Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMF) and Molecular Hyperthermia (MHT)
Unbeknownst to most, our bodies operate on electrical charges and energy systems that dictate the ways our cells react to injury, disease processes and recovery from activity. At One Physical Therapy, we have made it our mission to seek out the most powerful resources that ensure optimal cell health following a musculoskeletal injury. We have created unique combinations of these resources that will result in optimal tissue depth and the cellular reactions needed to occur for quick and successful treatment sessions. Utilizing this approach is very different then what is seen in the traditional physical therapy settings, such as "ultrasound" and "electric stimulation". It is our belief that the traditional physical therapy modalities will one day be a thing of the past, due to the poor depth of penetration and lack of influence they have on the healing process. Our unique technology and protocols can help to do the following:
- Reduce pain, inflammation, the effects of stress on the body, and platelet adhesion
- Accelerate repair of bone and soft tissue
- Decrease dysfunctional firing of nerves seen in individuals that have chronic musculoskeletal injuries
- Balance the immune system and stimulate RnA and Dna
- Potentially stimulate growth factors associated with tissue regeneration such as cartilage in the peripheral joints
- Improve energy, circulation, blood and tissue oxygenation, the uptake of nutrients, cellular detoxification and the ability to regenerate cells
- Decreased joint stiffness
- Improved flexibility
- Increased uptake of nutrients assisting with cellular detoxification and regeneration
The typical response to an injury is RICE. Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. Here is why we do this. When a tissue is injured, the body's response is to flood the area with blood to help it heal. The problem is the cells that make up the tissue that is injured are unable to handle all of the blood coming in because the cells' electrical charge has been changed and these cells can not utilize all the "good" that blood brings to the table. Essentially, the cell is a working factory. In a healthy environment, the cell is working at 100% when it comes to performance, which is what we call "cell metabolism" or "metabolic activity". Cell metabolism simply refers to all the activity in the cell that keeps it healthy and thriving.
When cells are injured their electrical charge is immediately changed, bringing down metabolic activity to about 60% of normal. Therefore, if we send blood there at a 60% metabolic activity level, the blood will just sit there and accumulate not being utilized at all. This is exactly why we try to minimize the blood coming to the injured area by resting, icing, compression and elevation. But, what if we were able to trick the body into thinking there never was an injury? What if we can artificially re-calibrate the cells charge so that the cells perceive nothing going wrong (Factory working at 100%, i.e. metabolism working at 100%)? Now if we get blood there the cells will eat it up and rapidly fight off the inflammatory response and facilitate a very quick tissue repair process. This is why we created this powerful cocktail of PEMF and MH.
PEMF and MH have individually been used for decades to successfully treat a variety of diseases and injuries. One Physical Therapy is the only facility that has merged these two treatments. First, we use PEMF to create an optimal healing environment by “re-calibrating” the injured cells electrical charge back to normal. Next, we use MH to flood the injured area with blood (oxygen, nutrients and proteins) that is required for healing. This is a very simplified explanation. For a better understanding of PEMF and MH continue to read on.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy is a reparative technique most commonly used in the field of orthopedics for the treatment of non-union fractures and post-operative pain. Europe and Israel have successfully been using similar technology over the past 30 years, but in the U.S. it has only been available for a few years. This modality is one of the most powerful and tissue specific modalities that we have to offer to our patients for musculoskeletal injuries.
How Does PEMF Work?
Following a musculoskeletal injury, the electrical signals in cells become altered. This leads to cellular disruption of the natural healing process. Each cell needs a certain amount of energy to make the needed repairs or benefit from the healing modality being offered. It doesn’t matter what kind of therapy you perform, if your cells do not have enough energy to function, the physical therapy intervention will not work well. PEMF uses magnetic waveforms to restore the altered electrical signals to their normal state, thereby facilitating repair and recovery.
Hundreds of studies describing the potential benefits from PEMF therapy in the treatment of spinal and knee pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, neuropathic and soft tissue pain have been published and continue to be conducted at universities around the U.S. and abroad.
