PULSED ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD (PEMF) THERAPY
Research has shown that disturbances in blood circulation and in metabolism play a key role in development of diseases. PEMF therapy is an aid to helping the natural repairing of injuries, so in other words, helps to establish the optimum for healing to take place. The electromagnetic field is a complex phenomenon that includes both its components, electric and magnetic fields. An electric field that changes over time affects the local magnetic field. Therefore, in this type of therapy it is not possible to completely separate the influence of the magnetic and electrical components of the energy used. Both exist, both are delivered to the tissues, and both have physiological and therapeutic effect. PEMF influences the behavior of cells by causing electrical changes around and inside the cell.
Biological and Cellular Effects
The applied energy fields act with "powers" that have been shown to cause significant cellular / subcellular changes and thus major physiological changes. These include membrane effects (such as Ca ion channel changes) and cytokine-mediated effects (e.g., TGF-β, PGE2). It would appear that the cell membrane is the primary target of the magnetic energy. The magnetic field affects the signal transduction pathway, ion binding and ion transport. Ca ions are the strongest evidenced (as they are with ultrasound, laser, microcurrent and other therapies). As a result of the applied energy, Ca ions binding to CaM (calmodulin) is modulated. Myosin light chain kinase (MYLK or MLCK) is an enzyme strongly associated with muscle activity, though its role is not confined to muscle biochemistry. Calmodulin activates this enzyme, so if the magnetic field effect increases Ca ion transport, resulting in a change of calmodulin activity, and thus an alteration of enzyme activity, a potential chain reaction linking therapy to biological effect can be recognised.
The strongest evidenced clinical application of magnetic fields appears to be related to:
Wound Healing and Facilitated Repair in Musculoskeletal Lesions
PEMF influences the process of bone formation in the intercellular medium. Bone healing is promoted by means of the influence of the magnetic field on the crystal formation of calcium salts. Also, Improved calcium transport increases absorption of calcium in bones and improves the quality of cartilage in joints. PEMF with the correct setting causes vasodilation and capillary dilation, so helping to speed up the process of callus formation. Within the bone itself, pulsed electromagnetic field causes the induction of small eddy currents in the trace elements, which in turn purify and strengthen the crystal structures. This can, therefore, accelerate the bone healing process to allow earlier mobilisation and eventual full union.
More information about PEMF therapy you can find on elelectrotherapy.org page.