Many in the telecommunications and wireless industries claim that there is no conclusive evidence that EMF radiation can affect humans and other living things. These individuals and companies ignore the tens of thousands of studies that demonstrate negative health effects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation. But, even without those studies, there is incontrovertible evidence that EMF affects humans. And that’s because EMF is used therapeutically in medicine.
Healing with EMF
In the 1800s, German physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond discovered that exposure to EMF radiation can stimulate the wound healing process. When cells are wounded (like when you cut yourself), the damaged cells start to leak and generate an ‘injury current’ that triggers the body’s natural healing processes. So, your own body generates electromagnetic fields in order to heal itself.
Indeed, it is widely accepted that the flow of energy (literally, charged electricity) within your body is a critical mechanism by which the healing process works. And we have a growing number of examples of how this knowledge is utilized by modern medicine to help people heal and overcome other medical conditions.
In the mid-1990s, Dr. C.A.L. Bassett from Columbia University successfully discovered how to heal bones by directing EMF pulses at fractures. Subsequent research has also found the ability of EMF exposure to stimulate regeneration in other tissues. Basset later developed a device for electromagnetic stimulation of bone healing that was among the earliest approved for use by the public. The implementation of this knowledge has become so advanced that doctors now believe that electric fields can be used to heal bones. These researchers found that the use of a “biodegradable, battery-free and remotely-controlled electrical stimulator” can heal broken bones.
The technology is seen as particularly valuable for healing skulls and other bones where traditional casts are not an option.
Therapeutic Devices That Use EMF
Therapeutic EMF devices have been a practical tool in medical science for several years now. These devices send electrical signals to the affected body part and activate the healing system, similar to what a human brain does.
Let’s have a look at some devices created and refined in the last 100 years, which are being used today on a large scale.
SCENAR (or Self-Controlled Energo Neuro Adaptive Regulation) was developed by the Soviets in the 1970s to treat cosmonauts. These hand-held devices detect your body’s natural EMF levels. When these levels are off, the SCENAR device emits a controlled dose of ELF radiation to stabilize the body’s energy. In other words, SCENAR is a bio-feedback device that uses non-ionizing EMF radiation—the very same type of radiation that is a public health hazard—to achieve high rates of success at healing the human body.
According to a study of 3,000 Russian medical practitioners, this device, known as a SCENAR, is credited with:
- 79% improvement in the musculoskeletal system, muscle injuries, and diseases such as arthritis, sciatica, lumbago, and osteoporosis
- 82% improvement in many circulatory disorders, including strokes, thromboses, and heart failure
- 84% improvement in virtually any respiratory problems
- 93% improvement in both eye conditions and diseases of the digestive tract
Not only is that a remarkable rate of success, but notably these beneficial effects occur across multiple of the body’s different systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, skeletal, muscular, nervous, and digestive systems.
A common application of EMF therapy in medicine is the TENS device. TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation) devices are among the most common forms of electroanalgesia – the use of electrical forces (as opposed to chemical agents) to numb or dull pain. And multiple studies have demonstrated that electrical stimulation can be used to treat pain from causes including arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Similarly, a 2014 study published in the journal Neurology found that electromagnetic stimulation can help treat the symptoms, and improve the quality of life, for those who suffer from fibromyalgia. I find this therapy to be particularly interesting, as some EMF health advocates believe that exposure to electromagnetic radiation is a cause of fibromyalgia.
Building upon work published by my father, Dr. Martin Blank, and his research partner, Dr. Reba Goodman, doctors have been able to create a treatment that aids in the performance of cardiac bypass surgery. In cardiac bypass surgery, when the surgery is complete and circulation is restarted, the patient can experience a shock as oxygenated blood refills the cardiac tissue. By using tightly controlled doses of EMF radiation, doctors are able to reduce tissue damage in these patients.
You may have heard about the FDA’s approval of the Cefaly headband (covered here by NPR). Similar to TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) which has been around for many years, the Cephaly headband works by stimulating nerves with very low-powered energy.
In other words, this technology uses EMF to stimulate your brain.
