Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy is an up-and-comer in the therapy scene.
Despite having been used for over 40 years to successfully treat a wide range of malaise, PEMF therapy is beginning to see a gentle renaissance in use.
This renaissance has led to an increase in the number of clinics, hospitals, and therapy offices utilizing the therapy, and an increase in at-home therapy machine production and use.
While the proliferation of PEMF therapy is typically seen as a boon, the wider acceptance of the modality means a far wider range of PEMF devices on the market now than there have been in years past.
This increase in PEMF machine production means that people have far more options than ever before—and, along with those options, the sometimes-difficult task of selecting a machine from the masses, without experiencing choice paralysis.
How do you determine the machine that is best for you or your practice?
First, a quick dive into the basics and history of PEMF therapy.
What is PEMF Therapy? A Brief History and Overview
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy is a form of energy therapy.
Although the two most common types of energy therapy are acupressure and acupuncture, PEMF takes a different tack.
While all three of these therapies focus on the body as an energetic object, and uses that energy to heal, PEMF therapy does not try to prevent blockages or smooth energetic pathways, the way that acupressure and acupuncture do.
Instead, PEMF therapy interacts with the body’s energy signatures by providing additional energy to cells, and allowing the body to complete its own standard healing procedures.
PEMF therapy accomplishes this feat through a simple means, which began well over one hundred years ago, with the discovery and invention of electromagnetic fields.
Whether the invention has been ascribed to Nikola Tesla or one of his peers, the result is the same: it was discovered that applying electricity to a metal coil resulted in the creation of an electromagnetic field.
It was not until this technology was invented and perfected that people began to evaluate electromagnetic fields and their potential for healing.
Although the origins of PEMF therapy took root over one hundred years ago, the early years of PEMF therapy focused primarily on reducing bacterial growth and infection—fields that were promising, but did not harness the true ability of PEMF therapy.
It was not until the 1940s and beyond that electromagnetic fields were harnessed, compressed, and delivered to the body in order to provide additional energy to the cells.
It is through this addition of energy to the body’s cells that PEMF therapy is able to reduce inflammation, ease pain, improve mobility, and speed bone and tissue repair.
Although PEMF therapy has been in use consistently in the U.S. since the late 1970s, it was not until the advent of more affordable PEMF machines and the availability of information through the internet that PEMF therapy truly began to capture the attention of those outside of the medical field, and PEMF therapy devices enjoyed a boost in production and availability.
Different Types of PEMF Devices
Although the basics of PEMF therapy machines are largely the same, there are some differences in the available PEMF machines.
These differences reside largely in the purpose of the machine, the power of electromagnetic field, and the customizability of the device.
To better understand PEMF therapy, and the many different types currently in existence, an evaluation of the scope of available machines is in order.
The different types of PEMF therapy machines currently available on the market include:
Medical Grade PEMF Devices
Medical-grade PEMF devices are typically larger, designed for mobility, and equipped with far more customizability and programming options.
Medical-grade PEMF devices differentiate themselves from other machines through three main components: physical size, customizability, and scope of use.
These devices are designed to withstand almost continual use, are quite large, both in the controller portion and the delivery systems themselves, and are capable of holding different pre-programmed settings designed to specific patients.
Medical-grade PEMF devices are most commonly found in hospitals and large-scale clinics, both of which are more likely to utilize PEMF therapy as a treatment for wound healing, and acute health conditions, such as cervical fusion, and intense bone or tissue repair.
These machines are designed to deliver PEMF therapy through several different devices, including large mats, single application wands, and round node-like devices.
A commonly found medical-grade PEMF therapy company is POLYMAG.
This company provides PEMF therapy machines specifically created for clinical use, and comes equipped with several delivery devices, greater variation in sequencing, and the ability to save specific delivery sequences for specific patients.
Medical-grade PEMF devices are usually among the most expensive devices on the market, ranging anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 or more.
Professional PEMF Devices
Professional PEMF devices differ from medical-grade PEMF devices primarily in their design: professional PEMF devices focus less on providing medical-grade treatments, and focus more on providing value for therapy clinics, chiropractic offices, and other professional treatment centers that do not center on medical provisions.
