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What Is PEMF Therapy?

Short for Pulsed Electro Magnetic Field, the name may be new to you, but the technology has been around for centuries.

Initially, horses were the first to benefit from PEMF therapy. Word of its success got around quickly, and within a few years, humans were feeling better, and living lives healthier and happier after PEMF.

In fact, it became so successful that PEMF therapy has been FDA-approved for various treatments, like bone and joint healing, since 1979.

So, what exactly is this marvel of technology, and how can you benefit from it for your symptoms? This guide breaks down everything you need to know about PEMF therapy and how it can help you get your life back after an injury.

The Science Behind PEMF Technology

Let’s start with the basic principles of PEMF technology. The foundation of this therapy relies on a combination of magnetic fields and electricity.

Over two millennia ago, Greek physicians used magnetite, a mineral with natural magnetic properties like lodestone, in their health practices.

Alone and static, lodestones and other magnets don’t have any significant health benefits. Once researchers harnessed the power of magnets and electricity, that all changed.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy stems from the result of these two scientific principles combined together. Unlike magnetic bracelets and other accessories where the magnet’s field remains static, adding electricity to the magnet creates electrotherapeutic properties. However, without something to control the strength of the field, the powerful waves weren’t consistent enough to be beneficial to animals or humans.

Researchers understood that potential health benefits existed, though. They began to study EMF therapy intensively in the 1950s and developed rudimentary machines. By the 1970s, these basic machines had evolved, solving the problem of controlling the fields, and modern PEMF machines were commercially available.

How PEMF Machines Treat Your Injuries

PEMF works by using electromagnetic fields to stimulate the body’s damaged cells, encouraging them to heal and regenerate.

Each machine delivers pulses of this energy to the body, penetrating the cells and stimulating their movement. The machines use a delivery system, such as a mat, ring, or wand, and a control box that holds the components. When the machine is on, electrical energy touches the copper coil. An electromagnetic field is generated and connects with the skin directly, through clothing, or under a mattress.

As the cells receive the pulses, they are filled with energy, allowing them to fulfill their normal bodily functions.

PEMF Treats Various Conditions

The first medical use of PEMF technology was most notably by veterinarians working on racehorses. Horses in this sport often injure their joints, tendons, and ligaments. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy treated the damage successfully.

Scholars successfully showed the link between animal cell repair and the possibilities for human treatment, and the FDA agreed. PEMF remains an FDA-approved therapy for pain and inflammation today.

However, PEMF has come a long way since its initial applications. Now, trained medical professionals use the therapy for conditions such as:

  • Joint pain (ankles, hips, elbows, knees, shoulders)
  • Chronic inflammation of the soft tissue or joints
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Back and neck pain
  • Osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Wounds that aren’t healing as they should

The applications for PEMF have the potential to help nearly every cellular condition, including cancer. Research is in progress to determine how well PEMF works on patients with various cancers, such as lung, pancreatic, thyroid, colon, hepatocellular, breast, skin, prostate, and bladder.

Since the therapy is non-invasive and FDA-approved and can be used in combination with other cancer treatments, there are many advantages and, thus far, no drawbacks.

Benefits of PEMF Therapy

The primary reason patients receive PEMF therapy is to repair cellular damage after an injury, but there are many other advantages that come with this treatment. If you’re considering PEMF for your health, it’s always a good idea.

Some of the other ways you’ll benefit from PEMF include:

  • More natural energy throughout the day
  • Better performance in athletic events or workouts
  • Quicker recovery from illnesses and injuries
  • Fast correction of cellular dysfunction and damage from free radicals
  • Reduced pain and inflammation

Throughout your day, your cells are constantly attacked and damaged by germs, free radicals, and pollutants. When you’re active or injured, the damage magnifies. PEMF therapy enhances your body’s natural recovery systems, speeding up cellular repair, healing injuries, and improving your overall wellness.

Types of PEMF Machines

With decades of technology and innovation in the field, it’s not surprising that there are dozens of PEMF machines available. Hundreds of manufacturers have variations on the original device, keeping the foundational principles but offering nuances that make theirs the “must-have” PEMF machine.

In general, any PEMF device works by sending targeted energy pulses into your body. The energy stimulates your cells to heal and regenerate faster than they would on their own. So, any PEMF machine does the basic job. Finding the one that works for you depends on variables like whether you’re aiming for machines that are FDA-approved, covered by insurance, or available through the mail or over the counter.

New devices hit the market all the time, making it difficult to keep up with the changes. However, all of these machines fall into one of these umbrella categories.

PEMF Machines

When you go to a therapist’s office for PEMF treatment, you’ll see a large, complex machine with buttons, tubes, and wires attached to it. This is the medical-grade PEMF machine. The tubes connect to various body parts, depending on your problem. The electromagnetic pulses flow through the tubes into your tissue. Since the pulse shoots straight to the area of injury, the damaged cells receive the current directly, speeding up healing.


