Can PEMF Therapy be Used for Bone Growth & Stimulation?

The human body has an energy flow which is critical to the optimal functioning of tissues and organs.  Pulsed Electromagnetic (PEMF) therapy uses the body’s own energy field to promote healing at a cellular level. PEMF therapy provides myriad benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving circulation, better oxygenation of the blood, managing chronic pain, accelerating healing from injury, and promoting bone formation.

What is PEMF therapy?

PEMF therapy is the use of low frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields to promote health and wellness. Thousands of clinical studies have shown ample evidence of a range of benefits that can be gained through treatments with pulsed electromagnetic fields.

The earth has a natural electromagnetic field, and so does the human body.  In the body, healthy cell membranes have both a positive and negative charge.  These charges allow for the exchange of ions that transport chemical messages in and out of cells.  Damaged cells have diminished electromagnetic charge which limits their ability to exchange these ions.  PEMF therapy restores the natural charge, allowing cells to produce appropriate energy.  

PEMF therapy can vary in waveform, intensity, frequency, and length of treatment.  All of these factors can impact biological processes to stimulate healing. 

The impact of PEMF therapy on bones

NASA tested PEMF therapy in the 1970s in an effort to alleviate muscle and bone loss experienced by astronauts.  PEMF therapy has been approved by the FDA for several various clinical applications since then, including as a safe and effective treatment for healing non-union fractures.

Older approaches to bone stimulation were invasive electrical. While research on the impact of electrical stimulation has been mixed, multiple studies have shown that PEMFs have a positive impact on bone health and healing.  A 2007 review of studies that used high-quality methodology demonstrated that PEMF treatment may speed healing of acute tibial fractures.

PEMFs are an indirect way of doing electrical stimulation with similar actions and go much deeper into the body. Another review of studies conducted in 2016 found that patients who were treated with electrical stimulation had lower rates of recurrent nonunions and experienced less pain.

Another study found that applying an alternating electric current to mesenchymal cells helped develop bone-building osteoblasts and promoted the healing of fractures. PEMFs likewise stimulate mesenchymal cells.

PEMF therapy has been proven to be a safe treatment with no side effects. The potential for accelerated healing and reduced pain makes PEMF therapy a valuable, no-risk treatment for bone fractures

PEMF mechanisms of action on the skeletal system

Though PEMF therapy has been used clinically for bone health and healing for decades, the ways in which the electromagnetic stimulation affected bone has remained somewhat of a mystery.  

A review article published in May 2020 explores the ways in which PEMFs act upon tissues to stimulate bone and cartilage repair. In this review, three key processes in cell response to pulsed electromagnetic field therapy were identified.  The first is signal transduction through cell membrane adenosine receptors.  Second, PEMFs activate osteoinductive pathways in the body.  Finally, PEMFs stimulate the synthesis of the skeletal extracellular matrix, including both structural and signaling molecules. Combined, these mechanisms impact bone by healing fractures, osteotomies, and nonunions.4

A better understanding of these mechanisms further supports the clinical use of PEMFs for bone growth and stimulation.

PEMF therapy and Osteoporosis

PEMF therapy has been shown to alleviate pain and improve functional outcomes for patients with osteoporosis.5 Pulsed electromagnetic fields may also activate various mechanisms that enhance bone-building activity and limit bone deterioration.

One small study showed a significant increase in bone density in the immediate area (the forearm) where PEMFs were applied for 10 hours per day for a period of 12 weeks.  These gains decreased over the course of the following nine months.  Interestingly, a similar, although weaker, response occurred in the arm opposite where treatment was applied, suggesting a “cross-talk” effect possibly due to proximity during sleep or weak general field effects6.    

PEMFs that target the whole body and can be used for extended periods of time, such as while sleeping, are a convenient, cost-effective solution for boosting bone health.

An Affordable Treatment Alternative

When used in a clinical setting, PEMF therapy is sometimes covered by insurance.  Often, however, treatment costs will be the responsibility of the patient.  In this case, investment in a system for home use can be an affordable alternative to multiple office visits.

Not only can a PEMF system help with an initial bone injury, but owning a PEMF device allows for long term use to promote overall bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis. The extended treatment time likely to produce these benefits isn’t practical in a clinical setting, but can be easily achieved at home, even while sleeping.

And with the range of other health benefits PEMF therapy provides, it’s well worth the investment.  A home PEMF device can be used by multiple members of the household, for a wide range of conditions. 

BioBalance: A PEMF System for Bone Health

PEMF therapy can help heal bones when acute injury occurs.  PEMF therapy also has the potential to stimulate bone growth and improve bone health long term when applied for an extended amount of time regularly.  To promote overall bone health, purchase of a PEMF device for use at home is a convenient, cost-effective solution.   

The BioBalance is a medium-intensity whole-body system that offers a range of different  intensities and frequencies. Six preset programs produce multiple benefits for the body.  Intensities and treatment times are adjustable allowing for flexible, personalized use.   Treatment time can be set from 10 minutes to 12 hours, and the BioBalance can be used safely overnight, making it an ideal investment for achieving long term benefits to bone health.

The BioBalance comes with two applicators which can be used separately or simultaneously without any loss of intensity, unlike many other PEMF devices. The full body mat provides whole body  treatment while the pillow pad targets specific needs, either alone or in conjunction with the full body treatment.

The BioBalance is an affordable, convenient, powerful system for promoting strong bones and accelerated healing.  Send us a Message for more information or to order.

References:

  1. Walker,N. A., C. R. Denegar, and J. Preische. 2007. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound and pulsed electromagnetic field in the treatment of tibial fractures: A systematic review. Journal of Athletic Training 42(4):530–535. 
  2. Aleem, I. S., Aleem, I., Evaniew, N., Busse, J. W., Yaszemski, M., Agarwal, A., Einhorn, T., & Bhandari, M. (2016). Efficacy of Electrical Stimulators for Bone Healing: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Sham-Controlled Trials. Scientific reports, 6, 31724. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep31724
  3. Creecy, C. M., C. F. O’Neill, B. P.Arulanandam, V. L. Sylvia, C. S. Navara, and R. Bizios. 2013. Mesenchymal stem cell osteodifferentiation in response to alternating electric current. Tissue Engineering Part A 19(3–4):467–474. 
  4. Wang, T.,L. Yang, J.  Jiang, Y. Liu, Z. Fan, C. Zhong, and C. He. 2019. Pulsed electromagnetic fields: Promising treatment for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis International 30(2):267–276. DOI:10.1007/s00198-018-04822-6. 
  5. Tabrah, F., M.Hoffmeier, F. Gilbert Jr., S. Batkin, and C. A. L. Bassett. 1990. Bone density changes in osteoporosis-prone women exposed to pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs). Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 5(5):437-442. 

Cadossi, R., Massari, L., Racine-Avila, J., & Aaron, R. K. (2020). Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Stimulation of Bone Healing and Joint Preservation: Cellular Mechanisms of Skeletal Response. JAAOS Global Research & Reviews, 4(5), e19.00155. https://doi.org/10.5435/JAAOSGlobal-D-19-00155

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