In recent years, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy has gained popularity as a non-invasive method for promoting healing and reducing pain and inflammation in the body. With so many types of therapies available, it can be challenging to determine which one is most suitable for your needs.
In this article, we will compare and contrast Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy with other types, including TENS, TMF, Red Light Therapy, EMF, TMS, Grounding, Bemer, Magna Wave, Shockwave, and Infrared Sauna. You can make an informed decision about which therapy is best for you by understanding their similarities and differences.
PEMF vs TENS
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a type of therapy that uses low-voltage electrical currents to relieve pain and promote healing. It blocks pain signals from reaching the brain and is believed to be effective for a wide range of conditions (1).
PEMF vs TMF
Both PEMF and TMF are similar in that they both use magnetic fields to relieve pain and promote healing. The only difference is that PEMF uses pulsating magnetic fields.
Both work by penetrating deep into the body to stimulate circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote healing and are often used to relieve pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and headaches.
PEMF vs Red Light Therapy
Red Light Therapy is a type of therapy that uses low-level red and near-infrared light to promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation in the body. This therapy works by stimulating the cells in the body and promoting energy production in the form of ATP.
PEMF devices, on the other hand, use electromagnetic fields that can reach deep within the body.
PEMF and Red Light Therapy are similar in that they both use energy to promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation in the body. However, the main difference between PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) therapy and Red Light Therapy lies in the depth of penetration into the body.
- Red Light Therapy only affects the surface of the skin. This is because the wavelengths used in RLT are too short to penetrate deeper.
- PEMF devices can reach deep within the body.
- The benefits of RLT are mostly on the surface of the skin, and it does not impact cellular healing.
- High-quality PEMF devices offer a wider range of wavelengths and intensities and are more effective for specific health conditions.
PEMF vs EMF
Electromagnetic Field (EMF) is a field of energy that surrounds us and is present naturally and through man-made sources. The earth generates its electromagnetic field, and many electrical devices produce EMFs too.
The main difference between PEMF and EMF is their frequency, which plays a significant role in how it affects the body’s cells.
- PEMF therapy uses low-frequency EMFs, which are safe and non-ionizing.
- Other EMFs produce higher frequencies and can be ionized.
- Excessive exposure to EMFs can have adverse effects, particularly on the nervous system (3).
- PEMF therapy sends pulses of electromagnetic energy that alternately stimulate and relax the cells, leading to proper cell function and cellular healing on a molecular level. Other sources of electromagnetic fields do not have a pulsing effect.
- PEMF therapy allows the user to focus the electromagnetic energy on specific areas of concern, unlike ambient EMFs. This focused energy provides cellular healing and regeneration in a targeted manner.
- EMFs have a range of chemical impacts, including the degradation of large molecules within cells and the disruption of ionic balance.
Although oxygen is crucial for life, its molecules can create harmful by-products known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) during biological reactions. These ROS can harm cellular components such as proteins, lipids, and DNA.
PEMF vs TMS
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive therapy that targets a specific group of nerve cells in the frontal brain through a device that emits rapid, focused magnetic fields. PEMF, on the other hand, is a relatively gentle stimulation technique. They differ in the frequency of stimulation used.
- PEMF therapy uses pulsed electromagnetic fields to penetrate deep into the body, while TMS only stimulates the surface of the skull.
- T-PEMF utilizes higher pulsating frequencies of approximately 50 Hz, whereas repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) operates at much lower frequencies, ranging from 1-20 Hz (4).
- PEMF therapy is typically used for several conditions, while TMS is for conditions such as depression and anxiety.
During a TMS procedure, patients remain conscious and relaxed while sitting in a chair during the procedure. A treatment coil is placed on their heads. The device then produces intense magnetic field pulses.
TMS therapy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, with each session lasting 37 minutes and taking place daily (5 days a week) over a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
PEMF vs Grounding
Earthing, also known as grounding, is the practice of connecting the body to the Earth’s surface by walking barefoot outside or using conductive systems indoors. It allows for the transfer of electrons from the Earth into the body, which may have potential health benefits such as improved sleep and reduced pain.
On the other hand, PEMF therapy involves the use of pulsed electromagnetic fields to improve cellular function and promote healing.
- PEMF devices produce low-frequency electromagnetic fields that help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote tissue repair.
- PEMF therapy treats several health conditions, including pain, osteoarthritis, and depression.
- Grounding connects the body to the Earth’s surface, allowing for the transfer of electrons from the Earth into the body, which may have potential health benefits such as improved sleep and reduced pain.
Grounding has also shown promising benefits for chronic stress, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed heart rate variability, hypercoagulable blood, and several common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease, according to emerging evidence (5).
In summary, while both grounding and PEMF therapy involve the use of electromagnetic fields, they are distinct practices with different mechanisms of action and potential benefits.
PEMF vs Bemer
PEMF therapy devices stimulate healthy muscles with electromagnetic fields to improve muscle performance by delivering waves in an organized sequence with specific frequencies and pulses. BEMER is a specific type of PEMF device.
It uses a patented bio-rhythmically defined therapeutic signal to temporarily increase local blood flow in healthy muscles, targeting the circulation within the musculature for optimal health.
