More about PEMF
What is an electromagnetic field? What are PEMFs?
If you have ever held two magnets in your hands, tried to force them together, and felt a resistance between them, then you have experienced a magnetic field. That type of magnetic field is produced by a static magnet and is called a static magnetic field.
A changing magnetic field (such as a magnetic field moving through a coil) generates an electric field (which would drive a current in the coil). This forms the basis for many electrical generators and motors. Similar to the way that a changing magnetic field generates an electric field, a changing electric field generates a magnetic field. Since the magnetic field is being generated by an electric current, it’s called an electromagnetic field – a physical field produced by moving electrical charges. PEMF stands for Pulsed Electromagnetic Field.
Magnetic fields affect the behavior of any other charged objects in the vicinity of the field. This is the fundamental basis for their therapeutic use. Our bodies are electric – every heartbeat generates electromagnetic waves throughout the blood vessels of the body, stimulating tissues at a cellular level. External magnetic fields and the normal electric and electromagnetic fields produced by the body interact. So, a magnetic field passing through our whole body will have an electromagnetic effect on each of our 70 trillion cells. As a result, magnetic fields act in basic and fundamental ways on molecules and tissues. They affect the most basic functions of all cells—human, animal, and plant included.
What are some basic cell functions, and how do magnetic fields facilitate them?
Some of the basic actions of a cell are to generate energy to eliminate waste, to repair and regenerate itself, and perform its predetermined functions based on the cell’s type and location in the body. Magnetic fields cause or increase motion of ions and electrolytes in the tissues and fluids of the body. It’s both easy and quick to move an ion or electrolyte in a living organism using magnetic fields. This movement stimulates a vast array of chemical and electric actions in the tissues of the body, helping them to rebalance or heal themselves where necessary.
All cells need energy to function. Cellular energy requires ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) and is fundamental to all cell and body functions and is necessary to sustain life itself. ATP regulates cell metabolism by transporting chemical energy within our cells. Low ATP levels cause our cells to be sick, and decreases their ability to heal, regenerate, or function properly. Through the increased motion of ions and electrolytes, magnetic fields help cells increase their energy (or “charge”) by up to 500%.
Why do I need treatment at a cellular level?
Magnetic fields also affect the charge of the cell membrane, which allows membrane channels to open up. These channels are like the doors and windows of a house. By opening cell channels, nutrients are better able to enter the cell, and waste is more easily eliminated from the cell. This helps to rebalance and restore optimum cell function. If you restore enough cells, they will all work more efficiently. Cells of the same type come together to make tissues, and those tissues come together to make organs. So, by restoring or maintaining cellular function, you will, in turn, restore or maintain organ function, allowing the entire body to function better. We all know that the body ages over time. Maintaining the function of every individual cell at an optimal level every day is an important part of slowing aging.
Can PEMF therapy protect me from future illnesses?
Cellular “injury”, the state of a cell when it is not healthy, leads to disease conditions. Magnetic fields protect against cell injury by improving circulation, repair processes, and energy, and increasing special stress proteins in the cells. These proteins are used to prevent cell breakdown and wear and tear, as well as help speed recovery from injury. Magnetic fields balance cells, tissues and bodily functions at very fundamental levels, even before damage and problems become obvious to you.
I thought magnetic fields were bad for me.
There are distinct differences in the effects of devices at various frequency ranges, from extremely low frequencies (ELFs), to very low frequencies (VLFs), to microwave level frequencies, radio frequencies, infrared and ultraviolet frequencies, and more. Most magnetic field exposure risk comes from power lines and cell phones, because of their particular exposure times or field strengths and frequencies. These frequencies and intensities, known as electro-smog, can induce heat in the tissues of the body and modify genes, and therefore can damage cells. Most PEMF devices we recommend produce frequencies in the ELF to VLF range, since they do not induce heating actions. The home-based devices we promote have carefully selected frequencies which are most natural and balancing to the body. Our recommended treatment devices have a very safe track record – even the much higher intensity and frequency diagnostic MRI machines have been found to be safe to the people that operate them daily, as long as the safety directions are followed.
For more detailed information about the safety of PEMF therapy, see our safety section.
