What are Electromagnetic Fields?
An electromagnetic field is a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. It affects the behaviour of charged objects in the vicinity of the field. The electromagnetic field extends indefinitely throughout space and describes the electromagnetic interaction. It is one of the four fundamental forces of nature. The field can be viewed as the combination of an electric field and a magnetic field. The electric field is produced by stationary charges, and the magnetic field by moving charges.
Why a Pulse?
Research suggests that the pulse characteristic is perhaps the most important component of the electromagnetic signal. The pulse is highly dependent on how rapidly the rise and fall time of the signal occurs. A rapid fall time indicates a high peak voltage value, which in turn is responsible for ion displacement within the body. The greater the ion displacement, the stronger the biological effect that is exerted by the PEMF therapy.
Extensive research carried out by NASA, led by Dr. Thomas Goodwin PhD in 2003, highlighted the importance of a rapid time varying waveform, specifically a square waveform. The sawtooth signal, first discovered by Bassett in 1974, also fits this criteria and is one of the most useful waveforms that has been created due to it’s sharp rise and fall time, producing the greatest electromagnetic stimulation to the cells within the body.
In addition to being signalled by chemicals to perform certain functions, such as the case with drugs or nutrients, the cells within the body can also be influenced energetically by electromagnetic waves of particular frequencies. The frequency of the earth is regarded to be between approximately 7 and 11 Hz. The work of Blackman and colleagues (1979) confirmed earlier findings of Bawin et al (1975) who reported in their research that brain tissue responded most positively to a narrow frequency range of between just 6 and 20 Hz. NASA also found that a low frequency signal of 10 Hz had the greatest effect on tissue healing and regeneration. The healing effects of specific frequencies, often known as the frequency windows of specificity, were highlighted by the work of Sisken & Walker (1995). Their review documented that, amongst others, a frequency of 2 Hz can influence nerve regeneration, 7 Hz can help to stimulate bone growth, 10 Hz can help promote ligament repair and 15 Hz can stimulate capillary formation and fibroblast (collagen producing cells) proliferation.
The intensity of an electromagnetic field is a measurement of it’s strength. The Earth’s magnetic field for example, is considered to be between approximately 30-60 microTesla. The research of Goodman and Blank (1998) found that human cells most readily express a cell-preserving gene, heat shock protein 70 (hsp70), at 7-8 microTesla rather than a stronger field intensity above 70 microTesla. Adey and Bawin (1976) also demonstrated that extremely low electromagnetic field intensities were capable of stimulating the cell membrane of brain tissue and initiating the health benefits that are associated with PEMF therapy. NASA research (2003) found that a low intensity electromagnetic field strength of between just 1 – 20 microTesla, which is less than the earth’s magnetic field, was most effective for tissue healing and regeneration.
The “Biological Window” of electromagnetic field intensity and frequency to which the human body responds most effectively has been documented through the research of Goodman and Blank (1998) and Adey and Bawin (1976) respectively. This has also been backed up by further research, including the work of Blackman and colleagues (1979). There are over three thousand published research papers which highlight the positive effects of PEMF therapy across all frequency and intensity ranges, and for various diseases. Research also shows that the applied frequency, intensity and type of waveform are all crucial when it comes to an effective response.