Mats-Olof Mattsson, Myrtill Simkó
Electromagnetic fields (EMF) have multiple medical uses and are underused.
Scientists have found medical use for frequencies from zero to the THz (trillions of Hertz) range.
The field needs more exposure and confirming studies so that more people will enjoy the benefits of light therapy.
This paper is a scientific literature review of PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy.
Well-Known Healing Effects
Multiple studies confirm the healing effects of EMF on bone healing, in cancer treatment, and for improving neurological conditions.
EMFs are also used in some diagnostic scenarios.
Proposed EMF Spectrum Bands
EMF spectrum bands differ from specialty to specialty.
(See the EMF Channel article: How to Grasp Confusing Light Therapy and 5G EM Frequencies).
The authors propose these bands for medical discussion:
Proposed Medical EMF Categories
- Zero (0) Hz
- SMF (static magnetic field)
- SEF (static electric field)
- 1-<300 Hz
- ELF EF (extremely low frequency electric fields)
- ELF MF (extremely low frequency magnetic fields)
- 300 Hz-<100 kHz
- IF EMF (intermediate frequency electromagnetic fields)
- 100 kHz-<300 MHz
- RF EMF (radio frequency electromagnetic fields (“radiowaves”)
- 300 MHz-<30 GHz
- MW (microwaves)
- 30 GHz-<300 GHz
- MMW (millimeter waves)
- 300 GHz-10/30 THz
- TW (terahertz waves)
Medical EMF in Use
Medical EMF is well-established in bone healing , cancer, and neurological conditions.
EMFs for Bone Healing
EMF is well-established in bone healing, especially in delayed union fractures and non-union fractures. These are likely to permanently fail to heal.
EMFs generate oseoblasts which allow these fractures to heal. Pulsed EMFS (PEMFs) were approved in 1979 to treat non-union fractures. PEMF is an electric but non-magnetic therapy.
Its action is similar to the breeze plants require to grow strong. It applies a light vibration to the bone. This treatment also promotes an anti-inflammatory effect.
Not all studies confirm bone-healing effects. (Editor’s note: Photobiomodulation (PBM) has a bi-phasic dose response. Only treatment in the optimal treatment window creates beneficial effects. See our review of Dr. Hamblin’s PBM summary: Red and Near Infrared Photobiomodulation Effects (review).
EMFs for Cancer Therapy
Chemotherapy is less available for brain cancer because it cannot pass the blood-brain barrier.
This is an opportunity for EMFs, which can deliver photon energy to gliablatoma (a common brain tumor type).
Hot (thermal) nanoparticles stimulated with radio frequency (RF) EMFs kill glioblastoma and breast tumors.
This brain tumor breakthrough uses the EMFs known as the “Tumor Treating Fields (TTF).”
Doctors apply a 27.12 MHz carrier frequency and a 200 kHz tumor treating field. This creates a mild pulsing energy to interrupt cancer cells’ ability to divide.
200 kHz is one of the TTFs. This treatment also reduces and kill liver tumors.
It induces cell death in the electroporation process, which is the use of fields to open cells.
Read more about the success of Tumor Treating Fields on the Johns Hopkins medicine site: TT Fields (Tumor Treating Fields) for Brain Tumors.
Neurological Medical EMFs
Neurology probably has the most well-known EMF therapies.
A TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) device reduces pain. (Editor’s note: I own several TENS devices. They reduce muscle pain to nothing. I love them.) “Transcutaneous” means that it penetrates the skin without breaking through it.
ECT (electroshock therapy) is better known for its misuse than as a viable therapy. But ECT is now a humane and actively-employed EMF treatment for depression, despite its historical abuse.
VNS (vagus nerve stimulation) is a successful EMF treatment for formerly intractable neurlogical conditions. VNS is successful at treating epilepsy, chronic pain, and migraine.
rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) uses magnetic fields to treat depression.
DBS (deep brain stimulation) is an invasive out patient treatment for essential tremor, Parkinson’s Disease, and obsessive compulsive disorder. DBS is being tested for epilepsy and depression.
tPEMF (transcranial pulsed electromagnetic fields) is a successful EMF treatment for pain in both people and animals. Its is approved for treating therapy-resistant depression.
Healing EMF Modalities
AC current, extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF), pulsed EMF (PEMF), and diathermy (heat) have wound-healing effects.
LF MF (low-frequency sine wave magnetic fields) improves spinal cord injury nerve regeneration.
PEMF and ELF MF improve immune system response.
Millimeter Waves (MMW) in the 30 GHz-<300 GHz range reduce pain and are used in breast imaging devices.
300 GHz-10/30 THz wave improve some skin conditions.
EMF already has significant science backing its use for healing bones, cancer, neurological conditions, wound healing, immune issues, pain reduction, and skin conditions.
EMF applied in proper, clinical doses, is a safe alternative for some diagnostic imaging and thermal treatment modalities.
Also found on PUBMED