So now you’ve read all about the applications of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy (PEMF), about how effective it can be, and about the long-term health improvements you could gain from it — but that’s not all.
To obtain the most value from your PEMF sessions, you also need to know how to apply exposure in such a way that you see the best and fastest results possible.
For this, you will have to know the relevant exposure locations, exposure times and lengths, and the device programming.
The results obtained will be a direct consequence of these variables, so it is important to settle upon as favorable a combination as you can.
By the end of this article, you should be able to figure out what that combination is for your needs.
Location and Type of Device
This is one of the easier variables to figure out.
The general rule of thumb is that, wherever it is that you are seeking treatment, you should direct your PEMF exposure over that region.
For example, healing nonunion fractures is a common reason why people opt to use PEMF.
In that case, you would aim to localize the treatment over the skin surface that lies above the broken bone.
To ensure proper penetration of affected tissues, it helps to position the device as closely to the body as possible.
Similarly, you can direct application to the regions in which you want to see improvement.
If you’re trying to speed up post-surgical healing, for instance, place the applicator near the site of the surgery.
If you’re trying to ease discomfort from a migraine, place the applicator close to the head.
Sometimes the source of your health condition and the areas of the symptoms are not the same.
To illustrate, neuropathic pain can often happen in areas different than the actual damaged nerve: Sciatica from an L4 nerve root affects the lower legs; sciatica from an L5 nerve root affects the big toe and the ankle; and sciatica from the S1 nerve root affects the feet and heels.
However, these symptoms originate from the injury in the lower back or spine.
In such cases, it helps to direct treatment toward the source of the injury, for healing and pain management.
Before starting PEMF treatment, do discuss with your medical expert the root causes of the problems you’re experiencing so that you can apply PEMF properly.
Other times you will have multiple problem areas to treat.
PEMF therapy has been found to be quite promising in mitigating symptoms of arthritis, such as inflammation, pain, loss of range of movement, and more.
But, often, arthritis will affect multiple joints, such as the back, the shoulders, the elbows and knees, the wrists and fingers, the ankles, the feet and heels and toes, and more.
If you have the time, you can direct treatment over each of the affected areas.
But if not, then you can choose a whole-body treatment.
Additionally, you can add more sessions to your regime using a smaller applicator to target the regions that are the most problematic.
Or you might want to use PEMF not to (or not just to) treat one specific condition, but more for general health maintenance.
PEMF treatment can lead to many accumulated benefits over multiple sessions, as it causes positive changes in microcirculation, which consequently helps catalyze improvements in myriad health parameters.
If you’re using PEMF for overall benefits, then the best approach is to choose a whole-body application.
The pulsed electromagnetic waves emitted by PEMF devices enter every tissue and boost cell metabolism everywhere, so your entire body will feel more energized and function better.
Having established all of this, you must think about your needs and desires that you wish to meet with PEMF before purchasing a device.
For whole-body applications, larger-sized mats or machine systems can work well.
For specific applications, smaller mats or pillow pads could be more effective.
You should discuss with the makers and users of different PEMF applicators to understand how they can serve you, before making your decision.
Duration of PEMF Application
The wonderful characteristic of PEMF is that, unlike most forms of treatment, you cannot do too much.
Too much medical drugs can damage your organs and/or cause dependency, chemotherapy can exhaust your entire body and also harm normal cells, and so on.
But you cannot lose in terms of any health outcome by exposing yourself to too much pulsed electromagnetic radiation.
That said, you should keep in mind the intensity of your sessions.
If you are using a non-portable device with high intensity, you can still obtain the results you want with shorter sessions—even 10 minutes a day should suffice!
If your problem is more severe, such as excruciating chronic pain or another chronic condition, you should aim to lengthen your exposure durations as much as possible without inconveniencing yourself.
For general benefits, it is advisable to treat yourself with at least 30 minutes a day to maximize overall benefits.
With lower-intensity systems, you can use the device for as long as you want, or even overnight during sleep.
An easy mistake is to stop using your PEMF device once you stop experiencing symptoms.
However, it is in your best interest to continue with therapy even then, since the underlying cause of your health problem may not yet be resolved.
By doing so, you can prevent symptoms from resurfacing.
And if you are using PEMF for tissue healing or regeneration, then continuing treatment over time will ensure proper recovery.
Additionally, it is helpful to keep in mind that PEMF—which has absolutely no negative side effects for the large majority of users—is also helpful for preventing many future health problems.
It is also effective against the development or intensification of degenerative diseases.
That is why you should try and incorporate PEMF into your schedule, even when you’re feeling completely healthy.
