Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy… How Does It Work ?
By Dr. D. C. Laycock, Ph.D. Med. Eng. MBES, MIPEM
All living cells within the body possess potentials between the inner and outer membrane of the cell, which, under normal healthy circumstances, are fixed. Different cells, e.g. Muscle cells and Nerve cells, have different potentials of about -70 mV respectively. When cells are damaged, these potentials change such that the balance across the membrane changes, causing the attraction of positive sodium ions into the cell and negative trace elements and proteins out of the cell. The net result is that liquid is attracted into the interstitial area and swelling or edema ensues. Through research findings, the application of pulsed magnetic fields have been shown to help the body to restore normal potentials at an accelerated rate, thus aiding the healing of most wounds and reducing swelling faster. The most effective frequencies found by researchers so far are very low frequency pulses of a 50Hz or lower base. These, if gradually increased to 25 pulses per second for time periods of 600 seconds (10 minutes), condition the damaged tissue to aid the natural healing process.
PAIN REDUCTION is another area in which pulsed electromagnetic therapy has been shown to be very effective. Pain signals are transmitted along nerve cells to pre-synaptic terminals. At these terminals, channels in the cell alter due to a movement of ions. The membrane potential changes, causing the release of a chemical transmitter from a synaptic vesicle contained within the membrane. The pain signal is chemically transferred across the synaptic gap to chemical receptors on the post synaptic nerve cell. This all happens in about 1/2000th of a second, as the synaptic gap is only 20 to 50 n.-meter wide. As the pain signal, in chemical form, approaches the post synaptic cell, the membrane changes and the signal is transferred. If we look at the voltages across the synaptic membrane then, under no pain conditions, the level is about -70 mV. When the pain signal approaches, the membrane potential increases to approximately +30 mV, allowing a sodium flow. This in turn triggers the synaptic vesicle to release the chemical transmitter and so transfer the pain signal across the synaptic gap or cleft. After the transmission, the voltage reduces back to its normal quiescent level until the next pain signal arrives.
The application of pulsed magnetism to painful sites causes the membrane to be lowered to a hyper-polarization level of about -90 mV. When a pain signal is detected, the voltage must now be raised to a relatively higher level in order to fire the synaptic vesicles.
Since the average change of potential required to reach the trigger voltage of nearly +30 mV is +100 mV, the required change is too great and only +10 mV is attained. This voltage is generally too low to cause the synaptic vesicle to release the chemical transmitter and hence the pain signal is blocked. The most effective frequencies that have been observed from research in order to cause the above changes to membrane potentials, are a base frequency of 200Hz and pulse rate settings of between 5 and 25Hz.
Source: Lecture abstract of 28-01-1995, Dr. D. C. Laycock, Ph.D. Med. Eng. MBES, MIPEM, B.Ed. (Hons Phys. Sc.). Consultant Clinical Engineer, Westville Associates and Consultants (UK).
Beneficial Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields
Bioelectric Research Center, Columbia University, Riverdale, New York 10463.
Selective control of cell function by applying specifically configured, weak, time-varying magnetic fields has added a new, exciting dimension to biology and medicine. Field parameters for therapeutic, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMFs) were designed to induce voltages similar to those produced, normally, during dynamic mechanical deformation of connective tissues. As a result, a wide variety of challenging musculoskeletal disorders have been treated successfully over the past two decades. More than a quarter million patients with chronically ununited fractures have benefitted, worldwide, from this surgically non-invasive method, without risk, discomfort, or the high costs of operative repair. Many of the athermal bioresponses, at the cellular and subcellular levels, have been identified and found appropriate to correct or modify the pathologic processes for which PEMFs have been used. Not only is efficacy supported by these basic studies but by a number of double-blind trials. As understanding of mechanisms expands, specific requirements for field energetics are being defined and the range of treatable ills broadened. These include nerve regeneration, wound healing, graft behavior, diabetes, and myocardial and cerebral ischemia (heart attack and stroke), among other conditions. Preliminary data even suggest possible benefits in controlling malignancy.
Source: J Cell Biochem 1993 Apr;51(4):387-93
After applying external electromagnetic fields ranging 5 to 8 Hz, large improvements were detected in Alzheimer’s patients. These included improved visual memory, drawing performance, spatial orientation, mood, short-term memory and social interactions. Ref R. Sandyk, “Alzheimer’s Disease: Improvement of Visual Memory and Visuoconstructive Performance Treatment with Picotesla Range Magnetic Fields,” International Journal of Neurosci. R. Sandyk et al.: ‘Age-Related Disruption of Circadian Rhythms: Possible Relationship to Memory Impairment and Implications for Therapy with Magnetic Fields, ‘International Journal of Neuroscience, 59 (4), August 1991, pp. 259-262. – The circadian rhythm seems to be causally related to memory loss in the elderly and possibly also to Alzheimer’s disease. PEMF can probably improve memory performance in elderly patients by resetting the biological clock. R. Sandyk: ‘Alzheimer’s Disease: Improvement of Visual Memory and Visuoconstructive Performance by Treatment with low intensity PEMF in Picotesla intensity ‘ International Journal of Neuroscience, 76 (3-4), June 1994, pp. 185ff. – Two Alzheimer’s patients showed a definite improvement after treatment with PEMF, especially in the visual memory and their drawing abilities. There were also improvements in other cognitive functions, in the ability of these patients to orient themselves in space, their mental/emotional condition, their ability to make social contact and their short-term memory.
Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Fields (PEMFs).
Just imagine, reaching into the body and healing an imbalance without touching anything. This is what magnetic fields do. This is the essence of energy medicine. These “waves” are the future medicine. Magnetic field devices that are even now becoming available to the public deliver medical fields that are “like a breeze in the trees”. The branches and leaves are moving but nothing is seen to be doing it. The body is like air to a magnetic field. The body is transparent to these fields. This is the magic potential of magnetic fields.
The earth is a giant magnet, the soil and rocks are magnetized and normally there are strong magnetic fields in the atmosphere. Human biology, which developed and matures in this natural magnetic environment, is totally dependent on it. Magnetic fields have been found by accident over the eons, to help people. Rocks were reputed to be used by Hippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine, to relieve headaches. The Chinese wrote about how to use magnetic stones on acupuncture points in 200 BC. D’Arsonval in France used pulsed electric magnetic fields in the 1700’s to stimulate the body. In the 1970’s and 80’s in the west, scientists began to study the magnetic fields produced by the body itself. This new field is called bioelectromagnetics. We now know definitively that the body itself is a large electromagnet. We also know the body produces electric fields.
Ask any engineer and you will be told that where there is electricity there is a magnetic field. You will also be told that when a magnet moves past an object capable of reacting electrically, you will generate electricity. The opposite is also true. When an object capable of reacting electrically is moved past a magnet, electricity will also be generated. What this means is that when the body, which is very magnetically active, interacts with specific medically designed magnetic fields, tiny therapeutically beneficial electric charges are generated.
What does mean to you? It means that you will see magnetic fields that are energy medicine, being used more and more in the future to heal problems that medicines can’t or haven’t been able to do. Most medicines are used to relieve symptoms but don’t remove or heal the cause of the problem. They don’t help the tissues heal themselves. Most medicines were developed to deal with problems far along in their course. They can be very effective at this stage but often carry significant risks. Doctors and consumers must continuously weigh the potential risks and benefits. The risks of these medicines are greater than the benefits for preventing problems or when the problems are very early in their development. If this is so, what alternatives do we have?
Let’s take an example. When you have a skin infection, and damage has already been done to the tissues, antibiotics will typically be prescribed to halt the spread of the bacteria. The antibiotics don’t heal the infection; they only stop the bacteria from multiplying further and doing more damage. The infection has progressed because the body wasn’t able to handle it completely by itself. When the bacteria stop growing the body then has a fighting chance to heal the tissues and kill the remaining bacteria. What does medicine do to help the body to heal? Most of the time, nothing. The doctor relies on the body doing the rest of the job by itself. What can you do to speed recovery and assure better repair? Traditionally, herbals, vitamins and minerals, rest, good nutrition and moist heat will help. Also, now magnetic fields can be used.
Magnetic fields have been found in extensive research in Europe, in humans and all kinds of animal species, to have many positive actions in the body. The medical magnetic fields work by stimulating the acupuncture system, the immune system of the body, improving circulation and oxygen levels in tissues, relaxing muscles, stimulating tissue healing, healing fractures and strengthening bones faster, decreasing nerve irritability, removing swelling, decreasing clotting and improving cell metabolism. Some very strong magnetic fields can actually stimulate muscles and nerves – used for incontinence, rebuilding muscles, nerves and depression.
How can something do all these seemingly different actions? The primary reason is because magnetic fields affect the movement of calcium ions and nitric oxide, recently awarded the title of the molecule of the decade. Calcium is not just in bones. It is involved in a large number of cellular chemical processes that are impaired tissue injuries. There are many other actions, too numerous to list here.
PEMFs are produced by special machines that generate specific electromagnetic signals found to have beneficial medical effects. Important distinctions among them are how much of the body they cover, the strength of the field(s), the configuration of the field, flexibility and usefulness, length of time to be used, frequencies and waveform. PEMFs can produce actions in the body even with fields that are much weaker than the earth. Actions of PEMFs can be expected to happen faster than with static magnets. These wave-like or resonance fields act like “throwing pebbles in a pond”. The action continues long after the field is removed. These fields were the first ones to be approved by the FDA in the 1980’s. The first were for healing fractures that didn’t unite after 6 months. New ones are used to stimulate muscles and nerves. Others are very high frequency and have been used to decrease pain, swelling and heal wounds.
Magnetic fields are very safe. Even the strongest magnetic fields, generated by MRI machines, have been found to be safe, except for very limited circumstances. Do not use medical magnetic fields, except under expert advice, when people have implanted electrical devices, like pacemakers and defibrillators. They are not advised to be used in pregnancy either, since safety has not been conclusively established. (our researchers have used the BioPhoton LS with pregnancy and newborns with positive results)
To summarize, more and more medical care will include magnetic fields in all sorts of applications to heal the body. They will be used in conjunction with conventional medicine and other complementary health techniques. Many magnetic fields will be able to be applied by people themselves with or without direction or order by a physician or other practitioner. This is possible today because more and more information about this new technology and more equipment are becoming readily available at affordable prices.
William Pawluk, MD, MSc
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic fields on Pain
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Cancer
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Parkinson
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Osteoporosis
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Alzheimer
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Arthritis
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Fibromyalgia
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on MS
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Depression
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Heart Dis-ease
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Migraine
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Sleep
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Wounds
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Stroke
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Incontinence
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Neurological
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