Before getting in-depth on the applications of magnetic fields you want to take notice of the following 27 principles: ( William Pawluk, M.D. M.Sc)
Principle 1: Magnetic fields go through the body as if it wasn’t even there – even the bones are essentially transparent.
Principle 2: The shape of the magnetic fields produced by a given device depends on the coil design. Understand your device’s coil design to know where and how to position the applicator(s) or the device.
Principle 3: The strength of the magnetic fields drops off with distance from the surface of the device. This is much more important with static magnets than pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs). It is not known what the lower therapy limits are for PEMFs in terms of field strength. More is not always better.
Principle 4: The amount of time magnetic fields (MFs) are to be used clinically depends on the level and extent of the problem. Lower intensity fields are expected to be able to be used for longer periods throughout a day than higher intensity. Likewise, often lower strength fields may take longer to work than higher strength.
Principle 5: Higher strength fields or use of many other weaker for extended times are more likely to cause “aggravations.”
Principle 6: Let the body tell you what it needs. Every body is different. Every treatment session is like starting over again because the body will have changed at least a little from one session to the next – whether because of the treatment or because of external factors. If the body is readily accepting the treatments keep them at the same duration, intensity and/or frequency or increase to the next step. If it is not accepting the MF well at any particular step, decrease the duration, intensity and/or frequency of treatments.
Principle 7: For static magnets to be kept comfortably and easily on the body is often the biggest challenge in getting acceptance for their use, especially in people who have limited patience or lack enough understanding of their potential value.
Principle 8: Exposure to PEMFs is a bit like throwing stones in a pond. The ripples carry on for long periods of time after the exposure.
Principle 9: All PEMFs will produce harmonics with frequencies beyond the frequency/ies of the device used. It takes time for these harmonics to play themselves out. Spread daily treatments out to allow these harmonics to develop with preferably a 6-8 hour gap between treatments.
Principle 10: The use of single frequencies for long periods may lead to tolerance, with resulting “escape” from or loss of a benefit previously experienced. An example is that the scent of a rose in room is no longer perceived after some time is spent in the same room even though the rose is still there.
Principle 11: Mixing and matching energy devices or treatments with different frequencies may result in enhancement or may result in cancellation. There is little research to guide combining technologies. Matching static magnets along with PEMFs can usually be complementary.
Principle 12: It is hard to heal depleted tissues. Nutrition needs to be sound and supplements may be very helpful. Since many MF effects are mediated through ions, especially calcium, sodium, and potassium, these ions and electrolytes need to be at normal levels in the body.
Principle 13: It’s easier and quicker to move an ion than to rebuild a tissue.
Principle 14: MFs affect charge at the cell membrane and open membrane channels – of all cells. This helps to rebalance and restore cell function. Restore enough cells and tissues will function better.
Principle 15: Circulation is improved by a large variety of MFs. This helps with healing at a fundamental level.
Principle 16: Muscle energy is improved with MFs, through myosin phosphorylation, among other processes.
Principle 17: MFs may protect cells against injury by being used prophylactically and post-injury, for example, before or after surgery.
Principle 18: Treatment courses should be more intense, for example, daily, initially, until improvement is seen and then spread out to several times a week, then weekly and then monthly. To do this is difficult from a time and cost basis unless a home system is being used, in which case daily treatments may be used until the issue is resolved.
Principle 19: MFs used daily in the home may be considered a prevention or health maintenance program. Stress reduction is useful to almost everyone daily. MFs have many stress-reducing effects.
Principle 20: There are major differences among different MF devices. These differences may be very important in what is being treated. There are distinct differences in the effects of devices at various frequency ranges – from ELFs (extremely low frequencies), to VLFs (very low frequencies), to microwave level frequencies, radiofrequencies, infrared, ultraviolet range, etc. Know your device’s characteristics to know what it’s best for and how best to use it. Find an expert to guide you in its best use.
Principle 21: Just because a device is not FDA approved does not mean it’s ineffective or unsafe. FDA approval does give you more assurance that the device will perform according to the claims made in the marketing literature supplied by the manufacturer, because the manufacturer has agreement from the FDA that the manufacturer has supplied satisfactory evidence to support the claims being made. It typically takes very large sums of money to get a device approved by the FDA. Only the biggest companies can afford to get these approvals.