Settings on Your PEMF Device
When we talk about settings, we are referring to the different components of PEMF—namely frequency, intensity, and waveform of your PEMF device.
This is the most difficult aspect of managing your PEMF treatment, since there is no way to make a sweeping generalization for what combination works best for you.
Nonetheless, there are ways to identify your best combination.
For instance, depending on your health condition, different intensities of PEMF might suit you more.
For severe and chronic illnesses, higher-intensity sessions could be most beneficial.
As for waveform, there are still debates even among experts about what shape can induce the most change.
From simple sinusoidal waves to the more complex square and sawtooth waves (and everything in between), there are quite a few options available to buyers.
That is why, for waveform too, you are best off researching benefits for your particular health need.
Finally, for frequency, there is a multitude of options from which you can choose.
Low-intensity sessions have been shown to be the most effective for almost all health conditions.
But even in the low-frequency spectrum, there are different ranges of frequencies that suit different needs.
The concept of “biological window,” i.e. that different organs and parts of the body are responsive to different frequencies, is something that can help you make your decision.
Based on what areas you are targeting, you can find the specific range of frequencies most suitable for you, and apply a frequency that falls within that range.
For instance, for chronic pain, your ideal frequency might be between anywhere from 10 to 18 Hz.
Meanwhile, for wound healing, you might only need sessions with a frequency ranging from 2 to 7 Hz.
It isn’t difficult to access information online about what specific frequency ranges are most commonly used for various types of ailments.
For your ease, and to get the most value, you should aim for PEMF devices that offer a wide range of adjustable frequencies so that you can change it to meet your needs in different sessions.
It is even better if you can get a PEMF system that can change frequency within the same session so that you can receive more overall benefits.
You might be entering your PEMF sessions with high expectations—and you should, for this therapy has worked wonders for many people!
However, it is important for you to manage your expectations realistically, so that you do not get frustrated at any point in your treatment, and so that you continue using PEMF correctly.
Different bodies respond differently to the same stimuli.
Factors such as age, genetics, body size and type, and metabolism can impact how quickly you gain from the same amount of PEMF exposure as someone else.
This is why you should not feel discouraged if you read that someone saw massive levels of improvement in just a week or two, but you haven’t.
Furthermore, even if you don’t notice a great difference after every single PEMF session, you are likely to be able to identify a lot of improvement over time with regular therapy.
You should also be mindful that PEMF devices are not miracle machines.
They are scientific tools that create micro-level changes within your cells via a mechanism that the scientific community is understanding better and better every day.
So, for a lot of illnesses, PEMF might just be a tool for management and not cure.
In such cases, you will have to keep using PEMF for as long as the root causes of your problems still exist.
In other cases, PEMF should not be relied upon as the sole treatment.
For example, in the case of tumors, PEMF can be useful but there is no evidence that it can completely remove the cancerous cells causing the tumor growth.
So PEMF should ideally complement other forms of treatment.
Another example can be severe bone-on-bone arthritis.
If the damage is heavy, then PEMF alone cannot resolve the issue, but it can greatly alleviate symptoms such as pain.
Keeping all of this in mind, if you are dissatisfied with the outcomes of your PEMF therapy, then it can be a helpful step to evaluate if you need to change the details of your regime.
Increasing the duration of your exposure, as well as its frequency, could help you see quicker and better results.
Similarly, you can try altering the frequency and waveform to see if your body responds better.
Discussing these changes with someone with expertise in PEMF may be of great help to you.
Although this response is quite uncommon, you might experience some discomfort with PEMF, if you are hypersensitive to electromagnetic radiation.
A negative reaction to electromagnetic stimuli is a phenomenon that is still not yet well understood, but there is increasing evidence that it is a valid experience for some people.
If you have such a problem, or if you find that you do once you begin PEMF treatment, then you should try adjusting the device parameters in such a way that your body does not register too much change from the normal.
What this means is that you should start with very low frequency and low intensity sessions.
Moreover, you should also limit yourself to shorter durations of four to 12 minutes a day.
If it is more comfortable, you should also start with partial-body exposure, instead of whole-body exposure.
Once your body adjusts to that small change and you no longer register any discomfort during or after PEMF, you can increase the duration, frequency, and intensity little by little as needed.
Applying PEMF might seem complicated, but it is really easy if you set clear objectives about your health needs and wishes.
The correct way to apply PEMF is somewhat unique to you—but it shouldn’t be too difficult to sort it out.
And trust us, once you do, you will gain tremendously from it!
Richard Hoover is a PEMF expert and content contributor to PEMF Advisor. With a bachelor’s degree in physics and multiple certifications in natural health programs, he is one of the best PEMF experts around.