Low-frequency and high-intensity PEMF therapy
Last update: 26 February 2019
Low-frequency and high-intensity PEMF therapy involves a device that emits electromagnetic fields transferred to the patient via solenoids.
A solenoid can be seen as a wrapped copper wire, similar to a spring. A small amount of current is passed along the wire which generates a magnetic field whose lines of force make up the positive field (NORTH) and the negative one (SOUTH).
In therapeutic use, the loops are flattened and the solenoid takes on a flat shape that is placed in direct contact with the part to be treated, with the exception of cylinder solenoids where the patient is positioned inside the applicator itself.
The physical form of solenoids varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. They can be circular, rectangular or cylindrical and can be used individually or arranged together in a belt. The best shape is cylindrical as it allows optimal magnetic field delivery.
Regardless of the shape, it is important that they are able to generate magnetic fields of adequate intensity and frequency.
But adequate to what?
Each PEMF therapy device must be provided with a medical certificate that certifies legal compliance. These are very important standards to protect the patient’s health and safety.
Always ask the manufacturer for the medical certificate and the declaration that the device has been manufactured according to European standards which all manufacturers must obey.
In low and high frequency PEMF therapy devices the magnetic field is measured in Gauss.
Clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of magnetic fields from very low intensities (from 5 gauss up to 300 gauss). However, there is no direct relationship between intensity and duration of treatment. This means that we cannot say that by increasing the intensity of the magnetic field, it is possible to decrease the treatment time below the times physiologically necessary for the therapy to be effective.
One aspect shared by all studies is the need to carry out PEMF therapy treatments for very long periods of time (45-90 days, or even 120-180 days in the case of delayed union), repeated several times a day for at least 2 hours.
The efficacy of low-frequency and high-intensity PEMF therapy is reported in numerous clinical studies (see the bibliography section) that demonstrate that low-frequency pulsed magnetic fields are particularly indicated for the treatment of conditions affecting bone tissue, including:
Moreover, evidence points to use in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems such as:
- Golfer’s elbow