History of PEMF

Listed below are recent timeline advancements for which the United State FDA has approved specific uses for PEMF Therapy

  • 1979 – Non-union fractures
  • 1998 – Urinary Incontinence and Muscle Stimulation
  • 2004 – Cervical Fusion Patients At High-Risk of Non-Fusion
  • 2006 – Depression and Anxiety
  • 2011 – Brain Cancer
  • 2015 – FDA Upgrade PEMF Classification from Class 3 to Class 2

Listed below are several significant steps in history that has helped shape today’s modern day PEMF technology and all of the proven uses for it within the health and wellness fields of study.

PEMF History Begins With Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was the first modern individual to be recognized for manipulating electromagnetic fields for health purposes. His methods and patents in the early 1900s for the Tesla coil were also used for electromagnetic medical devices.

Five hundred years ago, Paracelsus a Swiss physician and alchemist, wondered if diseases could be manipulated by magnets, using lodestones as the best magnets available then.

But, natural lodestones are quite weak and few people paid much attention to his ideas until the discovery of carbon-steel magnets in the 1700′s. During the 1800′s, most of the discoveries relating electricity to magnetism were made by the early pioneers of our modern technical world, men such as Gauss, Weber, Faraday and Maxwell among others One of the more interesting magnetic theories postulates something called “Magnetic Field Deficiency Syndrome.” It is offered as an explanation of biomagnetic effects by Dr. Kyochi Nakagawa of Japan. The Earth’s magnetic field is not fixed in position or strength. In the last hundred years, it has weakened on the average by about 6 percent. In the last thousand years, it has fallen nearly 30 percent. Dr. Nakagawa argues that since humans evolved in a magnetic field, it is necessary for proper health. A falling magnetic field puts us at risk and magnetic therapy makes up the deficit. The truth is, no one really understands the mechanisms by which magnetic fields affect human health.

There are many theories but very little agreement. It is a problem as complicated as a human being, concerning dozens of organs and thousands of different molecules. Just because you can’t explain something, doesn’t mean it can’t happen. For two hundred years, it has been possible to build magnets from coils of wire powered by electricity called electromagnets. Such devices can be pulsed to produce magnetic fields that change very rapidly. This opens a whole new world of medical applications since changing magnetic fields can induce tiny electrical currents in human tissue. Pulsing electromagnetic therapy is approved by the FDA to promote the healing of serious bone fractures. And powerful electromagnets are used in brain and muscle research to generate currents strong enough to fire nerves that trigger sensations and flex muscles. To date, there have been many basic research studies and many clinical trials of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy.

Historically, as far back as 1890, the American Electro-Therapeutic Association conducted annual conferences on the therapeutic use of electricity and electrical devices by physicians on ailing patients. Some involved current flow through the patient, while others were electrically powered devices. At first, only direct current (DC) devices were utilized in the medical doctor’s office for relieving pain.

PEMF has a long history dating back 100 years to Nicola Tesla.  He illustrates direct influence of PEMF Simplified explanation of PEMF effects, and illustration of agglutination reversal, and enhancement of cell field strength.

Double Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling also was very influential with regards to the study of PEMF and its healing effects.

PEMF Technology in the Soviet Union

The rise in power of political medicine in the west and the shift to near complete dependence on pharmaceuticals for health led to a period of dormancy, which lasted nearly sixty years. However, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy was embraced and developed in the Soviet Union and is still widely deployed throughout their healthcare system today.  Significant levels of research in magnetic therapy was also carried out for the Soviet space program.

The fall of the Soviet Union allowed government manufacturers to license their PEMF technology and it became commercially available to the west in the 1970s. Public awareness then increased amidst reports of enhanced speed and endurance of racehorses treated with electromagnetic fields.

Professional sports doctors subsequently decided to experiment with the veterinarian devices on elite athletes and in 1979 the FDA allowed electromagnetic fields to be used on humans for non-union and delayed union fractures. Ten years later it was approved for the treatment of pain and edema in superficial soft tissues.

NASA awarded PEMF patent

NASA was awarded a US patent in 2009 – US 7,601,114 B2 – that utilised pulsed electromagnetic fields to enhance tissue repair in mammals. This was as a result of research carried out to find methods to reverse the bone loss experienced by astronauts when they were outside the earth’s magnetic field. As an adjunct to this, pulsed magnetic fields were also used to stimulate the growth of stem cells.

