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Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy):

Criteria for an effective device for PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy

Criteria for an effective device for PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy

See information at following link to better understand PEMF waves

Wave shape and frequency of PEMF waves

For effective therapy, electromagnetic wave energy must be absorbed by the body

An electromagnetic wave transmits ENERGY from its source.  ENERGY carried by EM wave is proportional to the following 3 factors:

1.  Its electric or magnetic field amplitude squared (E2 or B2).

 2. Its frequency

 3. Its duty cycle

For therapy, the body must be able to absorb the energy carried by an electromagnetic wave.  HOWEVER, the energy level does not necessarily need to be HIGH to have a therapeutic effect.    E.g. Earth's Schumann field has a strength of only  ~ 1 picotesla, which has numerous beneficial effects on the body's electrical functions; also the Sun's electromagnetic spectrum has a field strength of ~4000 picotesla at the Earth's surface, and 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) in the lower epidermis and dermis layers of the skin absorbs the energy of the sun's UV-B frequency to produce health-essential vitamin D.

NASA study provides specific criteria for effective PEMF therapy


A 4 year, multi-million dollar NASA study published in 2003 provided some conclusive criteria for effective energy medicine using time-varying EMFs.    This well-conducted and thorough study investigated the effectiveness of "the use of a time-varying electromagnetic field for potentiation of the growth of mammalian cells and tissues" - in particular, this study examined the growth and regeneration of human neural stem cells.  The study was not limited to PEMFs, but also included sine waves, and other "energy medicines", including LED's, lasers and static magnetic fields.

The NASA study found PEMFs to be the most effective form of energy medicine.  The NASA scientists found that slow (millisecond) pulses or sine waves, and static magnetic fields (even with field strengths of ~12000 Gauss i.e.  ~1.2 Tesla) were not as effective as low field strength PEMFs. Finding that these other electrotherapies were not as efficacious as PEMF therapy, the NASA study moved its focus to PEMFs.

NASA study also found that LOW frequency, LOW field strength, RAPIDLY-VARYING PEMFs provided the most effective therapy compared to alternatives.  They found that these criteria promoted better healing and regeneration of damaged or diseased tissue, greater cell longevity, accelerated cell growth, improved cellular transmembrane potentials (mainly observed in nerve cells), and an upregulation of genes (increases creation of certain gene products) related to collagen production, cell restoration and growth.

Specifics of NASA study:

Significant growth rate of cells was clearly demonstrated using a square wave, with a current of  1 - 6 mA, having a frequency spectrum with a fundamental frequency of 10 Hz, using a variable duty cycle (which is the fraction of one period the pulse is active, compared to the time between each pulse).

WAVEFORM:  Square wave.   "The most effective electromagnetic waveform for repair of trauma was a square wave with a rapid rate of change (dB/dt) which saw cell growth increased up to 4.0 times."

By way of confirmation of their findings, the NASA study references a report by Sandyk et al. of a dramatic improvement in a patient with progressive degenerative multiple sclerosis when subjected to PEMF treatment at a frequency of 2-7 Hz and magnetic field strength of 7.5 picoTesla (much less than the NASA study and closer to the Schumann field intensity of ~1 picoTesla). (Sandyk, 1992;  NASA, 2003)

FUNDAMENTAL FREQUENCY  (Pulse rate): 10 Hz.   This fundamental frequency is in line with the frequency of the life-sustaining Schumann resonance field surrounding the earth, which is also that of the brain's alpha waves when in a calm, relaxed state.

ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD STRENGTH:  1 - 20 µTesla (10 - 200 mGauss ) Neural cells (excitable cells) were subjected to these extremely low-level electromagnetic field amplitudes  --- i.e. less than half of the Earth's average geomagnetic static field strength of about 0.5 Gauss (50 µTesla). 


Conclusions for criteria for effective PEMF therapy


WAVEFORM of EMF should change direction rapidly.    E.g. as in a square wave,  impulse or saw-tooth wave; NOT slowly as in a sine wave or triangle waveform with a wavelength of milliseconds; the fast rise and fall times of square and saw pulses produce a spread of frequencies, which are multiple higher, odd harmonics of their fundamental frequency.  These are mathematically described by "Fourier transforms" - a  summation of a sine wave's fundamental frequency and its harmonic frequencies. The fundamental frequency is the pulse rate.

Dr. Bassett, who introduced the saw-tooth wave in 1974, found that a fast-changing EMF induces the maximum current in treated bones for accelerated healing.


Whether any part of the body is affected by EM wave energy depends on whether that body part absorbs its energy --- and that depends on the FREQUENCIES of, or the harmonics generated by, the wave.