As NPR explains:
By stimulating the nerve, which plays a role in many migraines, the device was shown to help prevent the headaches in a clinical test involving 67 people. Some got the Cefaly device, and others used a sham headband. The people who wore the Cefaly device 20 minutes a day took fewer migraine medicines than those who got the dummy device.
8 Major Therapeutic Applications of EMF
The devices mentioned are a few examples of how EMF is used in medical science. It has been widely established that controlled EMF therapy enhances the body’s healing mechanism allowing faster and complete recovery.
Since the 1980s, scientists have focused on better understanding EMF therapy’s effectiveness and finding ways to combine it with different treatment methods. And with the technological advancement we have today and the understanding of how the human body works, EMF is being used for a range of health issues from broken bones to chronic diseases like cancer.
Here is a list of 8 major ways EMF therapy is used in modern medical science.
When you suffer a bone fracture, your brain sends signals to activate your body’s healing mechanism, which begins the healing process. But, as anyone who’s ever broken a bone knows, healing takes a long time. Your brain works on hundreds of processes at once, which limits how quickly it can send instructions to your healing mechanism.
With medication alone, the time it takes to heal the affected bone becomes tiring for the patient. On top of that, this process can also result in something called a nonunion.
Nonunion is a condition in which the pain vanishes eventually, but the bones never join back together into their original form. Because of this, researchers spend thousands of hours trying to figure out ways to improve the bone healing process.
In the same pursuit, scientist C.A.L Bassett published a research paper in 1974 in which he mentioned that PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields) therapy accelerates the process of bone healing.
For this study, he used 43 terrier dogs who had recently undergone osteotomy surgery. Osteotomy is a term for any surgery that involves cutting and reshaping bones.
He exposed the dogs’ affected area to EMF operating at a low frequency of 65 Hz. For context, your house’s electricity operates at 50-60 kHz frequency which is thousands of times stronger than what Bassett used on the dogs.
He noticed that the healing mechanism started working more rapidly and effectively when the EMF signals were applied. After sharing his research, it spiked the orthopedic community’s interest which led to multiple experiments and studies on how PEMF therapy can be used on humans.
With enough evidence of PEMF therapy being effective for accelerated bone recovery, the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA approved the use of PEMF for bone healing in 1979.
Nerve stimulation is an advanced medical procedure of sending electric signals through the skin to the affected area. This procedure is used for many purposes – triggering the release of endorphins is one of them.
Endorphins work to block the brain’s pain signals – a chemical-free pain killer, in simple terms – and to treat behavioral deficits.
Earlier in this post, I discussed TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation) which is a chemical-free treatment for acute pain. There is another popular nerve stimulation device called Transcranial Electrical Stimulation, or TES, which is used to reduce learning and behavioral deficits in adults and also to treat developmental disorders.
These devices, along with many others, have proven super effective in reducing the need for chemical-based treatments, which can have lots of side effects.
Nerve stimulation was first introduced to the medical world in the late 1700s when Italian physician Luigi Galvani published an essay entitled “De Viribus Electricitatis in Motu Musculari Commentarius” (Commentary on the Effect of Electricity on Muscular Motion). In this essay, he mentioned that animal tissue contains a vital force, and he called the force ‘animal electricity.’
In modern science, we understand ‘animal electricity’ as the electrical signals that our brain produces and distributes using neurons.
Continuing his research, he described that there is a positive effect of electrical neuromuscular stimulation, or ‘nerve stimulation’ (as we know it now), after his experiment with frogs.
After Galvani, many scientists have worked on improving the process of nerve stimulation, and now this technology is more advanced than ever.
In rehabilitation medicine, wound healing is still a huge challenge. This is mainly because the process of tissue regeneration is super complex, and scientists have been working on improving the ways we approach wound healing for years.
There is a tremendous amount of research available today on this topic, and those studies have resulted in multiple positive outcomes. For example, we now have a better understanding of the human body and how wound healing works.
Because of this, three different approaches for chronic wound treatment have been developed, namely growth factors, tissue-engineered skin, and physical devices.
Growth factors — Commonly known as growth factor therapy, this is a regenerative medicine that uses the body’s growth factor system to promote healing of wounds, chronic pain, and degenerative diseases like arthritis.
