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A Brief History of the Use of Pulsating Electromagnetic Fields for Health and Wellness

Beginning immediately after World War II, Japan began generating various electromagnetic wave shapes by changing electrical currents.  This modality quickly moved to Europe, first in Romania and the former Soviet Union.  From 1960 to 1985, nearly every European country designed and manufactured its own magnetic therapy systems. Todorov published the first book on modern electromagnetic field therapy in 1982 in Bulgaria. This work summarized clinical observations using magnetic fields to treat 2700 patients with 33 different pathologies.

The modern clinical application of electro-biology in North America began in 1971 when Friedenberg described their success in the healing of a nonunion fracture treated with 10 microamps of direct current delivered with stainless steel electrodes. Avoiding the invasive nature of Friedenberg’s direct currents, Dr. Andrew Bassett at Columbia University Medical Center introduced a new approach for the treatment of non-healing bone fractures and pseudarthroses that employed very specific, biphasic low frequency electromagnetic signals.Public awareness also increased in the mid-1970s amidst reports of successful enhancement of the speed and endurance of racehorses treated with electromagnetic fields. Based on the published work of Dr. Bassett, in 1979 the FDA allowed electromagnetic fields to be used in the USA for non-union and delayed union fractures.  A decade later the FDA allowed the use of pulsed radiofrequency electromagnetic fields for the treatment of pain and edema in superficial soft tissues.  It is now commonly accepted that weak electromagnetic fields are capable of initiating various beneficial biological processes including healing for delayed fractures, pain relief, and modulation of muscle tone and spasm.

In describing the use of electromagnetic waves for health and wellness it is important to discuss the nature of the signal being applied.  Human tissues have shown dose-dependent responses to magnetic fields depending on the nature of the signal.  One can induce meaningful electrical and magnetic current densities within biological tissue.  Any substance that conducts electricity (including living tissue) possesses an induced electrical current (Faraday’s law of induction).  Magnetic and electromagnetic fields create electrical potentials within tissues with a unique advantage over electrical current: no surface or needle electrodes are required.  Magnetic fields are therefore non-invasive in the purest sense, and far easier and more efficient to apply.  Since electromagnetic waves pass through matter, one does not even need to disrobe to provide a therapeutic application of electromagnetic signal.

The goal of the next sections is to provide a basic review of these electromagnetic signals such that the visitor to will realize that different signals have different biological effects.  You will learn the electromagnetic characteristics of signals used by the iMRS.

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