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What is Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy?

What is Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy?

Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is a non-invasive cancer therapy that is increasing the length and quality of life in patients with stage 1 to stage 4 cancer. PEMF therapy brings health benefits to treated patients by enhancing the patient’s prognosis and increasing effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy and reducing drug dosage. Pulsed electromagnetic therapy is an approved therapy for brain cancer in the US. Many other cancers have been shown to be effectively treated by PEMF as well. PEMF as well also treats many symptoms experienced by cancer patients, including pain and swelling (lymphedema). We have treated many cancer patients using high gauss Health Canada approved PEMF devices at our cancer clinic with great success.

Pulsed electromagnetic field devices provide both magnetic and electrical stimulation that is pulsed onto the affected area of the human body for several minutes. The duration and intensity of PEMF therapy are individualized on a case-to-case basis. Our clinic uses high powered PEMF units that are able to deliver very strong pulsed electrical fields so treatment time is at a minimum.

How Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy Works

Pulsed electromagnetic fields induce multiple mechanisms within the affected area of the body that work to eliminate cancer cells either individually or in conjunction with conventional cancer therapies.

The side of the body closest to the pulsed electromagnetic field device will get the highest amount of nerve stimulation and magnetic exposure because the intensity of the field decreases as it moves through tissue.

How Has Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy Been Tested?

Numerous studies using pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on human cancers have provided promising results which led to human therapy development. The findings regarding PEMF therapy use on human cancers are noted:

  • Magnetic fields enhance chemotherapy effectiveness
  • Colon and breast cancer tumour growth is inhibited
  • Inhibited lung metastasis in breast cancer
  • PEMF influences free radicals, which influence cancer
  • No harm to normal cells is found
  • Tumour metastasis is reduced
  • Ability to affect advanced and early tumours
  • Early death of breast cancer cells results from increased mitochondrial activity
  • Reduced blood flow to tumours, which is the nutrient source for growing tumours
  • Increases some cancer cells susceptibility to radiation and chemotherapy agents

In a study of 151 cancer patients with either stomach, lung, or breast cancer, lymphoma or melanoma, medium-intensity PEMFs were used on the patient’s whole body. Fifty-two patients received PEMF therapy preoperatively and 50 of them reported pain relief and improved appetite with no adverse side effects.

Forty-seven patients received PEMF therapy days after surgery which was noted to provide pain relief and decrease weakness. Lymphedema, the buildup of lymph fluid in tissue, was seen in the arm of 19 patients post mastectomy. Compression therapy combined with PEMF therapy completely eradicated lymphedema. PEMF therapy helped improve recovery in 31 patients with stomach cancer. These patients had reduced stomach acid, improved white blood cell count and immune function. Followup with these patients saw that only two had metastases post-operatively. The study was able to show that whole-body PEMF therapy has a positive effect on cancers in patients pre- and post-operatively.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy and Specific Types of Cancer

Cancer is a leading cause of death in Canada with few being treatable past stage 2. PEMF therapy and other advanced natural therapies, alongside the expertise of naturopathic doctors who focus on cancer therapy, is working to change that statistic. PEMF therapy is best used in conjunction with other cancer therapies as a safe and beneficial method to rid cancerous growths and reduce negative consequences of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Breast Cancer

A study on 73 women with breast cancer (stage 1 to 3) provides results that show PEMF therapy, used in combination with conventional therapy, can improve outcomes. The study concludes that the use of PEMF therapy in conjunction with radiation before tumour removal helps maintain cellular immunity, lymphocyte count and hormone production.

Surgery causes oxidative stress to the body, but PEMFs were able to reduce the damage. Women were followed-up post-surgery and those without PEMF therapy had appearances of metastases; however, in the group with PEMF therapy, only 8 per cent of women saw metastases. PEMFs did not have adverse side effects in patients.

Another study analyzed the use of PEMFs for 60 minutes per day on 20 women with stage 1 or 3 breast cancer. Tumour samples were extracted during surgery. Results revealed cancerous cell death and stunted tumour development.