Principle 22: MF sensitivity happens in about 1-5% of individuals. Use of MFs should be done with caution and proceed slowly with the amount of time of daily use and use of low field intensities, with only very gradual increases.
Principle 23: Most people will feel some kind of sensation with a MF exposure – different from person-to-person, depending on sensitivity.
Principle 24: MF therapies are usually complementary to other therapies. Rarely are MFs the only modality that should be used to treat a given condition.
Principle 25: MFs act in basic and fundamental ways in tissues and so they can be helpful across a vast array of health conditions.
Principle 26: MFs are useful for health maintenance not just for treatment.
Principle 27: If a MF system is not working, consider first whether it is being used properly before deciding that MFs don’t work. Remember the layering concept of illness.
MAGNETIC FIELD BASICS (William Pawluk, M.D. M.Sc.)
The purpose of the Magnetic Field Basics section is to provide general and technical information about magnetic fields, their effects on biology, some therapy principles and types of magnetic therapy systems and ideas, concepts on safety and risk reduction and a reading list for more in depth sources. It should serve as a technical resource for people new to magnetic therapy ideas and as an ongoing reference. Of necessity, the information provided is not encyclopedic but rather is intended to be introductory. Not all statements are referenced and the author may not always be agreed with by other magnetics researchers or scientists. I have tried to give information that is more relevant from a health perspective, based on my own clinical experience and review of the science literature. Some of it is more technical than some people may want or need but may also be inadequate in scope, depth or precision for others.
More and more people are aware of, actually use or are interested in magnetic fields for health and healing. Besides the need to understand the impact of magnetism on human functioning, we also need to know how they can be applied or directed therapeutically. In many areas of conventional medicine, both human and veterinary, effective therapies are still lacking, inadequate, cost too much, are invasive or cause harm. The public is actively pursuing non-conventional alternative approaches to their health care needs.
Magnetic therapy or magnetotherapy offers potential new approaches in understanding the body and caring for people. Magnetic therapy is based largely on known bio-electro-magnetic principles. Many of these are already established in conventional physical therapy. The basic principles of magnetism have been known and identified by Maxwell before the turn of the 20th century. Health practitioners have seen some of the effects of magnetic fields (MFs) even in the 2nd century BC in China, but only recently have we had a scientific basis to explain their observations that magnetic fields can be used in healing. Only in the past 30-40 years has there been more systematic, concerted use of magnetic fields, including electromagnetic fields (EMFs), for healing, mainly in former Soviet Union countries, other parts of Europe and Asia.
Acupuncture & Magnetic Fields ( William Pawluk, M.D. M.Sc)
points and meridians. Some acupuncture systems, eg millimeter wave (MMW) therapy, have been more extensively studied for use on acupuncture points. I originally started using static magnets on acupuncture points to avoid needles. My own use of magnets on my own acupuncture points convinced me of the fact of their usefulness for this purpose.
Both static magnets and PEMFs may be used on acupuncture points. So can light, ultrasound, laser, friction, pressure, cold, electricity, TENS machines, ionic pumps, and other sources of heat. There are PEMF systems that use "pen-like" applicators best suited for individual acupuncture point treatment. Whole body treatment with SMF and PEMF mattresses will of course stimulate multiple points and meridians more or less simultaneously.
I have found that the stronger the magnet the faster the acupuncture action. I looked for and have not seen any differences with polarity. Time on the point and strength determine the result the most. Deeper points, more than 3-5 mm's, will more uniformly need stronger magnets. For these I will use 3000+ gauss static magnets for 20-30 minute treatments. Some people sense a shift in energy when the magnet/s have been on too long. 20 minutes may be too long for some problems.
The decision of which specific acupuncture points to place magnets on, is based on an understanding of basic acupuncture or acupressure principles. It is not within the scope of our site to teach acupuncture. I recommend some reading materials on the subject that are useful for most non-professional self-treatment. For example: "Finding Effective Acupuncture Points" by Shudo Denmei.
