Recently, because several different patients have been urging me to investigate it, I have gotten into energy medicine. Unfortunately, there is little information in the conventional medicine world that deals with anything but how to treat problems with pills because…that’s where the money is. Nonetheless, there is real science there and if it can help patients we should be familiar with the topic. The Hindus around 4000 BC used magnetized stones called lodestones to treat illness. The Chinese around 2000 BC had protocols for using lodestones on acupuncture points. Cleopatra was said to have worn magnetic jewelry (lodestones) to prevent aging. Hippocrates, in Greece, was known to use magnets for pain. More recently, the Russians have been using electric devices for decades to promote healing and health.

One of the earliest scientific accounts of using magnets is found in the book De Magnete, written in 1600 by William Gilbert, the personal physician of the English Queen. This natural philosopher used “lode stones” to treat a variety of health problems of ordinary British citizens and even the Queen of England. Contemporary magnet therapy began in Japan immediately after World War II by introducing both magnetic and electromagnetic fields in clinical practice. This modality quickly moved to Europe, first in Romania and the former Soviet Union. During the period of 1960–1985, nearly all European countries designed and manufactured their own magnetic therapeutic systems which utilized various waveshapes. In fact, the first book on magnet therapy, written by Todorov, was published in Bulgaria in 1982 summarizing the experience of utilizing magnetic fields for treatment of 2,700 patients having 33 different pathologies. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that American Drs. Andrew Bassett and Arthur Pilla created a noninvasive PEMF device that succeeded in healing a non-union fracture. The 1980s also saw the introduction of the first FDA-approved PEMF system, intended for use as a bone stimulator to treat nonunion fractures. The seminal book “Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life” was published in 1986 by Dr. Robert Becker and Gary Selden. This book is important because it was one of the first descriptions of the body as an electromagnetic apparatus and therefore very susceptible to magnetic field therapies. Since then thousands of studies using many different devices have shown that electromagnetic fields can have a profound effect on cellular health and as we are fond of saying, cellular and mitochondrial health IS health.

For a long list of scientific articles about the benefits of emf fields you can check out Dr. William Pawluk is an American physician who probably has the most experience with emf generators of all kinds. For those of you skeptical about how emf fields can affect the body you need only look at your iphone. Your iphone’s battery can be recharged by putting it on a mat that emits an emf field. So too can your body’s batteries be recharged by placing it on a mat that emits the appropriate frequencies, intensities and waveform. We know that emf fields in our environment have the potential to harm us. Why would you doubt that emf fields therefore have the potential to heal us.

Need more? Of course you do…let’s get down to basic science. As taken directly from Dr. Pawluk’s website…All matter is made up of moving particles. Forces exist in space around these moving particles. These forces are magnetic fields. By definition force is an interaction that changes the motion of an object. An electric field is the force field created by the flow of electricity caused by attraction and repulsion of electric charges. A magnetic field is a force field created as a consequence of the flow of electricity. Electric fields and magnetic fields always exist together. One cannot exist without the other. An electromagnetic field, then, is the combination of an electric field and a magnetic field. Our bodies are fundamentally electric. When a person goes into cardiac arrest, for example, a defibrillator is used to apply electric energy to the heart so that they can re-establish a normal rhythm. So, the electricity flowing through our bodies creates electromagnetic fields. External magnetic fields and the bodies native electromagnetic fields interact in proportion to the strength of the fields. Because of these interactions a magnetic field passing through the body will have an effect on the cellular level. Electric and magnetic fields control our chemistry by changing and influencing the motion of charged particles. This movement stimulates a vast array of chemical and electrical actions and tissues helping them rebalance or heal themselves where necessary. Additionally this increased motion of ions and electrolytes help cells increase surveillance energy by as much as 500%. Magnetic fields affect the charge of the cell membranes, rebalancing it so that the membrane channels can open up. These channels are like the doors and windows of a house, by opening them oxygen and nutrients are better able to enter the cell and carbon dioxide and waste are more easily eliminated from the cell. This helps to balance and restore optimum cell function.

Electromagnetic fields affect the charge of the cell membrane. This is the basis for a magnetic field therapy, perfecting and improving basic cellular function in order to combat a variety of health conditions and when possible prevent cellular damage from happening in the first place. Still skeptical? Here’s an article about the benefits of emf therapy from our own SUNY Upstate Medical University.

A PULSING ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD PROMOTES THE DIFFERENTIATION OF OSTEOBLASTS (MC3T3) AT LOW CELL DENSITY IN VITRO. *Button, C; +**Spadaro, JA; **Margulies, B S; **Allen, M J; **Wang, Y; **Damron, T A; *Dept. of Neuroscience and Physiology, **Department of Orthopedic Surgery, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY

Believing in this technology I bought a PEMF machine for my patients to use in the office. My plan is to measure patients phase angle and their arterial flexibility and see if it changes before and after a treatment. I will also be offering it to my patients with acute and chronic pain to see if it helps. It’s not covered by insurance so your doctor will have nothing to do with it. But, there are PEMF machines available in Syracuse to use but you have to do the internet legwork on your own. If I found the guy in Liverpool you can too.

PEMF is not a cure all. But, if you have chronic pain or feel low energy why not give this very safe modality a try? PEMF is not recommended for use in infants under 2 weeks, pregnant women and patients with implantable devices like pacemakers, defibrillators and pain stimulators. This is by no means new technology but it’s new to me and I am eager to check out its potential. Until next month…get well and stay well.

Dr. Barry