A group of women with stage 3 breast cancer were given medium-intensity PEMF therapy before radiation. X-ray machines were used after treatment to identify alterations in the tumour and lymph nodes in the area. It was found that the PEMF-treated patients had better tumour arrest than those without PEMFs. Just over 40 per cent of the PEMF-treated patients had total tumour regression and almost half had partial tumour regression. Post-surgery biopsies also found greater tumour damage in PEMF-treated patients than those without PEMF therapy.

 A common problem after a mastectomy is improper lymph drainage which can delay recuperation for the patient. When PEMF was used, drainage time decreased from 13 days to only eight. PEMF wellness devices are beneficial for the patient’s recovery and allow them to be discharged from the hospital sooner so they can continue to heal in the comfort of their own home. 

Liver Cancer

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an advanced liver cancer that has limited treatment options. Due to impaired liver function, many people with HCC cannot endure intrahepatic treatment or chemotherapy. Evidence has shown that low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields alter the growth of liver cancer cells and is well tolerated by patients and no side effects were seen.

Lung Cancer

Research from study including 20 patients with lung cancer who were treated before surgery using PEMF therapy showed that lung tumour tissue was more responsive to cancer treatment via desirable changes to lung cancer cells, showing PEMF has an anti-tumour effect on lung cancer tissue. Results were noticeable in patients after about 25 sessions. Adenocarcinomas, a fairly aggressive cancer that makes up 40% of all lung cancers, reacted most sensitively to PEMF therapy.

Oropharyngeal (Head and Neck) Cancers

Radiation and surgery are the mainstays of head and neck cancers and can be disfiguring and cause disabilities. Help for these side-effects can be helped with the use of PEMF. In small studies, PEMF devices were shown to promote better tongue mobility, speech improvements, chronic pain relief and a softer tongue consistency in patients with squamous cell cancer of the tongue. PEMF therapy was given to patients for seven weeks before surgery which resulted in surgery needing to be less invasive. Biopsies of the tissue could not identify any tumour cells after PEMF therapy was provided. After these successful encounters, 11 more patients were treated with PEMF before radiation and chemotherapy. PEMFs were found to increase tolerance to these conventional treatments and minimized skin and mucous membrane alterations.

Treatment and operations for cancer of the larynx are typically followed by inflammation of the larynx and trachea. PEMF therapy was shown to reduce inflammation in 65 per cent of patients in the study and reduce swelling induced by radiation.

Ovarian Cancer

Five patients with stage 4 ovarian cancer received PEMF therapy 20 minutes per day for two weeks alongside chemotherapy. PEMFs were successful in reducing instances of nausea, loss of appetite and weakness which are common side effects of chemotherapy without interfering with chemo.

Stomach Cancer

A study involving 18 patients with precancerous tissue and peptic ulcers were given whole-body PEMFs for 15 sessions at 20 minutes each. Post-treatment evaluation revealed a pain relief effect and found 14 patients had full ulcer healing while only four individuals had no change. PEMFs increase the number of T-lymphocytes that help reduce inflammation. This immunomodulating effect is beneficial to patients with stomach cancer while they receive conventional cancer treatments. Extended PEMF treatment could show widespread changes in pathologies.

Stage 4 Cancer

Advanced cancer, such as stage 4 cancer, could benefit from PEMF therapy as it has the capability of extending the life of patients without negative side effects. High-intensity or high-gauss PEMF devices would need to be used for this purpose.

Some advanced cancers cannot be treated with conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation. In one study, a total of 74 patients had various stage 4 cancer and were treated with PEMFs for one hour, three times per day. Followup included X-ray machines, MRI, CT, and quality-of-life evaluation. No clear tumour response was seen in any of the patients, however, severe chronic pain from tumour growth was relieved via PEMFs and reported quality of life increased.

High-intensity PEMF therapy (400mT) was used in 137 patients for two hours per day for an average of 40 days. Sixty per cent of the advanced cancer patients benefited from the therapy and their lives, in many cases, were prolonged.

