Magnets have long been used in healthcare
Magnets have been known to provide healing and healthcare benefits for thousands of years. Following the discovery of electromagnetism at the end of the 19th century, Nikola Tesla used his ‘Tesla Coil’ on patients as an electromagnetic medical device, who would usually experience an immediate relief in pain.
Electricity and magnetism featured in medical textbooks as therapeutic alternatives for insomnia, fatigue, arthritis, pain and convulsions. However, they eventually fell out of favour with doctors in the west when education on electromagnetic therapies was removed from medical schools in the United States.
PEMF technology developed in the Soviet Union
The rise in power of political medicine in the west and the shift to near complete dependence on pharmaceuticals for health led to a period of dormancy, which lasted nearly sixty years. However, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy was embraced and developed in the Soviet Union and is still widely deployed throughout their healthcare system today. Significant levels of research in magnetic therapy was also carried out for the Soviet space program.
The fall of the Soviet Union allowed government manufacturers to license their PEMF technology and it became commercially available to the west in the 1970s. Public awareness then increased amidst reports of enhanced speed and endurance of racehorses treated with electromagnetic fields.
Professional sports doctors subsequently decided to experiment with the veterinarian devices on elite athletes and in 1979 the FDA allowed electromagnetic fields to be used on humans for non-union and delayed union fractures. Ten years later it was approved for the treatment of pain and oedema in superficial soft tissues.
NASA awarded PEMF patent
NASA was awarded a US patent in 2009 – US 7,601,114 B2 – that utilised pulsed electromagnetic fields to enhance tissue repair in mammals. This was as a result of research carried out to find methods to reverse the bone loss experienced by astronauts when they were outside the earth’s magnetic field. As an adjunct to this, pulsed magnetic fields were also used to stimulate the growth of stem cells.
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