If any life form, body cell /part or object resonates at a certain frequency it can absorb energy from an EM wave with that frequency. Resonant processes take place at cellular level (membrane and/or nucleus) Lerner, E.J., 1984, Biological effects of electromagnetic fields, IEEE Spectrum, 21: 57.Google Scholar

Royal Rife discovered that viruses and bacteria could be deactivated by exposing them to their resonant frequencies.

Energy of the Schumann Resonance frequencies in the approx. 8-30 Hz. range were found to be absorbed by the body by scientists W.R. Adey and Zimmerman.  Termed the "biological window of frequencies" by W.R. Adey, our body's cells and brain operate / resonate with these frequencies and their higher harmonics.  

The brain operates on 4 distinct frequencies throughout the day, viz.:

•   ACTIVE.  Beta (14-30 Hz):   Alert /energized brain state. Brain is aroused and engaged in mental activity

•   CALM.  Alpha (8-14 Hz).  Frequency produced by the brain in a relaxed state (irritability produces higher frequencies); this is in line with the average resonant frequency of the Schummann resonance field surrounding the earth.

•   CREATIVE.  Theta (4-8 Hz): Creative / Daydreaming state; prone to a flow of ideas.

•   SLEEP.  Delta (0.5-4 Hz): Deep relaxation / Sleep state

The average of the Fundamental Schumann frequencies of the Schumann resonance field measured around the earth is 7.83 Hertz. (you can think of this as the "heartbeat" of the earth).  Its primary harmonics are 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hertz.

Specific frequencies in the 0-30 Hz range have demonstrated particular therapeutic effectiveness for different problems.  E.g. 2 Hz has been shown to aid nerve regeneration, 7Hz stimulates bone growth, 10 Hz repairs ligaments, and the Schumann frequency (~ 7-8 Hz) has had an overall therapeutic success. 

The body also absorbs other natural, higher frequencies in order to thrive.  In particular, we need sunlight, which provides us visible light, near infrared, and UV frequencies when we are out in the sun, which enter and work in our body. These frequencies are extremely high.   E.g. visible light has a frequency range of 430-770 THz (a tera Hertz = 1012 Hz).

Sun's Electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic field (EMF) strength

PEMF therapy using LOW electromagnetic field strengths has established its effectiveness.

The NASA study used pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) at 1-20 µT.  

Some applications dealing with ACUTE PAIN use higher EM field strength PEMFs to yield faster results.  E.g. SOTA Magnetic Pulser (6 Gauss (600 µT) at coil face).  Since the body is not accustomed to these high EM field strengths,  they raise some safety concerns, and it is generally advisable not to use them long-term. From a healing perspective, the idea of using high EM field strengths is counter to the body's inherent much lower healing field-strengths. Work continues, but several studies are indeed revealing that healing, such as bone regeneration, may not take place at EM field strengths that are too high. 

When using PEMF therapy LONG-TERM  (E.g. for regular maintenance), EMF strength (AMPLITUDE) should probably be in line with those of the NATURAL EMFs we experience every day:  

•  Earth's Schumann Resonance field.   As low as 1 picoTesla (i.e. 1,000,000 times lower than the strength of Earth's DC geomagnetic field!)..  Our cells are so sensitive they can pick up signals even at this low intensity.

•  The solar spectrum.  Provides a field strength of 1 kW/m2 as the integral of the solar frequencies from infrared to ultraviolet that reach earth. This is equivalent to 0.004 µT = ~4000 picoTesla = 4.0 x 10-5 Gauss.

Note that the Earth's geomagnetic field is essentially a static/constant field (frequency of 0 Hz)  of ~50 uT or 0.5 gauss   This magnetic field stores energy, but cannot emit energy. Since it is not changing, it can not induce a current. Some organisms display the ability to sense or navigate by magnetic field (e.g. certain bacteria, insects, birds, molluscs and even some mammals (e.g. cattle prefer to align themselves with the field when standing in a field :) )). Without knowing the "how", Caltech and Univ. of Tokyo researchers found evidence that humans have working sensors able to detect changes in direction of an "Earth-strength" magnetic field and send signals to the brain, resulting in a reduction of alpha brain waves.  "The alpha rhythm is the dominant human brain oscillation in the resting state when a person is not processing any specific stimulus or performing any specific task [...]. When an external stimulus is suddenly introduced and processed by the brain, the alpha rhythm generally decreases in amplitude."

Dr. Ludwig Wolfgang found that Earth's geomagnetic field is actually not competely constant, but vibrates to a small degree, as a result of the modulation of 64 trace elements within the earth's core and crust. The frequency spectrum of these small variations (at the poles) are 11.79 (fundamental frequency, 16.67, 23.58 and 30.8 Hz.   Similar to the Schumann Resonance field, Earth's geomagnetic field strength changes due to these frequencies is negligible.

