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In this section we provide clear and detailed explanations about the different parameters used for successful application of PEMF therapy. We advise starting with the intensity and working your way down.

If you buy cheap, you get cheap

By Dr. W. Pawluk

I learned this lesson this past weekend. An engineer and I took apart an inexpensive, disposable pulsed magnetic field system. Once we tested it, we discovered it had very little magnetic field. For its intended use, in this case to be applied in a shoe for the under surface of the foot, it would produce so little magnetic field that it would likely not be very helpful. You may feel good that you bought something inexpensive, but you may be very disappointed that it didn’t produce the benefits you expect it. At the end of its useful life, you threw it away, saying, “This stuff doesn’t work.”

We have become a commodity culture. We are driven to find the cheapest solutions, including waiting for insurance to cover our healthcare needs. The best solutions for your health are rarely the least expensive. Health is not a commodity. It takes effort and resources to be as healthy as possible. By only accepting choices covered by insurance, we are severely limiting the options available to us and are much more likely to encounter side effects and complications. These options are typically limited to physical therapy, procedures, and pharmaceutical drugs, because the mass marketing approaches do not cover PEMF.

Unfortunately, I have discovered that you generally need a stronger magnetic field to penetrate deeper into the body. If the magnetic field has to go more than a half an inch into the body, then it needs to be fairly strong to have relatively rapid results. Very weak magnetic fields can still produce results, but they can be frustratingly slow, or even ineffective for your problem.

In this case, if the area of injury is not protected (or is not properly immobilized to reduce the continued irritation of the tissues and overuse syndrome) then the magnetic field will be competing with continued aggravation.

If, for example, you have a headache that will require 10 aspirin to relieve, and you take only 2 aspirin, then you will experience 2/10 worth of relief. You will likely become frustrated with the aspirin, on which you spent money trying to obtain relief. You may come to the conclusion that aspirin is an ineffective treatment. The truth, of course, would be that it was not the aspiring that was ineffective, but the dosage.

Now, liken this to PEMF therapy. If you were to purchase an inexpensive, perhaps disposable device, which we know has limited strength as well as a limited lifespan, its inability to produce results may lead you to dismiss the entire gamut of PEMF devices. In this case, like in the case of the aspirin, it is not the treatment that is ineffective, but the dosage, or, with a PEMF system, the choice of device itself. These kinds of experiences lead people to believe that PEMFs don’t work and they don’t last, and causes people to be unlikely to try them again, even if an appropriate device is recommended.

Purchasing less expensive systems can lead you to inadequate results and frustration. It is best to obtain a system that is correct for the problems intended to be treated. This is one of the reasons we set up a company, that is, to best tailor your device selection to your specific needs. This may mean that you will have to pay more than with a few self-directed, price-based purchase decisions. However, better selection would be more likely to guarantee the results desired.

In the case of pain management, this becomes especially important, since people often come to the decision to use PEMFs long after they’ve attempted many other approaches, at great cost, already having complications and having endured prolonged suffering.

What is good health worth after all? I frequently tell my patients, pay me now or pay me later, unfortunately, later you will have to pay with interest, which may sometimes be exorbitant.

I have seen over the years people being recommended all sorts of magnetic systems for all sorts of problems. What I described above has been the exact experience I have witnessed, in over 20 years of working with magnetic therapies. Many people discovered that their purchases didn’t work. This is not to say that they never worked. It is true that some benefit can be derived from even weak systems, if applied properly. Unfortunately, this negative experience leads to closed-mindedness toward all the other potentials of these technologies – and continued frustration with therapeutic alternatives.

There has even been research conducted on magnetic systems having been improperly applied. The conclusions derived then, are that magnetic therapies don’t work. One example involved a magnetic back system, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Editorial comments concluded that magnetic therapies don’t work. This has had the unfortunate consequence of leaving a lot of doctors who read this journal to conclude and maintain a conviction that magnetic therapies don’t work. While there are many reasons for doctors to put down magnetic therapies, this type of negative research is a disservice to our whole society. This is not to mention those suffering and seeking conventionally-accepted treatments that likewise don’t work and may even cause significant harm. Somehow, doctors recommending these conventional therapies are blind to the side effects and complications associated with them. And, they do not consider other appropriate alternatives, being caught in the vise grip of conventional medicine.

In general, I believe that we should all always think about our overall health. All too often we think ‘local and short term’ and not ‘general and long term’. If you have only one problem in your body, for example a heel spur, then a strong local magnetic system may suffice. But, if you also want to be healthy overall, then you would want a whole body system that also allows local treatment. Obviously, if you have problems in many areas of your body, like arthritis in your neck as well as your lower back, then a system covering a larger area would be best, to limit how much time you need to spend treating all the areas that need attention. If you have had multiple surgeries and are in a lot of pain, you will likely need a stronger system, local and/or general. If you have a lot of pain away from home, you will likely need a system that will allow treatment while travelling. This may require two systems, one for home and one for travel, since there aren’t any whole body systems that are strong enough and portable at the same time.

So, to conclude, you really need to think more about what your health problem is. This will drive what the best likely solution is, a decision not made solely based on cost. You may have to pay more upfront so that you do not have to throw away many disposable systems before you realize what you’ve spent. This way, you will not have to endure unnecessary, long term suffering as a result, without getting a reasonable benefit.

I certainly am sensitive to the reality of what people can afford. You should understand that whatever decision you make for a particular PEMF system, regardless of the basis for that decision, whether cost or probable benefit, you’re in the long run probably better off getting the right system from the beginning, not just the cheaper system.

If you really can’t decide what system may be best for you, Dr. Pawluk can help you with that. I can assure you, we do not always recommend the most expensive systems. Having you be helped is our priority. We are happy if you are happy. If you are happy you will share your experience and together we can all help more people with their suffering and the needless procession of multiple unnecessary drugs or damaging procedures. We all know many, many people who can use better options.