Tiny magnets will require precise placement. I recommend that these mostly be used by acupuncture professionals, since improper placement will produce negative results. I suggest using larger, quarter-sized magnets for specific points. There are flexible magnetic materials that can be used on larger areas of the body, for example, shoe inserts, various wraps or pads to be sure to get over acupuncture points in an area. In some cases static magnets can be used at locations where multiple meridians pass through. Wrist and ankle bracelets, necklaces or belts are examples. When it is not practical to use magnets on some spots, eg the shoulder or face, consider using magnets on the meridian farther upstream from the flow of the desired point location. There are even tiny little magnets adhered to small pieces of tape, that can be used on the ears or hands. Again precise placement is needed
In several studies in Eastern Europe magnets were used over the spine corresponding to the autonomic nerve outflows to the organs being treated, when the acupuncture approach was not possible. In some cases they did local acupuncture points, distal acupuncture points and/or the spinal locations. For example, the spinal nerves controlling breathing arise in upper back (dorsal or thoracic spine). This placement could be very helpful for breathing problems as opposed to local placement over the chest. Picking a single spot for asthma or especially multiple spots may not be very practical. Treating over the spine is a better alternative or can be used in conjunction with local treatment.
Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Stress
by William Pawluk, MD, MSc
The very presence of life means that stress is also present. The recognition of and the reaction to stressors is fundamental to physical and emotional existence. Our reactions to stressors are either healthy, that is adaptive, or unhealthy, that is maladaptive. Maladaptive reactions to stress created physical and psychological damage, if either too large to withstand or too frequent to recover from. An example of an adaptive physiologic response is perspiring when the body temperature increases. This response becomes maladaptive, or harmful, when the body is not able to perspire or if the stress continues too long and bodily fluids are not replenished. Stressors may also be psychological or mental. Again, the reaction may be helpful or harmful. For most of us, the use of the term "stress" refers most often to the negative psychological or physiological responses to life's stimuli.
The original human need for a stress response was adaptive, called the "fight or flight" response8. Typically, this response allowed us to engage a threat, such as an attacking animal. In modern Western civilization, the most common daily stressors are minor psychological events, such as, an angry client on the telephone or the tension of driving in heavy traffic. Even these seemingly minor occurrences produce a low-level "fight or flight" reaction in the body. The cumulative or chronic occurrence of these stressors does not allow adequate or full recovery and results in many of modern civilization's health problems.
The stress response causes the brain to release chemicals that stimulate the nervous system. Adrenaline is pumped into the bloodstream along with extra sugar and fact, from body stores, for energy to fuel muscles. Mental activity is focused, some organs slow their activity, while others accelerate it, the muscles tense up, the breeding rate increases, there may be tightness in the chest and queasiness in the stomach. In a high stress state, most of these reactions will be present. In a lower stress state only one or several may be present and in varying degrees.
Many believe that a healthy human body could be able to live as long as 120 years before organs gradually slow down and stop. Stress accelerates the decline by actually damaging some organs and accelerating the wear and tear on others. It is easy to see how this chronic state of stress may accelerate aging and cause heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, fatigue, immune problems, adjustment disorders and anxiety and depression. Many physicians believe that 70 to 90 percent of the problems they treat are due to stress.
Environmental effects on the development of nervous system and endocrine responses to stress can last throughout life, and the differences in environmental experiences of each individual, partially contribute to individual differences in vulnerability to stress-induced illness. A cascade of neural processes induced by aspects of an individual's early environment may lead to lifelong individual variability and may either enhance or reduce vulnerability to damage in later life.
Some of the physiologic reactions to stress are: muscle tension, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, diarrhea or constipation, increased gastric acid, high blood pressure, increased ACTH, increased to drown, exaggerated mental alertness, increased blood sugar, increased fat, dry mouth, increased insulin, increased thyroid hormone and immune changes.
The physical problems that can result from stress are: insomnia, nervous irritability, headaches, Atherosclerosis, hypertension, irritable bowel, gastritis, arrhythmias, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, fatigue, substance abuse, immune deficiencies, asthma, skin problems, allergies, muscle spasms, neuralgias, vision changes, hyperventilation, dehydration, sudden cardiac death, vasospasm, increased cholesterol, increased platelets, decreased oxygen, appetite problems, accelerated auto immune problems increased actually, miscarriages decreased libido, impotence, menstrual changes, disturbed memory, among others.
Clearly not all of these problems happen to everybody under stress. They happen to varying degrees depending on genetics, environmental experiences and the level and duration of the stress. Most of us throughout our lifetimes will develop at least some of the above problems.
