PEMF Therapy and Nitric Oxide Production


Many cells in the body produce nitric oxide; however, its production by the vascular endothelium is particularly important in the regulation of blood flow. Abnormal production of nitric oxide, as occurs in different disease states, can adversely affect blood flow and other vascular functions. Nitric oxide is one of the few gaseous signalling molecules known and is additionally exceptional due to the fact that it is a radical gas. It is a key vertebrate biological messenger, playing a role in biological processes.

The March/April 2009 Aesthetic Surgery Journal published a study: “Evidence-Based Use of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy in Clinical Plastic Surgery” that summarizes the evolution in the understanding of the physiological effects of PEMF therapy on cells and tissues.

PEMF Therapy Increases Blood and Lymphatic Circulation:

The arterial and venal blood vessels are intimately associated with the lymphatic system.. As the blood and lymphatic vessels bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells and remove their waste products, they are nourishing and detoxifying the cells, tissues and body. As PEMF therapy mechanically stimulates blood vessels and blood flow, the blood vessels pump blood and oxygen into the cells. Simultaneously, PEMF therapy mechanically stimulates the lymphatic vessels and waste products are hauled away from the cells more efficiently. PEMF therapy supports immune health by mechanically stimulating lymphatic drainage and blood flow.

PEMF Therapy Increases Cellular Membrane Permeability

It has since been established that magnetic fields can influence ATP (Adenosine Tri-phosphate) production; increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients via the vascular and lymphatic systems; improve the removal of waste via the lymphatic system; and help re-balance the distribution of ions across the cell membrane. Healthy cells in tissue have a voltage difference between the inner and outer membrane referred to as the membrane resting potential that ranges from -70 to -80 mV. This causes a steady flow of ions through its voltage-dependant ion channels.

PEMF Therapy Stimulates Cellular Communication and Replication:

DNA synthesis is linked to pulsed, low intensity magnetic fields (Liboff et al., 1984; Rosch et al., 2004). Proteins are conductors of electricity. When exposed to strong fields, proteins are subject to electrophoresis. The Ribonucleic Acid (“RNA”) messengers that are synthesized from a Deoxyribonucleic Acid (“DNA”) template during transcription mediate the transfer of genetic information from the cell nucleus to ribosomes in the cytoplasm and serve as a template for protein synthesis.

PEMF Therapy Increases Cellular Genesis (Cellular Growth and Repair):

The many intra and inter cellular processes and activity stimulated by PEMF therapy lead to faster cellular and tissue regeneration. This fact is shown by the results of many studies on a variety of tissues, including bones, spine, cartilage, intestines, blood vessels, nerves, brain, and muscles.

In December 2004, the Swiss Medical Tribune stated that PEMF therapy provided: “improvement of blood circulation, relief from pain, improvement of bone healing and the stimulation of nerve cells. Not only is the PEMF therapy effective in disease condition: it is an excellent means of preventing stress, assisting regeneration and recovery after sports exertion ... Through metabolic activation and blood circulation more nutrients and oxygen are available to muscle cells, less damage is experienced, and efficiency is improved.” PEMF Therapy Reduces Inflammation:

Several factors may contribute to inflammation including injury, tissue damage, a poor localized circulation with the formation of edema. Inflammation causes pain. Swelling and bruising is an inflammation and discoloration of soft tissue caused by an impact injury or trauma. It can also result from surgery.


PEMF Therapy Reduces Pain:

Many studies have demonstrated the positive effects of PEMF therapy on patients with pain, even as opposed to receiving traditional treatment as well as against a placebo group getting no treatment. Some studies focused on the rapid, short-term relief while others demonstrate the long-term effects. The effectiveness of PEMF therapy has been demonstrated in a wide variety of painful conditions. In a study entitled: ”Double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the treatment of migraine with PEMF”, Sherman et al. (Orthopedic Surgery Service, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA, USA) evaluated 42 subjects who met the International Headache Society's criteria. During the first month of follow-up with exposure to PEMF, 73% of those receiving actual exposure, reported decreased headaches with 45% a substantial decrease and 14% an excellent decrease. Ten of the 22 subjects who had received actual exposure received two additional weeks of actual exposure, after their initial month. All showed decreased headache activity with 50% a substantial decrease and 38% an excellent decrease. Sherman R. concluded that exposure to PEMF for at least 3 weeks is an effective, short-term intervention for migraine. Jorgensen et al. (1994 International Pain Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA, USA) studied the effects of PEMF on tissue trauma and concluded: “Unusually effective and long-lasting relief of pelvic pain of gynecological origin has been obtained consistently by short exposures of affected areas to the application of a magnetic induction device. Treatments are short, fasting-acting, economical, and in many instances have obviated surgery”.   Patients with typical cases such as dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, ruptured ovarian cyst, acute lower urinary tract infection, post-operative haematoma, and persistent dyspareunia who had not received analgesic medication were treated with pulsed magnetic field treatment and evaluated. The results showed that 90% of the patients experienced marked, even dramatic relief, while 10% reported less than complete pain.