A PEMF mat unrolls into a flat machine that attaches to a controller. The fact that it’s flat gives you more control over where you apply the energy pulse. A remote adjusts the treatment intensity. Because of the smooth, uniform design, PEMF mats treat the whole body. This makes them ideal for patients with poor circulation, general muscle pain and stiffness, and all over body aches. Studies linking PEMF mats with diabetes management have had promising results, especially in reducing pain from neuropathy.

PEMF Coils 

When you want to use a PEMF device at home, you’ll likely buy a coil. The PEMF coil is lightweight enough to transport from room to room, and easy to use without intensive training. The wires are stored in a coil and housed on a metal platform. You sit in front of the machine, turn it on, and let the energy pulses soothe your discomforts. It’s an excellent way to recover from a workout, reduce aches and pains, and relax.

Portable PEMF Machines

Chronic pain doesn’t wait until you get to your home or doctor’s office to flare up and cause problems. Luckily, you can use a portable PEMF machine to help you with aches and discomforts on the road. These machines are lightweight and compact, fitting in your suitcase when you travel or any large tote if you want to bring it wherever you go.

Portable PEMF machines are small enough to slide under your mattress, so you can use them while you sleep without any annoying wires. They can help you create better sleeping habits by reducing the pain your body feels as it tries to recover from the damage of the day.

The electromagnetic pulses spread everywhere in your body so that you may notice side effects like better mental clarity, enhanced memory and focus, and even slower signs of aging.

Which Device is Right for You?

The decision of which PEMF device you should invest in is unique to you. What works for your friend’s or family member’s health conditions might not be the same thing you need. It’s best to speak to an expert to ensure you’re getting the machine that will help you where it counts.

Remember, everyone’s body and complaints are different, and many devices can choose from. To avoid PEMF scams and low-quality machines, ask a professional therapist for advice.

How Magnetic Fields Enhance Cellular Function

Now that you understand how the PEMF machine works, let’s dive into how using it affects your body.  

Your cells have specific functions. They repair and regenerate themselves and eliminate waste. When they’re healthy, they complete the job they’re designed to do from creation based on their type and location in your body.

Cells are supposed to flow freely throughout your body’s highways (arteries, blood vessels, and other connectors). When those highways are jammed due to damage like inflammation or breaks, the cells can’t get where help is needed.

Magnetic fields increase the ions and electrolytes in your tissues and fluids, pushing the cells to move faster and stronger. Each tissue’s chemical and electric effects add the energy necessary to encourage the cells to heal and replicate.

Eliminating Cell Jams in Your Body

Treatment at this cellular level opens those cell channels and sends nutrients through the body without those “traffic jams” we mentioned. Waste is easily eliminated, nutrients come through the cell membrane, and optimum cell function is achieved.

Taking this one step further, matching cells create tissue, which then becomes an organ. If your organs are damaged, fixing the problem at this cellular level aids in repairing and maintaining that organ’s function. Cell health reduces the speed of aging from the inside of your body.

PEMF is Preventative, Too 

Many people use PEMF therapy, although they don’t have any injuries or illnesses. They understand that cell wear and tear happens throughout the day. Encouraging early repair of this damage can prevent future illnesses and speed up minor injuries.

The magnetic fields improve circulation, increase proteins that prevent cellular breakdown, and repair damage as it occurs. When everything in your body is in balance, it functions the way it’s designed to.

FAQs About PEMF Therapy

In a society where the most common treatment is often medication to mask symptoms, it’s understandable that you have questions about a therapy that claims to heal on a cellular level. We’ve put together some of our most asked questions and the answers you need to decide if PEMF is the next step in your healthcare journey.

1. Are There Any Dangers to PEMF Treatment?


One of the first things that patients want to know about PEMF therapy is if it’s safe. There’s a concern about using electricity on the body, of course. However, the technology is safe and effective as a therapy.

There may be some side effects from the cellular activity, but nothing about the machine is dangerous. Occasional mild side effects include some discomfort on the skin from the application of the tube, decreased blood pressure and blood sugar, and minimal pain during the PEMF session.

However, PEMF therapy is not recommended for pregnant women or children. If you have a pacemaker or cochlear implant, talk to your medical physician about the potential interactions of PEMF and your device before using it.

2. Is PEMF Painful?

You’re already in pain, or trying to avoid it, so you don’t want a therapy that causes more. PEMF therapy is rarely painful. It can cause increased discomfort when it’s used to treat neuropathy or acute pain.

It might sound odd, but this is a good thing. It means the nerves and cells that are usually not communicating with each other are now doing what they’re supposed to do, and the result is increased sensation. The discomfort should go away after the session is complete.