Tissue-engineered skin — This treatment focuses on restoring the outer and the middle layers of our three-layered skin. When you get this treatment, the surgeons seed scaffolds (made from collagen or bio-degradable material) into your cells, promoting skin regeneration.
Physical devices — Plasma Skin Regeneration Technology (PSR), as it’s commonly known, is a non-laser treatment that sends energy in plasma form to rejuvenate the skin.
These wound healing methods have achieved massive popularity because of their success rate. However, experts say that these treatments have not achieved an efficiency level that promises complete wound healing post-treatment.
Electric Therapy (ET) and Electromagnetic Fields Therapy (EMFT), on the other hand, are slowly gaining trust in medical science as studies done till now confirm that ET and EMFT improve wound healing by at least 13-50%.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Pure and Applied Microbiology says that when compared to the popular three types of treatment for wound healing, ET and EMFT showed a more promising effect on chronic wounds.
Osteoarthritis, or OA, is one of the most common forms of arthritis. It affects one in every eight adults and is one of the major causes of chronic pain. OA’s most common symptom is knee pain, which, if not treated earlier, can lead to disability.
But the good thing is, there are several medications for OA, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids injection, and alcohol treatment. Sometimes, doctors also recommend a non-pharmacological treatment such as sports training during the earlier phases of OA.
At a later phase, OA can be treated with surgery, and these surgeries have a high success rate.
Medical science is ever developing, so scientists are always looking for better ways to approach certain problems. In the same route, professionals have now started using PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields) therapy to treat OA.
Even though PEMF therapy has not been around for a long time, it is slowly overtaking the other forms of OA treatment. Since it has little to no side effects, the day is not far away when doctors will prefer PEMF therapy over surgery and medications.
This therapy still needs additional research to actually overtake other treatment forms. But the studies we have now show that we’re going in the right direction.
For instance, in 2013, a group of physiologists and surgeons from the US and Italy performed a study to better understand the effectiveness of PEMF on chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis.
For this study, they gathered 33 osteoarthritis patients who were suffering from chronic knee pain. Each patient received PEMF therapy on their right leg for a total of 30 minutes per week for a period of 6 weeks. To eliminate any conflicts in the result, no treatment was given to the left leg.
After six weeks, patients reported significant pain reduction in their right legs. Said the researchers, “The present study shows that PEMF therapy improves pain, stiffness and physical function in elderly patients affected by knee osteoarthritis.”
Adapted from ancient Chinese medicine, electroacupuncture is used to treat a range of symptoms like chemotherapy-related nausea, arthritis, general pain, stress, addiction, and tinnitus.
There have been multiple studies on electroacupuncture so far, and most researchers have said that electroacupuncture combined with traditional therapy is extremely beneficial.
One such study in Canada confirmed that electroacupuncture is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. They created two groups: one received electroacupuncture therapy and the second one received placebo treatment. After five treatments, they observed significant improvement in the group receiving electroacupuncture therapy, whereas no noticeable changes were seen in the placebo group.
Another study in India says that electroacupuncture is effective in treating back pain, and even better, it has a 65% success rate.
The researchers said that “electroacupuncture may turn out to be a complement to the existing treatments. Electroacupuncture is a simple, easy-to-learn, fairly cheap, and safe treatment. Therefore, besides conventional medical therapy electroacupuncture, an alternative medicine therapy is a valuable option for the treatment of back pain.”
Electroacupuncture is still relatively new, and there are ongoing studies on its effectiveness. But, if we look at its success rate, this procedure may be a medical standard soon.
Immune System Stimulation
The human immune system is a highly complex network of cells, tissues, and organs. The immune system primarily works to protects the body from foreign pathogens. It gets activated when your body sends a signal to your brain that it has been contaminated with potentially threatening bacteria or viruses. When this happens, the immune system releases antibodies that attack and destroy the invaders.
An example of the immune system at work is when we have a fever. Most fevers are not a result of some dysfunction in our body. Most of the time, it’s just our immune system trying to kill foreign microbes by raising the body temperature.
