The concept of static magnetic therapy and electrotherapy as medical treatments existed long before the invention of PEMF devices. Interestingly all these treatments share the same history despite being different from each other. Here are some interesting facts regarding the origin and development of these therapies till the evolution of contemporary portable devices like amethyst mats.
- Magnetic therapy, Electrotherapy, and Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy are Different Phenomena
About 2000 years ago, ancient Greek physicians used to use lodestone (magnetized pieces of a mineral called magnetite) for the treatment of patients. There is also evidence about Chinese physicians using lodestone for acupuncture. However, modern research does not provide any scientific evidence about its health benefits. PEMF does not use a magnetic field; rather, it is based on an electromagnetic field.
Cleopatra used to wear a tiny magnet to sustain her beauty.
Electrotherapy gave birth to PEMF. In the early eighteenth century, physicians started using electric coils for electrotherapy for fulfilling medical purposes and later for muscle stimulation. Finally, in 1897, Nikola Tesla became the first researcher to introduce the concept of pulsed electrotherapy. It was the time when electricity had not yet become an integral part of everyday life. Later, when electricity became a necessity, the safe handling of it for healthcare was a matter of concern. It was until the late 20th century that experts managed to use electricity in safe, painless, and effective ways as electromagnetic fields. One of the key differences between electrotherapy and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is that the former uses electric currents for stimulation, and the latter uses an electromagnetic field to stimulate body cells.
- PEMF is the Refined Practice of Old Concepts
The ancient ways of using magnets and electricity for healthcare lacked any systematic investigations regarding their know-how. But recent research explicitly explains the idea. The use of electromagnetic fields is the refined and well-organized version of old ideas. Einstein researched to prove the fact that magnetism and electricity are not separate entities; rather, they are aspects of the same field. The study of the relationship between magnetic field and electricity resulted in the evolution of the therapy and later to the use of certain devices to carry out the procedure around the 1970s.
Who were the first subjects to gain benefit from the treatment? Veterinarians in the United States first used PEMF to treat racehorses.
- FDA Approval
About 50 years ago, PEMF got FDA (United States Food and Drug Authority) approval for the treatment of various ailments like:
- For nonunion fractures healing in 1979
- Muscle stimulation in 1998
- For urinary incontinence in 1998
- Treatment of cervical fusion surgery in patients
- Treatment of anxiety and depression in 2006
- As adjunctive therapy in brain cancer in 2011
- Since 2015, the electromagnetic devices were included in class 2 registered wellness machines.
- Are PEMF Devices Used in Space
By the 1990s, Russian researchers had started facing the cons of long-duration stays in space. So they used PEMF devices on board. By the 2000s, NASA’s scientists had actively researched the potential benefits of the technique for repairing and moderating neurodegenerative and traumatized tissues. They consider it an important requirement for long stays in space.
The huge discussions regarding the utility of these devices for astronauts are sometimes misleading about the actual use of such devices while staying in space. The international space station lies within the range of the earth’s magnetic field, simply called the low orbit of the earth. The medical director of the Russian space program revealed that the devices are not meant for
Essential use in space rather the studies focus on long-term deprivation of the body from earth’s magnetic field for more ventures into space.
- The First PEMF Device was Huge
Unlike present-day handy devices like amethyst mats, the first model of the machine was a life-size, complex apparatus consisting of a Helmholtz coil. It created a uniform magnetic field. The patients to be treated were placed inside the machine for exposure to the pulsed electromagnetic field.
The application of this technique for healing originates from ancient times. Through technological advancements, it has attained the present-day practical form.