Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (pEMF)

PEMF, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy, improves circulation and enhances blood oxygenation, reduces inflammation, accelerates bone healing and improves muscle function.  Physicians use PEMF to treat neuropathy, pain, bone fractures and post-surgical tissue repair.

What is pEMF?

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy uses magnetic waveform generators to stimulate human cells with magnetic pulses. PEMF generators range from extremely low-level power (ELF) to high-level power (HF) machines. Many Low-level devices are designed for home use by consumers for general wellness type applications. High-level power machines are generally sold only for clinical use by a physician. However, the cellular response to such stimulation takes place in all types of cells so PEMF therapy of all frequencies/powers can be used to treat a great number of different medical conditions.

Who is it for?

PEMF has been safely and effectively used, among other conditions, to treat:

  • Chronic pain and fibromyalgia
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Post-surgical tissue healing
  • Sports injuries
  • Bone fracture repair

These and many similar conditions are successfully treated at the TheraMind® Center using PEMF in combination with Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).


At the TheraMind Center of Santa Barbara our physicians typically prescribe use of PEMF in combination with other treatment modalities such as LLLT and/or HBOT. Thus, it is difficult to statistically identify or ascribe treatment results to any particular technology. However, numerous clinical studies have confirmed the efficacy of PEMF to enhance post-surgical healing  [1], diabetic foot ulcers [2], musculoskeletal pain, including lower back pain [3], bone healing [4], arthritis [5], fibromyalgia and inflammation or circulatory problems, among numerous other neurophysiological disorders.  

The images below demonstrate the effect of PEMF stimulation on human circulatory processes:

Figure 1. shows a comparison of blood flow after stimulation of the right foot (red) versus the absence of stimulation to the left foot (blue).

Foot Blood Flow Stimulation Image

Figure 2. shows before (left) and after (right) images of various body parts stimulated with PEMF. The increase in red color on the right corresponds to the increase in oxygenated blood flow to those body areas after PEMF stimulation.

History of pEMF

Treating human ailments with magnets can be traced back as far as 4000BC. In the 19th century, the science around magnetic fields and electromagnetism began to come into focus. Michael Faraday, an English scientist, proposed the concept of electromagnetic fields. In the early 20th century American Nikola Tesla invented an electrical coil which has become the standard magnetic loop coil seen in most current PEMF systems. In the U.S. veterinarians began using PEMF to treat animals long before it was used to treat humans. The FDA first approved a PEMF system in 1979 for use as a bone stimulator to treat nonunion fractures. [6] In 2003 Thomas Goodwin, PhD. published the results of a four-year study on PEMF conducted by him in collaboration with others at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. [7] The purpose of that study was to examine the ability of PEMF therapy to enhance the repair of tissues in mammals.  That study concluded that PEMF was effective at healing and regeneration of damaged tissue, increasing the rate of cell growth and improving cell life using extremely low frequency (ELF) and low intensity PEMF of varying wave forms as well as what is known as upregulation of certain genes related to healing.  Since then the FDA has cleared at least two devices to treat postoperative pain [8] and musculoskeletal pain. [9]  Currently, there is at least one clinical trial underway in the U.S. designed to assess the efficacy of PEMF to affect pain. [10]


  1. (a) Strauch, B., et al, “Evidence-Based Use of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy in Clinical Plastic Surgery”,   Aesthetic Surgery Journal  Vol. 29 • Number 2 • March/April 2009.
    (b) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19371845 ( Evidence-based Use of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy in Clinical Plastic Surgery (2009). 
  2. Elrashid, N., et al, “Additional effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields to laser therapy on management of diabetic foot ulcer: a single blind randomized controlled trial”, Bioscience Research 2018 15(4):3322-3328 
  3. Alzayed, K., et al, ”Efficacy of Pulsed Low-Frequency Magnetic Field Therapy on Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial”, Asian Spine Journal, 2020;14(1):33-42  https://doi.org/10.31616/asj2019.0043
  4. (a) Hannemann PF, Mommers EH, Schots JP, Brink PR, Poeze M. The effects of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound and pulsed electromagnetic fields bone growth stimulation in acute fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2014;134(8):1093‐1106. doi:10.1007/s00402-014-2014-8
    (b) Shi, Hong-Fei,  et al.,  “Early application of pulsed electromagnetic field in the treatment of postoperative delayed union of long-bone fractures: a prospective randomized controlled study BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders”,  2013, 14:35 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2474/14/35
    (c) www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/300_399/0343.html
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20329696 ( Low Frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Field — A Viable Alternative Therapy for Arthritis (2009).
  6. OsteoGen Implanatable Bone Growth Stimulator, Electrobiology, Inc., 1979 FDA 510(k) approval.
  7. Goodwin, Thomas J., et al, “Physiological and Molecular Genetic Effects of Time-Varying Electromagnetic Fields on Human Neuronal Cells”, September 1, 2003.  https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20030075722
  8. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cdrh_docs/pdf19/K190251.pdf
  9. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/crdh_docs/pdf19/K192234.pdf
  10. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04109638

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TheraMind Center of Santa Barbara

351 Hitchcock Way, Ste. B170
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Phone: (805) 845-4455 | Fax: (805) 845-9820