There are many approaches to preventing and managing stress reactions. Once a stress reaction is initiated it is difficult to turn off immediately. The reaction is immediate but the recovery takes hours to days. Since the effects of stress are cumulative, a daily routine of reducing the physiologic response becomes necessary to ward off long-term damage. One approach to reducing the physiologic response to the effects of daily stress is whole body pulsed magnetic field (PEMF) therapy.
Humans are very sensitive to magnetic fields (MFs). Physiologic changes were seen during solar storms in healthy humans, patients with cardio-vascular diseases and cosmonauts in SOYUZ spacecraft and the MIR space station21. They had nonspecific adaptive stress reactions, with increased cortisone secretion and activation of the sympathoadrenal system (SAS) and suppressed production of melatonin.
Much experimental evidence has been gathered to suggest that biological systems are highly sensitive to weak generated PEMFs and PEMFs have a wide range of biologic effects in almost all biologic systems. Since experiments are difficult to do in humans, much work has been done in animals. PEMF inhibited the activation of the sympathetic-adrenal system (SAS) and prevented a decrease in nonspecific resistance26 . Plasma catecholamines, chemical messengers associated with increased sympathetic arousal, decreased through modulation of hypothalamic function and increased urine excretion of epinephrine. Long term use of weak PEMFs may be able to remodel tissues that tend to be hyper-reactive to chronic or acute stress so that over time they will be less reactive.
Stress activation of the SAS in rats changes (nor)adrenaline in the hypothalamus, adrenal glands, plasma and urine. PEMFs decrease activation of the SAS by decreasing plasma and urine catecholamines 27. The excitability of the nervous sytem also decreases and emotional reactions accompanying stress are corrected.
Environmental stressors, such as heat or sunlight, affect cellular homeostasis10. Thermal stressors and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) interact to induce intracellular heat stress proteins (hsp), protective proteins in the cell. PEMFs can be used preventively prior to heat, toxicity or injury to prevent cellular harm and thus increase cellular stress resistance and reduce cellular stress responses. These proteins are induced by numerous other stimuli, including heavy metals and oxidative stress15.
This phenomenon could be exploited as a beneficial presurgical cardiovascular treatment. This has been borne out in studies that have shown that cardiotoxic effects, such as occur during cardiac surgery, may be prevented by preconditioning with PEMFs. Stimulating the cardiac cell with PEMFs may provide for it protection from injury, including cardiac surgery or heart attack. Similarly, heat pre-treatment can result in significantly improved heart salvage following coronary artery bypass grafting15. Other potentially therapeutic applications include protection against viral infections, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and to support the stress response in the elderly, by counteracting the normal loss of the stress response during aging.
Originally, PEMFs were primarily considered as activating metabolic processes in the immediate tissues exposed. However, exposure of endocrine glands and control centers of the nervous system triggered broader natural control processes of homeostasis35. Lower dosing of the thyroid area produced a similar response vs only stronger local area exposure, eg, the heart in ischemia. This approach promoted elimination of hemodynamic and hypoxic disorders in the heart and restored adrenal hormones. In experimental hepatitis, microwave PEMFs to the thyroid were more effective in restoring liver function than exposing the liver itself. Local exposure of adrenals in patients with rheumatoid arthritis activated production of glucocorticoids and made lymphocytes function normally. This work confirmed that an adaptation to short-term (or weak) stressor factors increases the resistivity of the organism to severe stressors, including low temperatures, physical load, ischemic heart necrosis, ionizing radiation, etc.
Stress causes a very quick and significant decrease in white blood cell counts, creating a sudden state of immune vulnerability and increases serum cortisol two to three-fold. PEMFs modulate host resistance12 by also enhancing some immune functions. Neutrophils increase gradually and neutrophil metabolsim and superoxide production are increased significantly. The cortisone level decreases. PEMF also improves host immunologic defense and splenic cell counts in mice13, indicating a protective effect.
Ascorbic acid (AA) is key to the antioxidant, neuroendocrine and immune mechanisms of stress adaptation34. PEMFs cause AA and serotonin (S) to increase nearly 2-fold by the 30th day of exposure. By the 90th day, AA concentration recovered to the initial (pre-exposure) value, while S content still remained significantly increased.
