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What is pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy is a new approach to pain management that uses magnets to create pulsing, moving energy. PEMF therapy is Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved to fuse bones and has been cleared in certain devices to reduce swelling and joint pain. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) work on the same physics.

This therapy has been used to treat pain and edema in soft tissue for over 60 years. The technology stemmed from radio frequency (RF) diathermy, which utilized a continuous electromagnetic field to produce heat in soft tissue.

A moving -- or resonating -- magnetic field can create currents without heating and thus directly alter cellular signaling. It has been firmly established that tissues including blood, muscle, ligaments, bone and cartilage respond to biophysical input, including electrical and electromagnetic fields. New studies show that with the proper field intensity and frequency, treatment with PEMF appears to be disease-modifying. The stimulation of transforming growth factor beta (TGFB) may be a mechanism by which PEMF favorably affects cartilage homeostasis. Through calcium-calmodulin-dependent pathways, PEMF may also increase nitric oxide activity.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.