Modern science identifies that the immune system activates through a process called ‘the danger model.’ Immunologist Polly Matzinger introduced this model in 1994, in which she explained that when cells suffer some damage, they send a warning signal to the brain. The brain then immediately sends an activation signal to the immune system.
Cell death is normal. Every cell has a defined lifespan, and when it completes its lifespan, it dies. This natural process is called apoptosis, in which the cell does not send an SOS signal.
The danger signal is activated when a cell dies unnaturally because of viruses, bacteria, or physical injury. This kind of cell death is called necrosis. After receiving the signal, the immune system rushes to the affected area and starts defending the body from more damage.
The problem arises when sometimes, even after complete recovery, the affected area continues sending signals through inflammation. This causes the immune system to target and damage healthy cells.
Scientists have identified that by giving the patient ELF-MF and PEMF therapy for some time after recovery, they can suppress unnecessary danger signal emission and immune system activation.
Your body is a result of proper cell combination and relevant growth. Meaning, cells combine in a pre-defined way and multiply themselves to form all parts of the body. Through years of evolution, human DNA has gathered information on what is needed to keep a human healthy. The DNA then passes this information out to the cells, telling them when to stop multiplying.
An example of this would be healing severed body parts. Let’s take a severed finger as an example. When a finger detaches from the body, the cells start to regrow and heal the wound. But it won’t regrow to the point where the patient develops a new finger. This is because of the information passed to the cells by the DNA, which defines the parameters for cell regrowth.
Now in the case of cancerous cells, the information is not taken from the DNA and the cells keep growing, forming a tumor and eventually resulting in cancer. When the cell growth is not too rapid, our immune system can actually detect and destroy these cancer cells. But in many cases, the growth is so fast that the immune system fails to stop it.
Researchers have identified that exposing the cancerous cells to low-frequency EMF can suppress cell growth, allowing the immune system to destroy the unhealthy cells.
This was proven in a 2004 experiment by Israeli scientists. They exposed 500 dishes of cancerous cells with a multiplication frequency of less than 24 hours and exposed them to 100 kHz EMF. They noticed that the cell growth speed started decreasing and eventually came to a halt, showing that if controlled EMF therapy is used in combination with appropriate medications, the immune system can regain cell growth control and ultimately cure the patient.
Matching the Frequency of Tumors
As I already established in this post, the human body produces electric signals that travel from the brain to different body parts through neurons. Because of this, every cell in our body has an electrical frequency, even tumors.
Earlier, scientists hypothesized that if we target the tumor cell with the same amount of EMF frequency in which the cell is vibrating, we can potentially stop the abnormal cell growth.
This was proven true later on, and the method of identifying tumor frequency and treating it with EMF operating on the same frequency is now being practiced by many professionals.
Even though this is a fairly new method, it gives a new approach to cancer treatment where patients won’t have to suffer long-lasting side effects like they do with chemotherapy.
You can see from these examples, obviously low-powered electromagnetic radiation affects living tissues and our body’s systems — and it’s not just two or three, but a lot of our body’s systems. If EMF didn’t have therapeutic uses, devices like the SCENAR and Cefaly would not work. Even federal regulators agree that EMF affects living beings.
This is not to say that EMF is always safe or beneficial. With all therapeutic devices that utilize EMF, managing the dose is crucial to their function. And so, while at lower doses, EMF from devices like SCENAR and Cefaly can be quite beneficial to human health, that is not what we have polluting our environment from the massive variety of electrical appliances and wireless devices. With devices like cell phones that emit unpredictable doses of radiation not designed to heal human beings, the results are much more worrisome.
This is why it is ludicrous to argue — as many in the telecommunications industry do — that EMF has no effect on living tissue. It is impossible to believe that low-powered EMF has no effect on living things, when medicine and federal regulators recognize that such levels of EMF radiation can be used to help heal. Either EMF affects living things, or it doesn’t; you can’t have it both ways.
So the next time you hear someone say there is no ‘conclusive proof’ that EMF affects humans, even at very low levels of power, you can talk to them about some of the ways that EMF is used in medicine to heal – and that therapeutic healing would not be possible if EMF were not bioactive.