Currently, PEMF devices sold within the U.S. are FDA approved for the treatment of specific conditions including wound care, postoperative knee pain, swelling, bone healing, and clinical depression. Our clinical PEMF model is considered by many in the field of medicine to be the most effective in the world today for advanced injury repair and pain elimination.
The absence of this modality would also explain why certain patients do not respond to physical therapy treatments (“Non-Responders”) and why others respond very well (“Responders”).
One patient can try a type of therapy and experience results almost immediately, while another patient doesn’t feel any positive effect despite having the same exact pathology. The primary stumbling block is very clear:
The metabolic ability of the cells that make up injured tissue is not the same for every patient.
One of the biggest differences between these types of patients is that those that respond to therapy have higher energy levels in their cells, creating more normalized metabolic activity. Those patients that do not respond to treatment most likely have cells with lower energy levels, thereby impairing metabolic activity.
Each cell needs a certain amount of energy to make the needed repairs or benefit from the healing modality being offered. It doesn’t matter what kind of therapy you perform, if your cells do not have enough energy to function, the physical therapy intervention will not work well.
As a team, our physical therapists at One Physical Therapy have understood this for years, however, what to do about it has eluded us…until now. PEMF restores the ENERGY in cells and therefore has the potential to make those “Non-Responders”…..Responders!
Now that the metabolic ability of the cells is normalized, we immediately introduce Molecular Hyperthermia (MH).
Molecular Hyperthermia (MH) is documented as an effective method to both 1) reduce pain and 2) permanently cure painful conditions. Although delivery methods exist for heat therapy, such as continuous ultrasound, MH takes the concept of hyperthermia to a new and significantly more effective level by using a novel delivery method which induces a 15- to 20- fold increase in blood and oxygen flow to localized areas. Molecular Hyperthermia is the first Non-Ionizing Radiotherapy, using low level microwave diathermy to raise internal temperatures to 44 degrees Celsius in a few minutes, while interventional temperature sensors safely monitor and control temperatures.
How Does MH Work?
Molecular Hyperthermia works by fooling the body's internal "thermostat". Its simple, we deliver a wave form to the injured area of the body that penetrates up to six inches beyond the surface of the skin. The wave form increases the injured tissue temperature up to a ten degree difference from the rest of the body (non injured tissue). This sets an internal alarm off to the bodys' thermostat to regulate the area that was just fooled by the Molecular Hyperthermia. The body regulates the area by sending normal body temperature blood (cooler blood) to the treatment area in an attempt to get the entire bodys' tissue to be the same temperature. This results in an accumulation of blood at the location of injured tissue. In most cases we are able to get a 1500% increase in blood to an injured area in one session.
Other heating devices such as ultrasound can only penetrate up to 4cm from the skin and often have a marginal effect on tissue temperature. This is the first time in the field of physical medicine that we are able to get heat this deep into tissue and create a treatment at the joint level, if need be. By doing so, more invasive treatments such as steroid injections, PRP and/or other synthetic materials put into joint surfaces may no longer be needed.
Pain relief and repair occur as the increase in blood flow “washes away” inflammatory mediators and free radicals. Efficient drainage of the area removes necrotic debris and excess fluids, increases production & secretion of cytokines that induce tissue repair, improves contractile performance of muscle, increases ATPase activity and HSP (Heat Shock Proteins)
- Harvard Medical School 2009 study assessing PEMF in the medical management of osteoarthritis of the knee
- Albert Einstein Medical School 2009 study reviewing the role of PEMF in the treatment of pain and swelling associated with plastic surgery
- Review of literature pertaining to pain management, including chronic spinal pain, with PEMF therapy
- Dr. William Pawluk’s informative PEMF
- Awareness of PEMF as a potential treatment option
- NASA 2003 study of the effect of electromagnetic fields on neuronal cells
- Hyperthermia induced by microwave diathermy in the management of muscle and tendon injuries