Weak Signal - Big Response
Part 3 - by Mac Stein, PT
In the 2 previous articles we have stated the following major points regarding Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Field therapy : (1) PEMF therapy has nothing to do with stationary magnets that either attract or repeal metals such as iron. (2) Not any PEMF device is therapeutic or risk-free. (3) Weak PEMFs generated outside the body have the capacity to effectively, safely and inexpensively influence a wide variety of injuries and conditions in a manner that enhances healing and recovery, and may contribute to the reduction in the use of drugs for both acute pain and chronic pain. (4) It is time for health professionals to keep up with published research on bioelectromagnetics and to add PEMF therapy to their therapy tool box.
While much of the research concentrates around further documenting and further understanding the ways in which weak signal PEMF therapy exerts its effect on specific injuries and conditions, some of the more recent research findings are mind-blowing in terms of potential future applications. Just google “Translational Medicine” to briefly familiarize yourself with another evolving branch of medicine. Here is an example: It has been known for a while that water ( as it exists in and around cells of the body) is not simply a collection of H2O molecules. Some of those molecules have properties different from the rest of the water molecules. It has also been shown that water has the capacity to absorb and retain some signals applied to it. Weak PEMF is one such signal and it has been speculated that once it has “memorized” such information, water has the capacity to transfer it to other biological systems. A group of researchers used a technology that is available mainly in research institutes to capture the electromagnetic information in a drug that is frequently used to treat urinary tract infection (UTI). That information was transferred to a pure water solution. A group of patients with UTI were given a very small amount of that solution to drink for7 days. Without getting too deep into the research methodology and its validity, the majority of these patients showed after 7 days an improvement in their signs and symptoms as if they have actually taken the drug. While this is an exciting finding, it is nowhere near ready for clinical use. It does, however, hint at the immense potential of exogenous PEMF therapy, which Big Pharma would probably fight nail-and-tooth. It may be possible to apply a similar rational and methods to vaccinations. Biofilm is another term you may want to check on. It is a colony formed by microorganisms during infection. There are several research papers pointing at the ability and effectiveness of weak signal PEMF to minimize the risk and/or combat the formation of biofilm formation of artificial joint implants.
|Bowed Tendon Treatment|
Be it a tendon or ligament tear, a hard-to-heal wound or the signs and symptoms of arthritis – most of the published research on PEMF therapy deals with weak signal PEMF therapy, mainly Radio Frequency (RF) of very low intensity and frequency. People ask about those high voltage fancy machines that make an audible click when you hold the round coil at the end of the cable close to the horse’s body, and each time you hear a click you see a brief muscle twitch. These are PEMF devices, but not PEMF therapy devices. All the research they site was done with devices totally different from theirs. To claim that the FDA has approved PEMF is very misleading. FDA approves specific PEMF therapy devices, not the concept of PEMF. Just like it approves a specific medication/drug, not a blanket approval for a group of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. These “bells-and-whistles” devices are closer to military use than to therapy, akin to using a machete in the sandwich shop or kicking the door down when you can open the door by simply inserting a key. How many times can you kick the door down ? These devices work for some injuries some of the time but there are risks associated with it and some undesirable side-effects that most people – including those who operate these devices – are unaware of. Suffice it to say that several academic research institutes have been working hard at experimenting with killing tumor cells with this technology and the main obstacle is not finding a way to not harm adjacent healthy cells. You may want to check on Old Dominion University Frank Reidy Research Institue. They are experimenting with just few seconds of treatment with nano seconds duration of each pulse, which poses several technological difficulties. As mentioned in the first article – too little may not be enough and too much may be toxic and dangerous. Those clicking high power devices you see advertised are basically fancy suitcases housing a capacitor that keeps recharging and discharging like a camera flash light to the tune of tens of thousands of watts. Why they sell for $$$$$ ? basically, because some are willing to pay. Any electrician could probably make you one for under $500, and be held liable. Patients report a temporary reduction of pain after MRIs yet medical institutions try to limit the number of times a patient undergoes an MRI test, as they are concerned with the cumulative amount of strong electromagnetic radiation the patient is exposed to.
Back to the more mundane application of weak signal PEMF therapy to equine soft tissue injuries: Tendon injuries, suspensory ligament injuries and spinal pain cases as diagnosed by your veterinarian consistently benefit from this therapy tool. Devices such as HealFast should be correctly applied as soon as possible after the injury occurs in order to maximize benefit. Initially secure the device with vetrap or strips of good quality vinyl tape and then properly apply a standing wrap to protect the device. If some skin warmth and/or sweating is present upon removal of the wrap – this is not a sign of worsening of the injury, especially if the device is applied over a muscle belly such as in the back. For prolonged use on other body parts that are hard to wrap (elbow, shoulder, belly, back, rump and face) you may use cattle cement (some use crazy glue tacks), vinyl tape or equine kinesiotape. More specific information for you and for your veterinarian and physician is always available at msteinpt.com
Mac Stein is a physical therapist specializing in orthopedic sports injuries and animal physical therapy. He is also a non-pro reined cowhorse rider and competitor.
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