Metastatic Cancer to the Brain

Here, PEMF therapy was paired with radiotherapy to study its effect on metastatic cancer to the brain considered inoperable. In this study, radiation every 48 hours was followed with 12 hours of PEMF exposure. Thirteen patients who experienced this combination treatment were followed-up by evaluation of the metastasis. Eight patients had partial remission and two patients had complete remission of their cancer. No negative side effects were noted. The study shows how PEMF therapy can be used after radiation to improve desired outcomes of metastatic remission in the brain.

PEMF Therapy Decreases Chemotherapy Complications

Patients commonly report complications from chemotherapy. PEMF is useful for reducing the amount of time it takes to heal after chemotherapy. PEMF can mitigate the local injury that results from an intravenous chemotherapy injection, such as inflammation, clot formation, and hardened veins.

Breast cancer cells were exposed to both PEMFs and various chemotherapy agents. This exposure caused additional decreases in cancerous mitochondrial activity compared to chemotherapy alone. With decreased mitochondrial activity, cancer cells are unable to carry out functions related to growth and metastases.

PEMF Therapy Decreases Radiation Complications

The use of PEMF therapy prior to radiation can increase cancer cell sensitivity to the conventional treatment. Amazingly, PEMFs do not subject the surrounding normal cells to radiation damage and may preserve regular function of surrounding tissue.

An example of successful PEMF therapy prior to radiation is seen in patients with cancer of the larynx. Moderate-intensity PEMFs were used on and around the larynx which effectively reduced inflammation and edema of the larynx. Complications after radiation included laryngitis and damage to the cartilage in the area; PEMF therapy was able to show clinical improvement in 65 per cent of the patients with these complications.

After radiation, PEMF use may support normal cell recovery with reduced damage.

PEMF Therapy Mitigates Pre- and Post-Surgery Complications

Bone pain relief can become hard to achieve for patients as a tumour presses against the bone before it is able to be removed. Nerve pain and neuropathy is common as a result of chemotherapy. Soft tissue pain is harder to identify and occurs via damage to ligaments, fascia, tendons, and muscles. PEMF therapy can provide pain relief in patients with cancerous tumours, improve chemo-induced neuropathy and maintain cellular muscle function.

Tumor removal from bone leaves the bone with defects that are exacerbated by chemotherapy. PEMF therapy can decrease the amount of bone healing time from nine months to 6.7 months. 

Plastic surgeons have used PEMF therapy to decrease bruising and inflammation after surgery and assist in a speedy recovery by improving circulation to the damaged area.

PEMF therapy, as is used at our clinic, helps cancer patients in many ways. If you wish to book a session, please call our front desk at (204) 775-4539.

References:

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C. Wilhelm, J.-P. Fortin, F. Gazeau

Tumour cell toxicity of intracellular hyperthermia mediated by magnetic nanoparticles

J Nanosci Nanotechnol, 7 (8) (2007), pp. 2933-2937

Han JQ, Liu Q, Sun CT, Yao J, Zhao B, Wang H. Efficacy and safety of low-frequency rotary magnetic fields in the treatment of patients with advanced malignant tumors. [Article in Chinese] Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi. 2013 Jun;35(6):468-71.

F. Costa, A.C. de Oliveira, R. Meirelles, T. Zanesco, R. Surjan, M. Chammas, et al..

A phase II study of amplitude-modulated electromagnetic fields in the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). J Clin Oncol, 25 (18)  2007.

Vadalà, M., Morales-Medina, J. C., Vallelunga, A., Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Iannitti, T. (2016). Mechanisms and therapeutic effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in oncology. Cancer medicine, 5(11), 3128–3139. https://doi.org/10.1002/cam4.861

Somoshree Sengupta, Vamsi K. Balla. A review on the use of magnetic fields and ultrasound for non-invasive cancer treatment, Journal of Advanced Research, Volume 14, 2018, Pages 97-111, ISSN 2090-1232, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jare.2018.06.003. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2090123218300778)