A Brief History of Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field Therapy

In 1831 Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry, each independently discovered that a change in an electric current induces a magnetic field in the surrounding material and vice-versa.

In 1861, James Clerk Maxwell further refined Faraday’s groundbreaking work and expressed in a paper, “On Physical Lines of Force,” that any change in an electrical field always produces a magnetic field and any change in a magnetic field always produces an electrical field.

Paul Lorrain and Dale Corson, further define the electromagnetic field in the Fundamentals of Electromagnetic Phenomena, first book edition 2000: “any time-varying magnetic field is accompanied by a time-varying electric field”.

In 1956, Dr. Kyoichi Nakagawa, Japan, advanced the theory that humans were subjected to the Earth's magnetic field and that it had bio-magnetic effects.

Computer models indicate that the strength of Earth's magnetic field declined about 10 percent over the past century.

Dr. Nakagawa argued that humans evolved in a certain magnetic field and that it is necessary for proper health.

Humans may be experiencing a "Magnetic Field Deficiency Syndrome".

If a waning magnetic field puts us at risk, then magnetic therapy may make up for that deficit.

Dr. Becker, a pioneering medical doctor in the 1960’s, is most famous for his book “The Body Electric” which gives an autobiographical account of his life experiences with bio electro-magnetics.

He established that the Chinese meridians of the body are skin pathways of decreased electrical resistance.

He also discovered a host of other bioelectric effects within the body such as the electro-stimulation of limb regeneration in mammals.

He further experimented with the piezoelectric properties of bones, skin, and other tissues.

Iwao Yasuda, a Japanese orthopedist, demonstrated that bone was piezoelectric back in 1954; he and Eiichi Fukada, a physicist, confirmed the fact in 1957.

The piezoelectric effect is a reversible process certain materials, such as bone, have.

The piezoelectric effect is the internal generation of electrical charge resulting from an applied mechanical force and vice versa, the internal generation of a mechanical strain results from an applied electrical or magnetic field.

Dr. Becker worked with Dr. Andrew Bassett on the effects of electric current on bones and electrically stimulating bone growth.

In 1974, Bassett et al. used pulsed magnetic fields to treat non-union fractures.

In 2004, Dr. Abraham Liboff introduced significant physics principles into the field of bio-electromagnetics.

He examined the effects of the cyclotron resonance on ions from the fact that any charged particle moving in a magnetic field will be accelerated at a rate proportional to its charge-to-mass ratio.

He studied the electromagnetic effects on the flux of ions in complex biological systems.

These early experiments and studies lead to the understanding that tissues in the body are responsive to electromagnetic fields and that exposure to pulsing magnetic fields may have numerous beneficial effects and healing properties.

More than 3,000 University level sham-controlled studies have been done in the past 30 years on many different conditions with positive results.

In the US, market access was granted by the FDA to pulsed electromagnetic field therapy devices since 1991 for Neurology, then for Muscle Stimulation in 1998, Pelvic Floor Stimulation in 1998, Evoked Response Stimulation in 2000, Bone Growth stimulation in 2004 and depression in 2006.

Pioneers in the Field of PEMF

A black and white photo of nikola tesla.

Nikola Tesla

In 1895, through the genius of Nikola Tesla, the Niagara Falls Power Company began sending alternating current (AC) to Buffalo, NY, twenty-five miles away. Cities throughout the world followed suit and made meeting of the American Electro- Therapeutic Association in commercial AC power available to the general public, even miles from the power generating station. As a result, Tesla’s high voltage coil devices, which were powered by AC, started to become widely known and applied.

In 1898, Tesla published a paper that he read at the eighth annual Buffalo, NY. He states that one of the early observed and remarkable features of pulsed magnetism was its apparent harmlessness, which made it possible to pass relatively great amounts of electrical energy through the body of a person.

Coils up to three feet in diameter were used for magnetically treating the body without contact, though ten to a hundred thousand volts were present "between the first and last turn”. Tesla concludes that bodily "tissues are condensers" in the 1898 paper, which is the basic component (dielectric) for an equivalent circuit only recently developed for the human body. In fact, the relative permittivity for tissue at any frequency from ELF (10 Hz-100Hz) through RF (10 kHz-100 MHz) exceeds most commercially available dielectrics on the market.

