhouses of your cells) and activating your own stem cells for accelerated healing.
PEMF works by emitting a pulsating, varying intensity and frequency electromagnetic field, coming usually from a mat that you lay on, or a solenoid (coil of wire that acts as a magnet) that is placed around a specific injured area. This electrical energy directs a series of magnetic pulses through the injured tissue, inducing a tiny electrical signal that stimulates cellular repair. Research shows that PEMF helps increase cellular communication and stem cell mobilization to accelerate the body’s natural healing process, thus aiding in tissue regeneration and the reduction of pain and swelling.
NASA and PEMF
PEMF originated from NASA’s research involving the benefits of pulsed electromagnetic fields on astronauts for fatigue, depression, bone loss, and other symptoms following even short trips to outer space. After investigating the astronauts’ symptoms, it was found that most of them were caused by the astronauts being disconnected from the natural electromagnetic field that is produced by the Earth.
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy was approved by the FDA in 1979 specifically for the healing of nonunion fractures, which occurs when your body fails to heal a broken bone. Since then, the value of PEMF has been shown to cover a wide range of conditions, with well-documented trials carried out by hospitals, neurologists, physiotherapists, and rheumatologists. Specifically, PEMF has been shown to support all of the following:
- Accelerated healing of tissues 1-4
- Reduction in anxiety and deeper more restorative sleep 5
- Enhanced Immune function 6
- Overall energy and stamina 6
- Depression 6
- Enhanced Circulation 7
- Bone healing and density 3-4
The Role of Electricity in Health and Healing
Modern science tells us that the body is at its core an electrical system. In fact, the way physicians in a hospital setting monitor whether a person’s body is alive or not, at the most fundamental level, is by measuring the electrical output of their heart. When the electrical output of the heart stops, the monitor will show a “flatline,” and the patient is officially declared dead.
Although the field of biology often likes to define the body as primarily a chemical organism, physics actually tells us that it is electrical first, then chemical second. In fact, all of your body’s chemical processes (hormones, neurotransmitters, etc.) that allow your cells to communicate and coordinate together to form a whole living system are all activated and regulated by a foundational electrical energy. This energy actually generates your body’s own electromagnetic field, which regulates and acts as a catalyst for this entire miraculous process.
PEMF Therapy, Mitochondria, and Stem Cells
As I mentioned earlier, your mitochondria are like little powerhouses that fuel your cells. Every process in your body comes down to your body’s ability—or inability—to make adequate amounts of energy to maintain all of its functions and stay healthy. That is to say, how you perform in everything that you do, and even how long you live, is in large part determined by how many mitochondria you have and how healthy they are.
The body’s electromagnetic field plays an absolute key role in mitochondrial function. Without the proper electrical balance of the cell, the mitochondria cannot produce proper amounts of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the cellular energy molecule that powers every process in your body.
When there is a disturbance in a cell’s natural electromagnetic energy field, a cascade of problems ensues. The cell’s mitochondria and metabolism become impaired, which triggers a disease process that eventually prevents the cell from performing its natural self-repairing functions. When cells lose their ability to recover, you start to see chronic illnesses and overall poor health.
PEMF therapy helps restore this electrical balance in the cell, and even amplifies it to some degree.8 The medical solenoid device generates low-frequency magnetic fields, which safely passes through the body and penetrate every single cell, tissue, organ, and bone. By doing so, these unaltered frequencies are able to jumpstart the body’s natural electrical and chemical processes, thus improving cell metabolism and regeneration.
One of the most important functions in the body that certain PEMF devices have been shown to enhance is stem cell function.9-10 PEMF jumpstarts the electricity and metabolism in certain tissues, which has been shown to activate the proliferation of resident stem cells in those areas, and mobilize them to sites of injury. These stem cells can then secrete compounds that cause the body to either repair or replace the damaged cells.
PEMF Therapy, Mitochondria, and Stem Cells
You can get PEMF therapy one of two ways: (1) You can go to a professional, usually a physical therapist, naturopath, or chiropractor, or (2) you can purchase PEMF equipment to use at home.
Currently, PEMF therapy is not covered by insurance. The average cost at a clinic is $30-$60 per session. If prolonged use of PEMF therapy is needed, most clinics will offer session packages to help you save you money over the course of your treatment protocol.
If you choose to purchase your own PEMF device for home use, you can expect to spend a significant amount of money. Devices can run anywhere from $1,300 up to $40,000. As with anything, a higher price usually does mean higher quality, so you definitely get what you pay for.
PEMF therapy is one of those things you have to experiment with yourself to see if you notice improvements. The best results from PEMF therapy definitely come cumulatively with consistent use.
- Lee PB, et al. Efficacy of pulsed electromagnetic therapy for chronic lower back pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Int Med Res. 2006 Mar-Apr;34(2):160-7.
- Strauch B, et al. Evidence-based use of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in clinical plastic surgery. Aesthet Surg J. 2009 Mar-Apr;29(2):135-43.
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields—A Counter measure for Bone Loss and Muscle Atrophy. Diane Byerly-Johnson Space Center, Marguerite Sognier-Johnson Space Center, Dickey Arndt-Johnson Space Center, Phong Ngo-Johnson Space Center, Chau Phan-Johnson Space Center, Kent Byerly-Johnson Space Center, Roy Weinstein-Johnson Space Center.
- Bagnato GL, et al. Pulsed electromagnetic fields in knee osteoarthritis: a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Oxford Journals Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016 Apr;55(4): 755–62.
- Hattapoğlu E, et al. Efficiency of pulsed electromagnetic fields on pain, disability, anxiety, depression, and quality of life in patients with cervical disc herniation: a randomized controlled study. Turk J Med Sci. 2019 Aug 8;49(4):1095-101.
- Li BL, et al. Effect of long-term pulsed electromagnetic field exposure on hepatic and immunologic functions of rats. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2015 Dec;127(23-24):959-62.
- Kwan RL, et al. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy promotes healing and microcirculation of chronic diabetic foot ulcers: a pilot study. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2015 May;28(5):212-9.
- Yap JLY, et al. Ambient and supplemental magnetic fields promote myogenesis via a TRPC1-mitochondrial axis: evidence of a magnetic mitohormetic mechanism. FASEB J. 2019 Nov;33(11):12853-72.
- See N, et al. Low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field pretreated bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells promote the regeneration of crush-injured rat mental nerve. Neural Regen Res. 2018 Jan;13(1):145-53.
- Ross CL, et al. Targeting Mesenchymal Stromal Cells/Pericytes (MSCs) With Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Has the Potential to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. Front Immunol. 2019 Mar 4;10:266.