PEMF effects were evaluated in athletes4. Decimeter wave therapy (DMW) of adrenal, thyroid gland, or collar areas favorably affect immune status and production of hormones, specifically, T-lymphocytes, testosterone and growth hormone, and decrease circulating B-lymphocytes, cortisol and decreased the initially elevated levels of thyroid hormones. The benefits were therefore high resistance to diseases and a high working capacity.
In some animal species, such as rabbits, emotional stress increases lethality. PEMFs increase resistance of the rabbits to stress: lethality was lowered by 1.9 times7.
Pain is a major stressor. Pain inhibition (i.e. analgesia) is consistently affected by exposure to PEMFs in various species of animals, including: land snails, laboratory mice, deer mice, pigeons, as well as humans20.
Use of PEMFs on acupuncture points produces anti-stress benefits16. PEMFs act like electroacupuncture (EA). The stress responses induced by painful tooth pulp stimulation in rats was reduced by electroacupuncture (EA) 11. Nor/epinephrine, dopamine, ACTH, and cortisone all decreased. Stress-induced elevation of blood pressure was not seen when EA was used. Millimeter wave (MMW) exposure of an acupuncture point affects heart rate and heart rate variability and lability of central nervous system (CNS) processes16. Test subjects had increased lability of central nervous system (CNS) before and after physical exercise. In people with parasympathetic predominance, exercise increased both heart rate and its variability. With sympathetic predominance, individual reactions to exercise varied greatly. MMWs helped recovery of the heart rhythm after exercise in parasympathetic toned individuals, but not consistently in sympathetic predominance.
Stress induces neuronal atrophy and death in the brain, especially in the hippocampus. Alterations in the expression of neurotrophic factors are implicated in stress-induced hippocampal degeneration33. EA stimulation significantly restored neurotrophic factors.
One group studied the effects of PEMFs and constant magnetic fields3. Weak PEMFs were antitumorigenic, protective (in relation to toxic agents and Xray radiation), and produced rejuvenation effects in cases where there was a state of stress.
Stress in rats can lead to breakdown of elastin and collagen fibers in serum, heart muscle, cerebral cortex and liver29. PEMFs modulated elastase-inhibitory activity in all tissues with exposures to frontomastoid area of the head or paravertebrally, alone or incombination with laser, infrared exposure or static magnetic field (SMF). High laser strength and the combination of laser with SMF decreased the stress reaction. The use of the combination of infrared laser + SMF + PEMF had a stress-limiting effect and enhanced elastase-inhibitory activity.
Heart rate variability (HRV) results from a complex interplay of neural and hormonal control mechanisms. Changes in HRV has been associated with increased risk of severe arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death in patients with recent myocardial infarction. Human volunteers had their heart rate variability tested with PEMF exposures22. Heart-rates were slowed. Sinusoidal continuous waveform seemed to be more effective at producing this effect than intermittent or square-wave current waveforms. Some individuals may be more sensitive to or alternately more consistent in producing these field-induced changes in HR and HRV than others. This effect apperas to be a modulation of the threshold properties of the cardiac pacemaker, the Sino-Atrial Node, giving rise to greater beat-to-beat variability. In another series of double-blind studies it was also found that PEMFs altered the normal variability inherent in human cardiac rhythm24,25. Intermittent exposure ( as opposed to intermittent waves) is more effective than continuous exposure.
Millimeter waves (MMW) increase resistance and ameliorate stress in animals14. When healthy 20 to 24 yr old humans had MMWs applied to the outer hand, improved heart rate variability (HRV). MMWs prevented or reduced stress related heart rate changes. Stress-induced EEG changes were suppression of alpha rhythm, increased theta, and other decreases in bioelectric activity. EEG rhythms with MMW treatment were the opposite. In another study of MMW exposure28 all stressed animals had precipitous decreases of non-specific resistance, activation of lipid peroxidation. Normal control animals exposed to MMWs showed a 10-15% increase in neutrophil metabolism and increased thalamic and hypothalamic thiol exchange. The abnormal changes in stressed animals were reversed by MMW.
Static magnetic fields (SMFs) act on rabbit sinocarotid baroreceptors by reducing blood pressure by vasodilation and heart rate6. The effects were attributed to changes in cell membrane calcium ion (Ca++) transport since they were abolished by treatment with verapamil, a potent Ca++ channel blocker. A more pronounced effect occurs with stronger fields. The stimulated baroreceptors reset sympathetic tone. In humans, SMFs over the right and left carotid sinuses, also improved HRV vs shams and controls5. The effects were of minimal clinical significance in healthy subjects but could be very significant in individuals with cardiovascular disease with abnormal HRV. In other work, strong SMFs induced a vagotonic state18.