How quickly will my illness or health issue improve?
Minor imbalances in individual cells can be rebalanced very easily before they become an obvious problem. Regrettably, many people wait until they have a significant health issue before they seek treatment with a PEMF system or get a magnetic system for their own home use. By this time, some problems have become too deep-seated to reverse, and only symptom control remains possible. It is important to say that PEMFs are not expected to cure disease. Their role is to stimulate the various functions of the body so that the body can better support and heal itself. Understanding the extent of a health problem will help the individual to have realistic expectations of the time required to produce expected or desired results. If the problem took a long time to get to where it is now, PEMFs may take a long time to give the greatest benefit – and may never produce hoped-for results if the damage is too great. That doesn’t mean they won’t work, and it doesn’t mean you won’t get significant health benefits. We need to respect the body’s healing timelines and processes, and work positively with them. When treatment is begun, the order of healing will follow the body’s own wisdom of what tissue and symptoms will be cleared first, second, etc. Patience and acceptance of this natural order will aid in the healing process.
What can I do to improve the effects of PEMFs in my body?
Since most of the effects of magnetic fields happen because of how they act on ions, especially calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium, these ions and electrolytes need to be at the right levels in the body. It is difficult to heal depleted tissues without sound nutrition. Supplements may also be quite helpful for magnetic therapy to be most effective. Dr. Pawluk usually recommends magnesium supplementation and adequate amounts of daily water. Additionally, some individuals (particularly women) need extra melatonin to optimize health while using PEMFs.
What are some of the basic beneficial actions PEMFs will have in my body?
One of the most basic functions magnetic fields have in the body is to increase circulation. When a cell (such as a red blood cell) is injured or ill, it does not hold its ideal charge. This causes red cells to “stick” together, making circulation slow. When a magnetic field passes through the red cell, the membrane becomes properly charged, allowing the cell to repel itself and keep itself separate from other red cells, thereby increasing circulation. In addition, PEMFs increase various chemicals in the blood vessel walls that cause the blood vessels to dilate, improving the amount of blood flowing through the vessels and therefore increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the tissues.
Poor circulation makes tissues unhealthy and prone to disease and breakdown. Improved circulation helps tissues get the nutrition and oxygen they need, while expelling the waste they produce. Good circulation helps with tissue healing and regeneration. The result of improved circulation is the reduction of swelling and the removal of bruising.
Enhanced Muscle Function
Muscle energy, needed for muscles to work, is developed through a process called Myosin Phosphorylation. Myosin is muscle, and phosphorylation is energy (ATP) production. Optimal energy allows muscles to work harder and longer, and recover more quickly from their work. Muscles that are contracted or in spasm are better able to relax, decreasing tension and reducing the pain caused by spasm.
Inflammation is a cascade of physiologic processes initiated by the body to repair cellular damage in tissues by increasing the blood flow to the damaged area and increasing the number of good inflammatory cells. The process of inflammation is generated and supported by the interaction of a number of immune cell types, with other cell types (like T cells) playing a regulatory role in the cascade effect. Inflammation is a necessary and beneficial process, but it often persists longer than necessary, resulting in chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is frequently a cause of chronic pain. PEMFs have been found to reduce chronic, damaging inflammation. Inflammation can be initiated by many causes, and knowing the nature of the cause is important in designing therapeutic approaches.
T cells are a major regulator of the inflammatory cascade. In bacterial infections, early infiltration of the affected tissues by white blood cells is followed by the arrival of T cells, which kill bacteria. In this circumstance, eliminating of T cells can delay or stop healing. Conversely, in trauma-induced injury, T cells are less important to the healing process, and may be harmful if present for too long. In this case, elimination of T cells can minimize the unwanted effects of inflammation, accelerate healing, and reduce the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases. In chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or tendinitis, T cells support the persistence of the disease state, and removing them would be favorable.
Research shows us that PEMFs can induce the appropriate death of aged, chronic T lymphocytes, by actions on T cell membranes and key enzymes in cells. For example, PEMFs affect ion flow through specific cell membrane channels (like those for sodium, potassium, and calcium), which positively affect these enzymes.
