Pulsed Electromagnetic
Field Therapy (PEMF)

The Frequency of Change

I’ve seen a lot of information about Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy in the last couple of years. As in many areas, there appears to be a wide variety of equipment and procedures that use this moniker. And as usual, there’s a big difference among the approaches being used. Waveforms, intensity, frequency and other variables are very diverse, covering a broad spectrum.

Some machines warn people not to use them if they have a pacemaker, for instance. Some units produce an electrical shock type feeling for a brief time. Some use pads applied to the skin, others have induction heads, and so on. All of them claim to get great results, and the literature on PEMF is very positive overall in regards to benefits.

Which leads me to ask: Is one type of approach or machine better than others? This question led me to look at the basic science behind what we are treating. In regard to electromagnetic fields, how does the body work under normal circumstances? Let’s review some of the information in this area.

The intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field is relatively weak, measuring .33 gauss at the equator and about .66 gauss at the poles. This translates to 33 microtesla at the equator and 66 microtesla at the poles. (1 Tesla = 10,000 gauss or 1 gauss = .0001 Tesla).

It would seem that the best intensity used for therapy is what the Earth naturally provides, which would be less than 100 µT (microtesla). In addition, the field strength is not constant, but varies. Therefore, to properly duplicate nature, a pulsed field, rather than static magnets, will probably be more effective.

So if we seek to understand and copy nature, we should look for pulsating therapy devices that can produce intensities under 100 µT (approximately). In support of this approach, the World Health Organization considers a continuous magnetic field of 100 microtesla (1 Gauss) at 50Hz as safe.

Furthermore, the upper limit of strength for induced electromagnetic fields according to DIN (German Industry Norm) is 400 µT. There are no known risks with the use of systems of low electromagnetic fields, but all of us are familiar with negative effects from electromagnetic “smog”.

As further support, Adey and Bawin performed a series of experiments examining the affects of various frequencies on cell function. They found a range of frequencies and intensities in which treated cells responded positively. Outside of these parameters, the cells had no response or only minimal response. The experimentally determined frequency is now described as the Adey (or biological) Window, and is between 0-30Hz. This range corresponds very closely to the fundamental and first couple harmonics of the earth’s naturally occurring frequencies.

The wave form used is also critical, as the vibrating cell membrane responds preferentially to vibrations near its own natural frequency. The simplest form of vibration is the sine wave form.

There are a number of possible pulse shapes (“saw-tooth”, “rectangular”, “sinusoidal”), some of which are even protected by patents. In addition, some machines use other types of pulse shapes, including square waves.

After reviewing numerous machines, it was clear to me that the Advanced Medical Systems (AMS) line, based on the work of Dr. Wolfgang Ludwig, was the only equipment that not only had all of these characteristics, but in addition, these units have some unique features as well.

For instance, the shape of the signal used in the magnetic-field instruments developed by Dr. Ludwig corresponds in its time dependence to the shape of the signal which can be observed when pulses are transferred in the natural nervous system.

The most significant characteristic of this pulse shape is the extremely fast front edge (approx. 1 microsecond) and the slightly slower back edge. As a result of the fast rise, the magnetic field changes extremely quickly. According to the Faraday Law of Induction this guarantees a great effect even though only a weak magnetic field is being used. Using these characteristics thus ensures an optimal affect on cell function.

In addition to the strength and type of waveform, we are exposed to various natural frequencies. These include the Schumann, Geomagnetic, and Solar waves. Dr. Ludwig found that unless all of these waves were applied in the proper proportions, one would eventually have an increased rate of side effects. Those using only the Schumann frequency had beneficial effects at first, but then began to develop signs of increased stress. Adding the additional frequencies did not result in these side effects. Of all the machines available, the only one I know of that has these frequencies as an inherent part of the therapy are the Ludwig units made by Advanced Medical Systems.

There is a lot more depth to this issue and a more complete description of this equipment can be found on the AMS website.

I have only recently started using the Medisend Super III, and will present a couple of case reports regarding my experience with the equipment so far.

The first is an 82 year old white female with chronic pain and multiple health conditions. She has had multiple surgeries, including procedures for spinal stenosis and high dose limb perfusion chemotherapy for melanoma. Her pain has been present and constant for over 14 years, resulting in her being able to sleep for only a couple of hours at a time, and only with the use of pain medications. She has been evaluated and treated at Pain Clinics, had a TENS unit surgically implanted, and has received multiple courses of several types of physical therapy. She has also been on multiple medications, with no lasting relief from any of the above.

Following her first treatment, she was nearly pain free for 18 hours. After the third treatment, she stated that muscle spasm was now her main complaint. One treatment resolved this issue.

At this time her pain is not completely gone, and varies in intensity. However, compared to her status prior to therapy, she is much improved. She has received a total of eight treatments, and currently continues to receive treatments to further decrease her pain levels and to improve her other health issues.

The next is a 58 year old white male with allergies. Symptoms have been lifelong and severe. Improvement was noticed after the first treatment. By the fourth treatment, symptoms were reduced by about 85%. Medication use has decreased substantially, and treatment is continuing.

Based on the literature and my own experiences (however slight), I find PEMF to be an extremely valuable addition to my therapeutic repertory. For those not familiar with this area, I encourage you to take a little time and investigate this field for your own (and perhaps your patients’) benefit. Two lectures on this method will also be presented during the forthcoming OIRF group tour to Germany.

An Exclusive Article for Members
From THE BRIDGE Newsletter of OIRF
Published October 2011

© Copyright 2011, Dr. Theodore Cole, OH USA

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