This unique property of the human body indicates an inherent adaptation and perhaps innate compatibility toward the presence of high voltage electric fields, probably due to the high transmembrane potential already present in cellular tissue.

Tesla also indicates that the after-effect from his coil treatment was certainly beneficial.

A man sitting on top of a chair.

George Lakhovsky

George Lakhovsky’s philosophy was that "the amplitude of cell oscillations must reach a certain value, in order that the organism be strong enough to repulse the destructive vibrations from certain microbes." He goes on to say, "the remedy in my opinion, is not to kill the microbes in contact with the healthy cells but to reinforce the oscillations of the cell either directly by reinforcing the activity of the blood or in producing on the cells a direct action by means of the proper rays."

Lakhovsky’s Radio-Cellulo-Oscillator (RCO) produced low frequency ELF all the way through gigahertz radiowaves with lots of "extremely short harmonics." His book, The Secret of Life was first published in English in 1939. In 1949, a review of Lakhovsky’s work was published as Waves That Heal by Mark Clement. Lakhovsky’s theory is that each cell in the body of an organism-be it a plant, an animal, or a human being-is in itself a little radio receiver and works on its own special little frequency.

Each cell, in addition to being tissue, in addition to being biology, is also electricity. On that theory, he held that pathology was a not matter of biological concern or intervention, but one of electrical concern and intervention. The record of his treatment of degenerative disease, with what amounts to an early "energymedicine" device, was remarkable.

A man in suit and tie holding a guitar.

Antoine Priore

Antoine Priore’s electro-magnetic therapy machine was perfected during the 1960’s and early 70’s as a team of leading French scientists demonstrated conclusive, total remissions of terminal tumors and infectious diseases in hundreds of laboratory animal—all funded by the French Government. Complete remission of the treated diseases was obtained. In addition, the animals’ immune systems were restored to normal.

Antoine Priore began working in 1944-45 to develop an electro-magnetic device which cured cancer. He got the backing of some very interesting and courageous people, including the world-famous immunologist Dr. Raymond Pautrizel of the University of Bordeaux II, who did all the animal work. When Dr. Pautrizel arrived on the scene, he decided to take the research in another direction and began to use the machine to treat what he knew best which was sleeping sickness in animals. Sleeping sickness was of primary concern to Dr. Pautrizel because it is a widespread affliction in tropical countries. When he injected rabbits with the pathogen trypansome, which causes sleeping sickness, the rabbits would all die within 72 hours.

But when exposed to the Priore device, these same rabbits would live. Yet their blood was still teeming with the trypanosomes which could be extracted from the radiated rabbits and injected into other control rabbits, which would then die. This implies that the machine was doing something electro-magnetically to the rabbits’ immune systems such that they were able to fight off a lethal disease which would normally kill them in 72 hours!

A man sitting at a desk in front of some electronic equipment.

Robert Becker

A pioneering medical doctor in the 1960’s, Dr.Becker is most famous for his book, The Body Electric, which gives an autobiographical account of his life experiences with bioelectro-magnetics. Not only did he establish that the Chinese meridians of the body are skin pathways of decreased electrical resistance, but he discovered a host of other bioelectric effects within the body as well, such as electrostimulating limbregeneration in mammals.

He also worked on electrically stimulating bone growth with Dr. Andrew Bassett, who along with Dr. Arthur Pilla, developed a very effective PEMF generator to stimulate bone fracture healing, now approved by the FDA with an 80% success rate. Similar PEMF signals recently have been used effectively to prevent osteoporosis even in patients with an ovariectomy.

A man in suit and tie sitting at desk.

Abraham Liboff

A modern-day physicist and inventor, Dr. Abraham Liboff is the discoverer of electric-field and geomagnetic ion cyclotron resonance, which more reliably explains the resonant interaction of static magnetic fields with endogenous AC electric fields in biological systems. A physicist with Oakland University, he has introduced significant physics principles into the field of bioelectromagnetics.

His "Method and Apparatus for the Treatment of Cancer" (US Patent #5,211,622) tunes an alternating magnetic field superimposed on a static magnetic field, to maintain a combined effect that has the proper cyclotron resonance frequency so that the neoplastic tissue containing a preselected ion can be treated to bring about a decrease in the proliferation rate of the cancer cells. It also can be combined with a chemotherapeutic agent for a synergistic effect.

However, it is noted in the patent disclosure that "up to 100 days of treatment will provide beneficial results”.