Stress is part of being human. Normal stress, called eustress, is necessary for survival. Too much stress is very harmful to the body, and accelerates aging. Stress is responsible for at least 65% of our illnesses, so stress reduction is necessary for all of us. Stress-reducing activities performed only now and then will allow too much stress-related damage to accumulate over time. Therefore, stress reduction must be a daily activity. Magnetic fields have many stress-reducing effects. Daily use of PEMFs help to wash away the negative effect natural stresses have on our bodies.
Magnetic fields pass through the body – even the bones – as if the body wasn’t even there. PEMFs work to repair bones, whether they are damaged by surgery, injury, or disease, and have been found to improve bone regeneration such as occurs with osteoporosis and osteopenia, among other bone destroying conditions.
Just as a fire cannot burn without oxygen, our cells cannot produce heat and energy without oxygen. Our lungs extract oxygen from the air we breathe. It passes into our blood and is carried by arteries away from the heart and delivered to the rest of the body, including all the organs. PEMFs help with the process of extracting oxygen out of the air we breathe and help it to be transported into the circulation. The absorbed oxygen is then transported through the body to all the cells, where it is absorbed into the individual cells. In the cells, enzymes and other basic cell energy production processes use the oxygen for cell metabolism, the energy necessary to function properly. The metabolism of an organism determines which substances it will find nutritious and which it will find harmful. Proper blood-oxygen levels at the cell level (not just in the blood) allow this process to continue quickly and efficiently. After the oxygen exchange takes place, veins carry deoxygenated blood and metabolic waste products away from those same cells and back to the heart for recycling again.
The purpose of this document is to provide a basic understanding of how magnetic fields, especially PEMFs, work in the body. In addition to these basic balancing actions, magnetic fields also help with many other functions and conditions, and new ones are discovered regularly.
Some of these other actions include:
reducing muscle tension
improving tissue healing
improving clotting factors
slowing the development of arthritis
stimulating the immune system
helping the body to detoxify
improving the uptake of nutrients
reducing blood pressure
helping nerve function
helping liver function
balancing the acupuncture meridians
making soft tissue more flexible
reducing arthritic changes
Taken from Dr. Pawluck’s web site
PEMF For Preventative Care
All cells in our bodies have a life cycle – some are replaced daily, others weekly, others annually, and some only every 7 years. It is an important aspect of health maintenance that we ensure new cells are ‘born’ into a healthy tissue environment. It is equally important that old cells die, as they should. This is the cycle of life, and daily use of PEMFs can help keep the cycle running smoothly.
Taking care of problems as they arise is the key to keeping the body balanced. Neglected problems – or accumulated stress – unbalance the body quickly and tend to cascade into new problems, creating a downward spiral of worsening health.
Problems in the body have degrees of involvement and different tissues are involved in different injuries. To this point, there are what we consider to be “layers” or levels of disease: the energetic level, physiologic level, pathophysiologic level, and pathologic level. The level at which a disease or injury is present will determine how much regeneration or healing can take place unassisted.
Problems in the energetic level can be fixed quickly and require little extra cellular energy. Physiologic-level problems may take several days to improve. Once there is some level of pathology (such as in the pathophysiologic level, like most chronic issues) the healing process takes much longer to become noticeable—and may never be able to heal on its own. Pathologic level problems are not capable of being resolved without swift and dramatic intervention.
The many intra- and inter-cellular processes and activity stimulated by PEMF therapy lead to faster cellular and tissue regeneration.
The body heals itself in many ways – either somewhat rapidly in response to a disease, a wound, or loss of tissue, or slowly over time, as part of normal functioning. Regeneration refers to the regrowth of lost tissues, and happens in response to injury or disease. Wound healing refers to the closing up of an acute injury with scar tissue. While we know the skin readily regenerates or heals, other tissues have long been thought to have no regenerative capabilities. But as research and time progresses, we are learning more and more that most all cell types can be stimulated to repair, regenerate, and heal themselves.
Regeneration and wound healing require a great deal of cellular communication and adaptation to take place. In the case of eyes, for example, cells expand and eat up old matter daily. Bones are “new” every seven to ten years. Non-injured skin is completely replaced every two weeks or so. Cell turnover slows as we age, but never stops completely, continuing until death.