The EMPpad iMRS is the only PEMF product that is, not only, capable of delivering on all these areas
of wellness, but will also provide the best experience and most profound health benefits achievable from using PEMF technology.

Other Interesting Facts on PEMF

The Greek physician Galen noted the cleansing powers of magnetism in his book De Simplicum Medicamentorum Temperamentis Ac Facultatibus around 200 B.C. The word magnet comes from the ancient Greek magnes lithos, meaning “stone from Magnesia,” an area of Greece that was known for its volcanic rocks with magnetic attributes.
We now know the mineral in these rocks is magnetite. Magnetic therapy was already practiced in China around 2000 B.C., as recorded in The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine. In that ancient medical text, “magnetic stones” were advocated to correct health imbalances. (Lawrence 1998/1) In the Middle Ages magnetic treatment was delivered by placing “lodestones” on the body. Lodestones, or “guiding stones,” were so named because of their use in navigational compasses by Viking, European and Arab sailors.

At the end of the 19th century the electron was discovered and electro-magnetism was brought into the realm of science on the atomic level. Albert Einstein showed that electricity and magnetism are not discrete phenomena, but different aspects of the same phenomenon. (Encyclopedia Britannica Vol. 18 15th Ed. 1991/2) Medical textbooks included magnetism and electricity as therapeutic alternatives for insomnia, fatigue, arthritis, pain and convulsions. Magnetic boots, rings, girdles, caps and ointments were available in mail-order catalogues. At the same time Daniel David Palmer, Canadian fishmonger turned “magnetic healer” founded Palmer’s School of Magnetic Cure in Davenport, Iowa. When in 1895 he began applying short-lever manipulations to the spine with great effect, the Palmer School of Chiropractic was born.

Mention the word “magnet” and the word “therapy” together in the same sentence in North America today and many people start to backpedal. Several historical events explain why this is so. Magnetic therapy became shrouded in mystery in part because of Franz Anton Mesmer, an 18th century German physician and mathematician. He wrote his doctoral thesis on gravitational fields in human health. He postulated that the body had “magnetic poles” and that these poles move out of alignment with the universal magnetic flow causing all illness. He called magnetism within the body “animal magnetism.” His patients sometimes fainted or went into convulsions in his Paris salon, claiming that they had been “mesmerized.” Mesmer’s notions of magnetism gradually became equated with hypnotic suggestion.

Magnetic therapy as a branch of medicine and as an area of clinical research fell into further disfavor in North America as a result of the Abraham Flexner’s report on “Medical Education in the United States and Canada,” released in 1908. At the time of the Flexner Report, Drs. Will and Charlie Mayo, with their father, William Worrall Mayo, were still in the early years of the world’s first group medical practice in the Minnesota frontier town of Rochester. The Mayo Clinic was an impressive display of great wisdom and forethought. By contrast, leaches, bloodlettings, elixirs and potions were also commonplace in most other parts of the United States and Canada. The rise in power of political medicine and the shift to nearly 100% dependence on pharmaceuticals for health led to an unfortunate period of dormancy, lasting 60 years, until the mid 1970s.
Beginning immediately after World War II, Japan began generating various electromagnetic wave shapes by changing electrical currents. This modality quickly moved to Europe, first in Romania and the former Soviet Union. From 1960 to 1985, nearly every European country designed and manufactured its own magnetic therapy systems. Todorov published the first book on modern electromagnetic field therapy in 1982 in Bulgaria. This work summarized clinical observations using magnetic fields to treat 2700 patients with 33 different pathologies.

The modern clinical application of electro-biology in North America began in 1971 when Friedenberg described their success in the healing of a nonunion fracture treated with 10 micro amps of direct current delivered with stainless steel electrodes. Avoiding the invasive nature of Friedenberg’s direct currents, Dr. Andrew Bassett at Columbia University Medical Center introduced a new approach for the treatment of non-healing bone fractures and pseudarthroses that employed very specific, biphasic low frequency electromagnetic signals. Public awareness also increased in the mid-1970s amidst reports of successful enhancement of the speed and endurance of racehorses treated with electromagnetic fields. Based on the published work of Dr. Bassett, in 1979 the FDA allowed electromagnetic fields to be used in the USA for non-union and delayed union fractures. A decade later the FDA allowed the use of pulsed radiofrequency electromagnetic fields for the treatment of pain and edema in superficial soft tissues. It is now commonly accepted that weak electromagnetic fields are capable of initiating various beneficial biological processes including healing for delayed fractures, pain relief, and modulation of muscle tone and spasm.