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PEMF & Physical Therapy

PEMF & Physical Therapy

PEMF therapy, instrumental physical therapy

In the field of rehabilitative physical therapy, it is possible to use techniques that use physical or instrumental means (electromedical devices) that help to stimulate postural and/or motor reflexes and skeletal muscle functions.

Instrumental physical therapy is based on the use of heat, laser light, electric currents, electromagnetic waves, ultrasound, etc., for the treatment of various diseases and conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system.

PEMF therapy is one of the physical means used in physical therapy, within the field of physiotherapy.

Others are electrotherapy, ultrasound, laser therapy, diathermy, and thermotherapy.

PEMF therapy is performed through an electronic device (instrument) capable of emitting electromagnetic fields, transferred to the patient by means of specific ergonomic applicators, called solenoids. These applicators wrap around the specific musculoskeletal areas involved in the application of the therapy.

There are two main ways of emitting magnetic fields produced by electronic circuits:

  • Low-frequency and high-intensity PEMF therapy, measured in Gauss (G)
  • High-frequency and low-intensity PEMF therapy, measured in milliWatt (mW)

Both techniques produce pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). These are electromagnetic fields because they are produced by an electronic circuit that generates a pulse current emitted with a controlled frequency. PEMF therapy acts at a cellular level restoring the “energy” balance of the cell.

Cells, being living organisms, are endowed with “energy”. The cell membrane allows the passage of nutrients thanks to the difference in electrical potential between the inner and outer wall of the membrane itself. This difference in intra-extra cellular potential can range from -70mV to -90mV (up to -120mV in the case of heart cells).

When cells get sick, due to an infection or trauma, or any other cause, they lose some of their energy charge. The potential difference is reduced (at -50mv the cell is discharged, at -40mV in distress), preventing the exchange of substances between the outside and the inside of the cell. This accelerates the process of cellular ageing. The purpose of PEMF therapy is precisely to restore the difference in potential, specifically the repolarisation of the cellular structure, in order to recover the physiological balance of the cell and reactivate it.

This is why we often talk about cellular biostimulation.

The main therapeutic applications include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Fractures
  • Cervicalgia
  • Sprains
  • Muscle contractures
  • Lumbosacral pain
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Arthrosis/arthritis
  • Delayed union
  • Algodystrophy
  • Epicondylitis/Epitroclea
  • Muscle pain
  • Rheumatism

The diseases and conditions listed fall under the treatments recognised by the Italian Ministry of Health for therapeutic purposes and therefore included in the CE marking plans of devices for PEMF therapy.

When choosing a PEMF therapy device, like any other medical device, make sure that the device you purchase has a genuine medical certificate.

Ask the manufacturer a “CE declaration of conformity” and a copy of the “CE certificate of the manufacturer”, which is issued by a body appointed by the Italian Ministry of Health and not by the manufacturer itself.

It should all be downloadable directly from the manufacturer’s website. If you do not find it on the website, ask yourself why, or rather ask the manufacturer why!