Application of the PEMF signal resulted in the several apparently related long-lasting localized effects being observed in certain tissues: an increase in blood volume, an increase in oxygen partial pressure (PO2), persistent increases in pH (reduced acidity), increase in respiration amplitude, decrease in heart rate and changes in blood pressure30. The magnitude of these effects in the human subjects showed significant inter-individual variability. The effects were observed to be modulated by changes in the level of blood acidity, as indicated by measurements of lactic acid and pyruvic acid concentration, carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2), and hydrogen ion (H+) concentration. This meant that the PEMF effects would be increased during periods of high muscle activity, after drinking alcohol, while sleeping, or after inhaling CO2. Conditions that promoted alkalosis such as hyperventilation and eating large meals could be expected to reduce the magnitude of the effects.
Extremely low-frequency (ELF) pulsed magnetic fields (PMFs) affect blood vessels. Head and thorax exposure to ELF PMFs induced dilation of the larger blood vessels in these areas and increased oxygen partial pressure31. PMFs having a variety of pulse shapes, amplitudes, and repetition rates that were applied to the neck of human volunteers showed that these stimuli could alter the respiration cycle, heart rate, blood pressure, and vessel perfusion. Although these effects showed wide variability and poor reproducibility, they were, nonetheless, attributed to a decrease in central nervous system (CNS) activity and a local increase in sympathetic activity.
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PRODUCTS & LITERATURE - Literature Review
The wonders of magnetism
Tenforde TS. Bioelectromagnetics, 2003 Jan.
In this acceptance address for the Bioelectromagnetics Society's 2001 d'Arsonval Award, Dr. Tenforde reviews the highlights of the nonionizing field aspects of his research and scientific service career. These are focused in four areas: (a)development and application of microelectrophoretic methods to probe the surface chemistry of normal and cancerous cells; (b)research on the biophysical mechanisms of interaction and the dosimetry of static and extremely low frequency magnetic fields; (c)application of extremely high intensity magnetic fields in several spectroscopic methods for probing the detailed structures of large biological macromolecules; and (d)development of national and international guidelines for the exposure of workers and members of the general public to electromagnetic fields with frequencies spanning the entire nonionizing electromagnetic spectrum.
Prevention of osteoporosis by pulsed electromagnetic fields
Rubin CT, McLeod KJ, Lanyon LE. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1989 Mar.
Using an animal model, we examined the use of pulsed electromagnetic fields, induced at a physiological frequency and intensity, to prevent the osteoporosis that is concomitant with disuse. By protecting the left ulnae of turkeys from functional loading, we noted a loss of bone of 13.0 per cent compared with the intact contralateral control ulnae over an eight-week experimental period. Using a treatment regimen of one hour per day of pulsed electromagnetic fields, we observed an osteogenic dose-response to induced electrical power, with a maximum
osteogenic effect between 0.01 and 0.04 tesla per second. Pulse power levels of more or less than these levels were less effective. The maximum osteogenic response was obtained by a decrease in the level of intracortical remodeling, inhibition of endosteal resorption, and stimulation of both periosteal and endosteal new-bone formation. These data suggest that short daily periods of exposure to appropriate electromagnetic fields can beneficially influence the behavior of the cell populations that are responsible for bone-remodeling, and that there is an effective window of induced electrical power in which bone mass can be controlled in the absence of mechanical loading.
Bioelectromagnetics in morphogenesis
Levin M. Bioelectromagnetics, 2003 Jul.
Understanding the factors that allow biological systems to reliably
self-assemble consistent, highly complex, four dimensional patterns on many scales is crucial for the biomedicine of cancer, regeneration, and birth defects. The role of chemical signaling factors in controlling embryonic morphogenesis has been a central focus in modern developmental biology. While the role of tensile forces is also beginning to be appreciated, another major aspect of physics remains largely neglected by molecular embryology: electromagnetic fields and radiations. The continued progress of molecular approaches to understanding biological form and function in the post genome era now requires the merging of genetics with functional understanding of biophysics and physiology in vivo. The literature contains much data hinting at an important role for bioelectromagnetic phenomena as a mediator of morphogenetic information in many contexts relevant to embryonic development. This review attempts to highlight briefly some of the most promising (and often underappreciated) findings that are of high relevance for understanding the biophysical factors mediating morphogenetic signals in biological systems. These data originate from contexts including embryonic development, neoplasm, and regeneration.