PEMF Therapy Blocks Pain:

PEMF therapy has shown to be effective at reducing pain both in the short-term and in the long-term. The ways by which PEMF therapy relieves pain include pain blocking, decreased inflammation, increased cellular flexibility, increased blood and fluids circulation, and increased tissue oxygenation. The trans-membrane potential, (“TMP”) is the voltage difference (or electrical potential difference) between the interior and exterior of a cell.


PEMF Therapy Increases Energy Storage and Cellular Activity At the sub-atomic level, as the pulsed fields expand and collapse through a tissue, the protein molecules, such as the cytochromes in the cells' mitochondria, gain electrons and, in doing so, store energy. Even though the instantaneous peak magnetic energy amplitudes are very high, the average magnetic amplitudes generated by PEMF therapy remain low, the average total energy transmitted to the tissues is not powerful enough to create heat within the cells, nor for the cells' atoms to vibrate much and cause a thermal increase, nor for an electron to jump to a higher orbit and emit heat as it returns to its orbit of origin. There is only sufficient average energy for the electron-spin to be increased, thus, energy gets stored in the cells’ mitochondria by converting ADP (Adenosine Di-Phosphate) to ATP molecules more rapidly by the addition of the phosphate radical to the ADP. The ATP molecules store and transport the energy that is then used in the many chemical processes within the cell that participate in all the metabolic functions of living cells.



As demonstrated by the many studies cited herein, it is clear that PEMF treatment stimulates many aspects of cellular metabolism and activity by increasing the TMP and flow of ions across the cell membrane, growth factors, tissue repair and healing.  PEMF therapy increases blood circulation in and around damaged tissue, and effectively helps damaged cells heal by bringing more oxygen into the cells. Effects that are observed when the TMP is increased include: enhanced cellular energy (ATP) production, increased oxygen uptake, changes in entry of calcium, movement of sodium out of the cell, movement of potassium into the cell, changes in enzyme and biochemical activity, and changes in cellular pH will stimulate large amounts of lymphatic vessels to pump and drain lymph fluid which, in turn, supports immune health. This effect involves a chain of processes in the human body, which leads to the improvement of health without side effects including:

● Increased production of nitric oxide ● Improved micro-circulation Increased supply of oxygen, ions and nutrients to cells Increased partial oxygen pressure ● Increased ATP production by excitation of electrons ● Stimulation of RNA and DNA production ● Accelerated protein bio-synthesis by electron and energy transferolarized level of -90mV ● Anti-oxidation regulation with increased circulation of available electrons

● Increased calcium transport and absorption for stronger bones, joints and muscles ● Enhanced cellular and tissue elasticity with increased collagen production ● Increased cellular genesis promoting bone, cartilage, tendon and soft tissue growth ● Stimulation of cellular repair mechanisms ● Enhanced macro circulation: by mechanically de-clumping blood cells, alternately dilating and constricting vessels, and through angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels ● Increased absorption of nutrients and pharmaceuticals ● Accelerated detoxification of cells and organs ● Decreased swelling, inflammation and pain ● Boosting of the immune system, the body's defenses, by improving the rolling and adhesion behaviour of white blood cells ● Supporting the body's internal self-regulating mechanisms by activating cellular and molecular processes. Beyond its complex mechanisms, PEMF therapy offers many health benefits. PEMFs help the natural body healing processes by delivering a non-invasive form of repetitive electrical stimulation that requires no direct contact with the skin surface. Magnetic fields have been shown to affect biologic processes and be effective in a wide range of medical conditions. PEMF therapy has proven beneficial in stimulating cellular metabolism, blood and fluids circulation, tissue regeneration and immune system response. Through these processes, cells are able to function better and tissues repair themselves more efficiently. Through the same processes, vital organs such as the liver, kidneys and colon are able to rid themselves of impurities thus detoxifying the body and allowing better organ functionality. PEMF treatment is effective at increasing bone formation and bone density, healing fractures and osteotomies, recovery from wounds and trauma, graft and post-surgical behavior, recovery from myocardial and brain ischemia (heart attack and stroke), tendonitis, osteoarthritis, and impaired neural function or spasticity from central nervous system diseases such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord damage. PEMF stimulation offers a safer and more comfortable alternative for urinary incontinence to prior treatments. PEMF therapy improves sports performance, and simply helps to maintain good health. It stimulates muscles, connective tissues, intestines, tendons and cartilage, the brain and peripheral nerve sites. In doing so, PEMF therapy promotes healing and a return to higher activity levels. Functions that were lost begin to recover. Extensive research has been carried out to determine the mechanisms by which this occurs but, for the physiotherapist or other medical professional presented with a wide range of clinical problems, PEMF therapy is an invaluable aid to the clinic. PEMF therapy leaves you feeling relaxed, energized, renewed and with a sense of well-being.


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Goodfield Chiropractic Office


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