- BEMER is an FDA Class II cleared PEMF device.
- They are relatively affordable and easy to use, making them a good option for people new to PEMF therapy.
- Bemer devices are also portable and can be used in any location, making them a good choice for people who travel frequently or have limited access to a PEMF therapy center.
- However, it may not be as effective as other PEMF devices for some conditions and may not be covered by insurance.
- Some people may find Bemer devices to be less effective than other PEMF devices due to the low frequency of the electromagnetic fields they produce.
BEMER was designed based on the research of Dr. Rainier Christian Klopp, who studied the relationship between electromagnetic therapy, blood flow, and the microcirculatory system for more than 20 years. It is effective for many conditions, including musculoskeletal injuries, joint pain, and chronic fatigue.
BEMER can enhance recovery and reduce exhaustion in athletes by promoting blood flow in microvessels (6).
PEMF vs Magna Wave
Magna Wave is a high-frequency PEMF device that can stimulate energy production in muscles, reduce inflammation from injury or training, oxygenate blood to improve endurance and performance, prevent a cellular breakdown during muscle stress, and alleviate muscle soreness, spasms, cramping, and tissue breakdown after training.
- Magna Wave can penetrate up to 18 inches into the body, allowing muscle movements to reveal imbalances, pain, or sore muscles that require additional treatment.
- Magna Wave devices are used by professional athletes and individuals looking for a more intense form of PEMF therapy.
- Magna Wave devices are also relatively affordable and easy to use, making them a good option for people who are new to PEMF therapy.
- However, similar to other devices, Magna Wave may not be as effective as PEMF for specific conditions and may not be covered by insurance.
- Magna Wave devices are too intense and may experience discomfort or side effects as a result.
PEMF vs Shockwave
Shockwave therapy is a form of PEMF therapy that uses high-energy sound waves to treat several conditions, including musculoskeletal injuries, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. PEMF, on the other hand, uses a device to create artificial electromagnetic fields that can be applied to the body in a controlled and targeted manner.
- PEMF devices mimic the frequency and intensity of the earth’s natural electromagnetic field, promote healing, and reduce pain and inflammation.
- Shockwave therapy is often used in combination with other forms of therapy, such as physical therapy or chiropractic care.
- Shockwave can be painful and cause side effects, such as bruising, swelling, pain, throbbing sensation, numbness, or tingling in the treated area (7).
- PEMF therapy is generally considered safe and non-invasive, with few to no side effects.
PEMF vs Infrared Sauna
Infrared saunas use heat, whereas EMF use electromagnetic fields to penetrate deep into the body to promote healing and improve overall health and wellness.
Infrared saunas work by penetrating deep into the body to promote circulation, reduce pain and inflammation, and boost the immune system. Infrared sauna bathing has shown favorable results for neuromuscular system recovery after maximal endurance performance (8).
- Infrared saunas are not as effective as PEMF therapy for treating specific health conditions.
- Infrared saunas also require a significant time commitment and can be relatively expensive, as they must be used for extended periods to be effective.
- PEMF therapy, on the other hand, can be used for short periods each day and is often considered to be more convenient and accessible.
- PEMF devices are also more portable and can be used in any location, making them a good option for people who travel frequently or have limited access to a sauna.
There are many types of therapies available that promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation in the body. Whether you choose PEMF, TENS, TMF, Red Light Therapy, EMF, TMS, Grounding, Bemer, Magna Wave, Shockwave, or Infrared Sauna will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
It is best to talk to your doctor before beginning any type of therapy to determine which is best for your specific needs and health conditions.
- Tashani, O, and Mi Johnson. “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) a Possible Aid for Pain Relief in Developing Countries?” The Libyan Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 June 2009, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3066716/.
- Johnson, Mark. “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation: Mechanisms, Clinical Application and Evidence.” Reviews in Pain, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4589923/.
- Kıvrak, Elfide Gizem, et al. “Effects of Electromagnetic Fields Exposure on the Antioxidant Defense System.” Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025786/.
- Karabanov, Anke N., and Hartwig R. Siebner. “Expanding the Electrotherapeutic Toolkit: A Perspective on Transcranial Pulsating Electromagnetic Fields (T-PEMF): Acta Neuropsychiatrica.” Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press, 22 Sept. 2014, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/acta-neuropsychiatrica/article/expanding-the-electrotherapeutic-toolkit-a-perspective-on-transcranial-pulsating-electromagnetic-fields-tpemf/82A6F7EB40B74DC32F32624B832DD5DF.
- Chevalier, Gaétan, et al. “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons.” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/.
- Tamulevicius, Nauris, et al. “Effects of Acute Low-Frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy on Aerobic Performance during a Preseason Training Camp: A Pilot Study.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 July 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8307531/.
- Roerdink RL;Dietvorst M;van der Zwaard B;van der Worp H;Zwerver J; “Complications of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy in PLANTAR FASCIITIS: Systematic Review.” International Journal of Surgery (London, England), U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28890412/.
- Mero, Antti, et al. “Effects of Far-Infrared Sauna Bathing on Recovery from Strength and Endurance Training Sessions in Men.” SpringerPlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 July 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4493260/.