What is considered a safe EM field strength?

The INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON NON-IONIZING RADIATION PROTECTION (ICNIRP) is a world-wide authority on EM energy safety, whose data is relied upon by the U.S. FDA and EU. The ICNIRP state that limiting safety values for time-varying PEMFs depend on both frequency and EM field strength.

ICNIRP reference levels for general public exposure to time-varying magnetic fields.  (ICNIRP, 2010)  Allowable Limits for exposure to an EM field strength various fundamental frequencies is:

At 1-8 Hz.   Allowable Limit calculated as 40,000 / Frequency2 uT.     E.g. at 4 Hz, Allowable Limit is 2,500 uT (25 Gauss)

At 10-25  Hz.   Allowable Limit calculated as 5,000 / Frequency uT.     E.g. at 10 Hz, Allowable Limit is 500 uT (5 Gauss);

At 25-300 Hz.  200 uT  (2 Gauss)

These field strength limits refer to continuous exposure, and therapies typically last only several minutes each day, obviously much reducing exposure time.   Also, these Allowable Limits do not take into account higher field strength tolerances of head, torso and limbs.

For therapies to be safe:   Lower therapy frequencies allow higher field strength PEMF therapy, and vice versa, higher therapy frequencies require lower field strength to be used.

Ability of an EMF to penetrate body depends on its field strength and frequency

EM field strength falls with distance from FIELD SOURCE

Both electric and magnetic field strengths reduce with distance away from their source. This includes the EMF-producing coils of therapy devices and the Sun (which is so far away from us that its field strength is essentially constant when it reaches us on Earth).  The Schumann resonance field is also near constant strength, but in this case, it is because it is sustained by continual lightning strikes.

EMF strength reduces with distance away from an electromagnetic current loop (a.k.a. a coil) . In order to treat inner organs / tissue, the EM field strength needs to be high enough when it reaches target tissue in the body. For a loop or coil, the magnetic field strength (B) drops according to the Biot-Savart Law:

B (x) = μi  R/    2 (R2 + x2 ) 3/2

B (x) is the magnetic field strength in Teslas at a distance x meters from face of loop (or coil); R is radius of loop in meters, and i is the current in Amps in the current loop. μ0 is the constant 4 π x 10 -7 Henrys / m. The electric field (E) drops off in the same way for  a PEMF therapy (i.e. it has an AC current in a coil).

To determine the EM field strength of a PEMF therapy application tool, It is necessary to know the loop (or coil) diameter and the EM field strength at its surface.

Field strength reduction occurs at high frequency EMF's due to body's insulating effect

At frequencies below the MHz range (i.e. most therapeutic frequencies), field strength reduction due to dielectric losses  (the body's insulating effect) is negligible.

The body's insulating effect at higher frequencies, such as radio/micro wave frequencies,  may reduce field strength due to some thermal loss./span>  RF ranges from 20kHz to 300 GHz, and microwave frequencies range from 300 MHz. to 300 G Hz. field strength


Adey, W.R.  Frequency and Power Windowing in Tissue Interactions with Weak Electromagnetic Fields, Proceedings of IEEE 68, 119-125

Ganesan K, et al (2009) Low frequency pulsed electromagnetic field - A viable alternative therapy for arthritis. Indian J. of Exp. Biol. 47:939-948; Linknk



PEMF - The Fifth Element of Health (2013) Bryant A. Meyers

Sandyk R (1992a): Clinical Case Report - Successful treatment of multiple sclerosis with Prewett TL, Goodwin TJ, Spaulding GF (1993): Three-dimensional modeling of T-24 human magnetic fields. J Neurosci 66:237-250


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The Body Electric

General electrotherapy health benefits.   Used systemically and/or locally at specific problem areas of the body, its effective application has many benefits:

Detoxification Wellness / Healthy aging Pain relief 
Relief from insomnia Immune system restoral Anti-Inflammatory
Maximizes cellular energy production Accelerated tissue /bone
/scar healing
Stress Reduction
Muscle relaxation / rehabilitation Increased blood oxygen
/ circulation

There are several reasonably affordable electrotherapy devices available for personal use. The following electrotherapies are those that have received a significant amount of positive feedback:

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) applies specific frequency patterns to the head area, with the following benefits:

Balances neurotransmitters Relieves pain Treats depression
Substance abuse withdrawal Relieves insomnia Relieve stress / anxiety
Anti-Inflammatory Fibromyalgia +++