Professional PEMF devices are often similar to medical devices, in that they are larger, and possess more customizing options, which may even include using a single machine to deliver multiple therapy sessions at once.
Professional PEMF therapy devices are usually smaller than their medical-grade counterparts, and often include compact designs that can be transported from office to office.
Professional devices also place an emphasis on customizing the PEMF experience, offering targeted controls to allow users to chance frequency, intensity, and waveform quickly and easily, to provide a truly unique PEMF experience.
Like medical-grade devices, professional PEMF devices are typically more expensive, coming in at anywhere from $10,000 to over $20,000.
This is largely due to the nature of the machines, as they are typically designed for regular, consecutive use at a wide variety of settings.
Pure PEMF Devices
Pure PEMF devices are arguably the most commonly seen PEMF devices, and are largely designed for home use.
These devices more often use mats than rings, hoops, or wands, and provide a targeted, focused therapy that primarily utilizes PEMF.
Many pure PEMF devices come equipped with pre-programmed settings in the control box, which allows users to select a particular intervention, such as PEMF therapy for sleep, or PEMF therapy for muscle soreness.
Common PEMF devices from this category include Bemer products, which are said to improve a specific, targeted area.
Common targets include circulation, pain, and sleep disturbances, all of which have shown promise as potential ailments to be treated by PEMF.
Pure PEMF devices are usually much smaller, with control boxes around the size of a book or a small home appliance, and are best utilized by a single person or a single household.
These devices are typically not designed for perpetual use, and may be more likely to degrade with continual use.
Pure PEMF devices are typically among the least expensive PEMF machines, ranging anywhere from several hundred dollars to $10,000 or more.
These machines are designed with ease of use in mind, and can be successfully and easily operated by someone who is not familiar with therapy modalities, or medical devices as a whole.
Portable PEMF Devices
Portable PEMF devices are devices capable of providing PEMF therapy while on the go, or without a great deal of tear-down and set-up.
Portable PEMF devices are often sought by those who experience the bulk of their pain during movement, such as those with knee pain, back pain, or other issues primarily related to moving about or exercising, but can also include individuals looking for PEMF therapy treatments that can be utilized during work, at rest, or while learning.
Portable PEMF devices are typically ore similar to Pure PEMF devices than they are to professional or medical-grade devices, in that they offer a limited amount of customization, and usually provide a few specific settings to deliver targeted PEMF therapy.
Two of the more common portable devices are the NeoRhythm and the OskaPulse, both of which are small devices that can be worn in order to receive consistent PEMF therapy.
These small devices are usually designed to be used in short bursts, ranging from 30-90 minutes, though they may be used for longer, if battery lives allow.
Perhaps, in part, due to their small size, portable PEMF devices are likely to be the least expensive devices on the market.
Some devices are as little as $200, while others are as high as $600 or more.
These devices can be a simple introduction to PEMF therapy, but are not designed to provide continuous or large-scale PEMF therapy, and are unlikely to fill a need for ongoing PEMF.
Combination PEMF Mats
The final type of PEMF therapy device in this round up is the combination PEMF therapy mat, or a type of PEMF device that utilizes both PEMF therapy and a series of other therapeutic interventions, such as infrared therapy, crystal therapy, and even negative ion therapy.
Combination PEMF mats are usually offered for those who are eager to reap the full benefits of PEMF, as including other therapy modalities can improve the efficacy of those modalities.
The HealthyLine Platinum PEMF mat is one of the more popular combination mats, though there are others.
These mats are usually solid mats, ranging from lap-sized mats to mats over 5 feet long, and are best utilized on an ongoing basis, rather than a weekly or monthly basis.
Combination PEMF mats are usually between portable PEMF devices and Pure PEMF devices in terms of price, ranging from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, and rarely over $8,000.
PEMF Therapy: Devices and Use
While many PEMF therapy sites focus on home use machines or clinical use machines, there is actually a rather large scope of potential PEMF therapy devices currently in production.
Some are designed primarily for hospital or clinic use, others largely for home use, and still others for both home and clinical use.
When selecting a device for your home or office, a focus on components is usually the best way to deliver the machine you need, rather than a focus on size or price.
PEMF therapy machines run the gamut, from small, wearable devices to large, hospital-grade machines, and can be tailored to suit virtually every need.
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.