Basic regeneration (that which does not happen as a result of injury) is part of normal cell function. Cells are always dividing, growing, and eating up their older or injured neighbors (this is called autophagy). This does not require any outside stimulation, although such stimulation can enhance and ease the process. Injury-induced regeneration and wound healing require significantly more energy and adaptation.
Whether or not it is as a response to injury, the process of cell regeneration is the same: a cell’s contents must be copied. DNA is made up of two strands, each able to serve as a template for a new strand. DNA synthesis or replication requires existing proteins to split and reassemble. RNA messengers help with the transfer of genetic information from the existing cell to the nucleus of the newly formed cell. This process requires electrical energy.
Since magnetic fields interact with and increase natural electrical charges, PEMF therapy can assist with this information transfer. These benefits of PEMF therapy are frequently seen with wound healing and often with tissue regeneration.
Besides injury, one of the biggest threats to overall health and wellness is stress, and life is loaded with it. Our reactions to stressors are either healthy (adaptive), or unhealthy (maladaptive). For example, when your body temperature rises, you sweat. This is a healthy response to a stressor. Over time, however, stress is like water wearing down rock—it has cumulative effects. If you continue to sweat without replenishing your fluids, the sweating, which was originally a healthy response, causes you to become dehydrated, an unhealthy occurrence.
Our bodies respond to stress in many ways. When a stressor presents itself (whether it be an angry client on the phone, a packed schedule, or bad traffic), our bodies produce a low-level “fight or flight” response. This response causes the brain to release chemicals that stimulate the nervous system. Adrenalin is pumped into the bloodstream along with extra sugar and fat to fuel muscles. Mental activity is focused; some organs slow their activity while others are accelerated—muscles tense up, breathing rate increases, there may be tightness in the chest or queasiness in the stomach. These reactions are present in varying degrees depending on the stressor.
The cumulative or chronic occurrence of even mild stressors may not allow adequate or full recovery from these responses, and result in very real and increasingly widespread health problems. Stress reactions hasten the decline of our overall health by actually damaging some organs and accelerating the wear and tear on others. Stress accelerates the aging process, and can cause heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, fatigue, immune problems, anxiety and depression, and many other problems. Whenever there is muscular tension, as is often caused by stress, the blood supply to the tissues involved is diminished. If allowed to linger within the body, these tensions can cause fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. It is likely that stress is responsible for close to 70% of the problems seen by today’s doctors.
Research has shown that daily use of PEMF therapies alter stress responses by acting directly on the nervous system, glands, cells, tissues, and organs. By acting on the hypothalamus and increasing urine excretion of adrenaline, PEMFs have been shown to inhibit activation of the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands, while preventing a decrease in the body’s ability to resist stress. With continued use of magnetic therapies, the excitability of the nervous system also decreases, and emotional reactions accompanying stress are corrected. Long-term use of PEMFs may be able to help the body remodel tissues that tend to be hyper-reactive to chronic or acute stress, so that over time they will become less and less reactive.
Stress also causes a very quick and significant decrease in white blood cell counts, creating a sudden state of immune vulnerability, such as may be caused by lack of sleep or travel. PEMFs increase host resistance by enhancing some immune functions.
Stress reactions are immediate but recovery takes hours, and sometimes days. Since the effects of stress are cumulative, a daily routine of reducing the physiologic response becomes necessary to ward off long-term damage. We all have a need to neutralize the effects of daily stress before they become noticeable as disease.
In addition to stress, the natural aging process also affects our overall health. Cellular turnover slows as we age. Eventually, cell division happens more slowly and less efficiently until cells are dying faster than they are replicating. Breaks in the body’s electrical system, as happens with aging, cause problems with cell communication and cell metabolism. With magnetic field therapy, the breaks are repaired, and with daily use, maintained. PEMFs actually promote the body’s production of its own ATP (which fuels cellular energy), activating the cellular antioxidant defenses across the whole body.
