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PEMF: What is it, and how can it be useful?

Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency (PEMF) therapy is pulses of electromagnetic energy. The pulses mean that this energy is not felt as 'heat' in the tissue. The short pulses of electromagnetic energy (electrical current) impact the cell surfaces, creating a cascade of biochemical and biophysical changes in the cells, without interfering with nerve or muscle function.

The research indicates there is a wide range of benefits, and potential uses for this therapy. This include:

  • Growth and development of cells

  • Management of post surgical pain and edema

  • Treatment of chronic wounds

  • Facilitating vasodilatation and angiogenesis

  • Decreasing pain and swelling following injury or surgery

  • Alleviate cartilage degradation in synovial joints by promoting the growth of new cartilage

  • Treatment of joint disorders

  • Treatment of non-union fractures

  • Healing of chronic wounds

  • Chronic generalised pain

  • Chronic localised musculoskeletal or inflammatory pain

  • Treatment of anxiety disorders, panic, including PTSD

This treatment concept is far from new; in fact, PEMF was introduced as a treatment in the 1970s by Bassett and colleagues. NASA recognized the critical importance of maintaining the health of astronauts in space, using PEMF. In 2009, NASA was awarded a US patent – US 7,601,114 B2 – for their research on PEMF. This research involved investigation of tissue repair, and stimulation of growth of stem cells.

Some human PEMF devices

Application of this technology to dogs is a little more limited, and there are less treatment device options. Devices you may have heard about include PEMF beds (like the Respond Systems beds), and the Assisi Loop.

Some canine PEMF device options

How to use these devices
  • Beds - these normally have settings to run a 15 minute treatment. Pop your dog on the bed and let them chill out! This will impact the whole body.

  • Loops - Place them over the affected area. You can secure them with K tape to the body or a harness or clothing, or just hold them in place. You can treat for 15 minutes twice a day, or leave devices on longer if desired.

  • For chronic generalised pain, or anxiety we need to place the loop device on the top of the head. This impacts some of the brain centres related to these behaviour disorders. Treatments are usually 15 minutes twice a day.

At Hybrid Training all Canine Myofascial (Massage) treatments occur on a PEMF Bed. There is also a PEMF loop available in the HDT Shop.

Flori and Grid on the PEMF bed

Related reading and research

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