3. Does PEMF Aid With Weight Loss?

Currently, PEMF therapy hasn’t been FDA-approved for weight loss. However, it works at the cellular level to help your body’s systems perform optimally, which may indirectly affect your weight. Because your body is healing naturally, you’re losing inflammation, reducing pain, and increasing energy.

All of these components together ensure you’re more active, you’re sleeping better, and you have better focus. Better overall health often comes with weight control.

4. How Does PEMF Help Damaged Bone or Cartilage? 

We’ve spoken a lot about how this therapy helps with muscles and joints. But a substantial amount of research on PEMF focuses on using it to heal bone and cartilage. When there is a fracture or complete break, it’s not uncommon for the body to take six months or longer to heal. There is no blood flow in bones and cartilage to speed up the process.

Studies on using PEMF to treat humans and bovines with bone density loss or bone and cartilage damage are promising. Those who received PEMF therapy healed faster than those who did not.

PEMF may be just what you need — when combined with physical therapy and other healing modalities — to speed up your damaged cartilage, fracture, or broken bones. Adding PEMF treatment to your regimen will get you back on track to performing your normal activities.

5. Will I Notice Improvement Immediately?

The time it takes for PEMF therapy to get into the cells and work on healing them varies for each person. You may notice changes immediately, or it can take weeks before an obvious substantial difference is felt.

However, this is normal for any new therapy, even medication. Your body has to acclimate to the treatment, and cell regeneration takes time. The severity of your health conditions greatly determines how quickly you’ll notice improvement.

6. Is It Possible to “Overdo” PEMF Therapy?

As you get comfortable with your PEMF machine and you start to notice the results, you’ll want to enjoy them every day. The good news is you can! Pulsed Electromagnetic Field treatments are highly safe. There are minimal side effects, as mentioned above, and those are mild and temporary.

The therapy sends energy to your body’s cells to aid in repair and regeneration. It’s something we need more of, not less, and it’s never bad. Some companies suggest using your PEMF machine for 16 minutes daily, but you can increase this without danger.

7. Does Insurance Cover PEMF Therapy?

PEMF treatments fall under the category of wellness therapy, and insurance companies don’t cover them. You may receive PEMF therapy at a healthcare office combined with other treatments that your insurance does cover, and the office likely bills for those services instead of the PEMF therapy.

However, if you want to receive these treatments and must pay for them yourself, they’re usually not too expensive.

8. How Much Does PEMF Therapy Cost?

The cost of this type of therapy depends on where you have it performed. You can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $75 for each session in clinical settings. But you also receive therapeutic treatment from trained professionals using a medical-grade PEMF machine.

Some healthcare facilities work around the insurance aspect by bundling PEMF therapy with other covered services. Other clinics offer payment plans or discounts that help lower costs for the patient.

If you decide you want to buy a machine to use at home on demand, you can find them for as little as $300 and up.

9. Which PEMF Device Should I Use?

There are hundreds of devices on the market. The kind that you need depends on your health goals.

The machines are designed to work in one of these categories:

  • Full-body treatments
  • Spot therapy
  • Low back pain
  • Professional grade for healthcare facilities
  • Budget-friendly options

Choose the category that fits your needs and matches your body’s illness or injuries, then research the reviews from there.

Are You a Good Candidate for PEMF Therapy?

Between decades of research and statistics and the ease of accessing a PEMF device, this therapy sounds good to you so far! The next question is: Are you a good candidate for PEMF treatment?

Anyone with conditions that require cellular regeneration and health to fix, such as inflammation, pain, and cancer, may benefit from PEMF therapy. It’s a safe, effective way to boost energy drained from fatigue-causing diseases like multiple sclerosis and to speed up healing when a bone or cartilage is damaged.

Most people are candidates for PEMF therapy, with the exceptions of pregnant women, children, and anyone with a pacemaker or cochlear implant.

However, even if you don’t fall into those categories, check with your doctor if you have any serious medical conditions. They may suggest limiting the strength of the electromagnetic frequencies and intensities or offering advice as to how often to use the machine. 

Using your PEMF device incorrectly can increase pain instead of reducing it. Follow the device’s instructions and your medical professional’s suggestions. It’s a good idea to start with short, low-intensity sessions.

Ready to See if PEMF Therapy Works for You?

It takes a lot of convincing data and statistics to get the FDA to approve anything for human use. Yet, over the past several decades, PEMF technology has consistently received new approvals for different conditions.

Numerous research studies show the positive links between PEMF therapy and various health issues. Healthcare facilities and alternative wellness therapists use PEMF therapy around the globe.

Humans have safely used the power of magnets and electricity for thousands of years. Now, it’s time to see how you, too, can benefit from this incredible technological marvel.