Additionally, magnetic field therapy helps to restore neuron-transmitters, cellular communication, and brain function. It increases blood oxygen levels and circulation. With continued use, PEMFs can begin to balance blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Because magnetic fields decrease pain and inflammation, diseases like arthritis are better controlled. As cellular energy increases, immune system functions are boosted.
Health maintenance with magnetic therapies is made much easier with regular use. Daily use doesn’t require us to play catch-up. Imbalances can be rebalanced before we even become aware of them. Nature has a tendency to kick us while we’re down. PEMFs can help prevent us from going down in the first place.
Visit Dr. Pawluk’s web site for much more on PEMF
The History of PEMF
The first scientific discovery of the healing and therapeutic values of electro-magnetic pulse has an interesting back-story. It begins when the telegraph copper cable was being laid in the ocean between London to NY. When there was a break in the cable, the technicians had to determine exactly where the break was. After all, they couldn’t just send a diver down into the depths of the ocean with a flashlight. Instead, they sent a high voltage pulse of electricity. Wherever the electric charge hit a break in the cable, it would jump and create a spark gap which made a noise. Acoustical equipment on a ship near-by could hear the sound. They were then able to send a diver down to the exact spot where the noise was coming from. Technicians on land would then shut off the electricity, and the diver would fix the break in the cable. But the men on land feeding the pulse through the cable with the high voltage machine noticed an interesting phenomenon: various pains that they had been suffering from disappeared. So what’s the story and history of PEMF?
Cleopatra was probably the first royal celebrity to use magnets. Stories say that she slept with a Lodestone (magnetic stone) to keep her skin youthful. The therapeutic knowledge was passed to the Greeks who have been using magnets for healing since 2500 BC. Aristotle and Plato also referred to the benefits of Lodestones in their work. In the East, magnet therapy has a long history in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folk medicine. Reliable documentation tells us that Chinese doctors believed in the therapeutic value of magnets at least 2,000-3,000 years ago. Five hundred years ago, Paracelsus, a Swiss physician and alchemist, wondered if diseases could be manipulated by magnets, using lodestone as the best magnets available then. But natural lodestone are quite weak and few people paid much attention to his ideas until the discovery of carbon steel magnets in the 1770s. During the 1800s, most of the discoveries relating electricity to magnetism were made by the early pioneers of modern physics: Gauss, Weber, Faraday and Maxwell. In 1898, Nikola Tesla published and delivered a paper at the 8th annual meeting of the American Electro-Therapeutic Association in Buffalo, NY. Tesla stated that one of the early observed and remarkable features of pulsed magnetism was its apparent harmlessness, which made it possible to pass relatively great amounts of electrical energy through the body of a person. This unique property of the human body indicates an inherent adaptation and perhaps innate compatibility toward the presence of high voltage electric fields, probably due to high trans-membrane potential already present in cellular tissue.
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first man in space. Yet, for his one hour and 48 minutes of making a single cycle around the earth, the man paid a heavy price. He came back to earth in near-critical condition, in spite of having had sufficient water, food and oxygen. He had severe bone loss, muscle degeneration, decreased metabolism, loss of perception/disorientation, and debilitating depression. The question of what caused Gagarin’s physical debilitation had to be answered before another flight was scheduled. Within short order, the puzzle was solved. It was Gagarin’s separation from the natural pulsed magnetic energy of the earth that was the problem. Since that initial flight, all space-suits and space-stations have been equipped with pulsed magnetic devices. Science has documented that all living cells need exposure to pulsed magnetic fields; without this exposure, for even short periods of time, the effects on the body are the same as what Gagarin experienced. Within hours of non-exposure to the pulsating magnetic field of earth, cells die.
Since the 1970s, pulsed electro-mgnetic field (PEMF) therapy is used to stimulate bone repair in non-union and other fractures, and it is approved by the FDA. Powerful electro-magnets are also used in brain and muscle research to generate currents strong enough to fire nerves that trigger sensations and flex muscles. Today, thousands of studies around the world are showing its benefits in healing soft-tissue sounds: suppressing inflammatory responses at the cell membrane level to alleviate pain, and increase range of motion. PEMF is now being investigated experimentally for osteoarthritis, stress incontinence, migraines, and many other conditions.