Mechanism of Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency Therapy Copy

Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Mechanism of Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency Therapy Copy

LOLA December 18, 2020

P.E.M.F. therapy is all the rage at the moment.  Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Field therapy, however, is not new.  In fact, the science has been around for decades and has been helping horses since the introduction of Centurion products in 1979.

“PEMF therapy is another method of utilizing a magnetic field, somewhat like static magnets, which have been used for centuries. The Yellow Emporer’s Canon of Internal Medicine describes treating acupuncture points with lodestone, which emits a naturally occurring magnetic field, to relieve painful conditions. In the middle ages, magnets were very popular as they were thought to be a cure for almost any malady. Fast forward to the 20th century, when magnetic bracelets, beds, rings, belts, blankets, etc., have been sold to treat all manner of problems, from athlete’s foot to insomnia. Almost everyone has heard of using magnets therapeutically.

PEMF devices are a bit more complicated to use than just placing a magnet on the tissue. PEMF systems are composed of coils of copper wire, through which a current of electrical energy is delivered. The current is turned on and off a number of times per second, surging through the coil. The magnetic field expands around the coil, and then collapses, expands and collapses again with the pulse of current. One of the benefits of PEMF versus static magnets is that the fields are typically much larger, so you do not have to place the PEMF coil right on the area needing therapy. Given the correct amount of current and the optimum number of coil windings, some coils can emit a measurable magnetic field up to 18” from the surface of the coil. This makes it easy to use on equine patients, by strategically placing the coils in known problem areas like joints and major muscle groups.

In addition, PEMF beds are now widely used in small animal rehabilitation centers to assist in therapy for degenerative conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia. For horses, after short treatments over several days, owners and trainers can generally see and feel an improvement in the way the horse moves.


The improvements we see from PEMF therapy are increasingly supported in the scientific literature. A quick review of PubMed (U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health), shows the wide range of growing literature on the biological and clinical effects of PEMF. Studies show the therapeutic effects of PEMF on:

– joint diseases

– patient recovery after arthroscopic surgery

– MS fatigue and quality of life

– nerve regeneration in the cat

– neural regeneration in the rat

– knee osteoarthritic lesion progression in guinea pigs

– articular hyaline cartilage”

As an aside, PEMF and ultrasound were two of the very first therapies I learned during my time as a veterinary technician at the Detroit Race Course.  We used the Centurion machines for post-race recovery and preparation.  In the early 90’s, while working for Olympic showjumper Chris Kappler, Centurion treatments were a daily part of the management of some of his top performance horses, including the invincible showjumper Concorde.


P.E.M.F. therapies have evolved over the years.  Today, there are a growing number of companies getting in the game.  Centurion continues to be a strong force in the community, but its units lean toward larger and more cumbersome models.  Their blanket system offers broad treatments at one time compared to some and they now offer smaller battery-powered units that eliminate the cords and heavy box of previous years.  Their hoofpad unit still offers the most powerful treatment specifically for feet.

BEMER is currently the front runner in advanced technology in this arena, offering tremendous ease of treatment and pre-programmed settings that make treatment easy and effective.  The frequencies are matched to the vital frequencies of each tissue type, eliminating the need to calculate or adjust frequencies between sessions.  The lightness of their blankets and the cord-free convenience make them one of the safest models.  Based on the convenience, price and effectiveness, it is small wonder that this is the PEMF therapy choice for stable-owners and managers.  BEMER is backed with solid science as well due to years of studies from their human line of products and uses frequencies that are subtle and relaxing to people and animals.  Though people report feeling physically energized by the treatments, they also report feeling peaceful and relaxed.

Higher-powered low-frequency models including MagnaWave and Pulse EQX offer a different approach to PEMF.  These big-box models are gaining popularity in many equestrian disciplines but their roots are in the physical therapy world.  The greater intensity of their delivery creates more superficial response including muscle contraction or activation of the fasciculating muscles.  This could be an advantage in recovery from atrophy or muscle growth stimulation but can also be overwhelming for fatigued tissues or sensitive animals.

At the end of the day, they all use the same technology by combining two powerful energy forces: electricity and magnetics.