Technology assists self-care for chronic pain
by Heidi Bilas RN MSc(A), July 2007
Implications of chronic pain
Chronic pain is recognised as "major medical and social problem and a massive drain on national resources". Estimates of the prevalence of chronic pain in the general population range from 7% to 55%. UK estimates of the number of people suffering with musculoskeletal pain vary from 7-16m.
The McEwen Report notes that chronic pain affects between 1 in 5 and 1 in 6 Scottish adults. Of these adults, two-thirds suffer moderate pain, one-third suffers severe pain, and approximately 6% (250,000) suffer severe pain. In addition, one-third of those patients suffer chronic pain all the time. One in 5 pain sufferers have the pain for more than 20 years.
Between 1 in 6 and 1 in 5 patients seen in primary care have chronic pain and service utilisation is up to 5 times more frequently than the rest of the population, yet a national chronic pain strategy is absent.
Chronic pain also becomes a family problem as pain behaviours may cause harm to personal relationships as well as to self-esteem. Family members often feel a loss of control over their daily lives and normal routines, and frustration and anger at the situation facing them as well as from the economic impact.
According to the Dr Foster report 6, chronic pain warrants recognition "as an entity in its own right". Functional disability commonly exceeds what is expected on the basis of physical findings and limitations. Social and workplace demands become difficult challenges, and unemployment is an issue. It is the second most common cause of days off work, accounting for 206m lost workdays in 1999-2000.
Clinical picture and its evolution
Chronic pain is a complex pathophysiologic state. Rather than the generally accepted pain duration of 3 to 6 months as the time that is usually accepted for definition of chronic pain, Cochran (2004) suggests that chronic pain begins when pain becomes a mind dominant or cerebral experience rather than a somatic one. It is pain that continues beyond what is normally expected for either an illness or injury, and occurs on and off over a period of months or years. Chronic pain is not necessarily associated with objective clinical findings corresponding to fluctuations or progression of specific disease.
Our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of persistent pain is still evolving, as is our ability to prevent the onset, evolution, and associated morbidities that are associated with chronic pain. Psychological and social factors play a major role in influencing pain perception and in the development of chronic disability. The behavioural effects are "a product of a mind in disarray, and they are the cardinal symptoms and identifiers of chronic pain".
What treatment is appropriate?
Chronic pain cannot be cured, but is managed best by an integrated multi-disciplinary approach so that patients' needs are assessed and then passed to the most appropriate treatment pathway according to the need. Most services are lacking in some aspect of that multi-disciplinary care.
The treatment of chronic pain condition however is often a frustrating aspect of primary care, as it tends to be resistant to conventional therapies, and drug dependency is a concern. Furthermore, there is ongoing debate, controversy and at times friction among health care providers regarding the optimal treatment of these patients.
For example, pain and ageing, and best practices for elder care is not well researched. Over 4,000 studies related to pain are published annually while only one percent of those look at pain and ageing.
Hence there is a clear need for more investigators to further the efforts of current researchers .
The current provision of chronic pain services is perceived to be inadequate to meet the need. Services frequently fall short of recommended levels of service for access and availability, and there is significant variation in the services available.
The Dr Foster report also examined the availability of specialist chronic pain clinics in the UK. For a first appointment with a pain team consultant the national average waiting time for patients referred by their GP was 20 weeks, and ranged from 4 to 110 weeks. The need for earlier intervention to try and prevent chronic pain is clear. Better solutions and accountability are needed.
Goals of treatment
Appropriate treatment can improve quality of life and functioning, returning patients to more normal, productive, and enjoyable lives. Restoration of a feeling of control is critical.
An important aspect is enlisting the patient as a central figure in the healing process. Self-administration of pain relieving therapies would is undoubtedly a paradigm worth pursuing. Patients can take responsibility for their own pain management by managing physical, complimentary, and relaxation therapies.
Numerous factors that play a role in initiating, maintaining, and exacerbating chronic pain. According to Nash (2004), chronic pain management requires both knowledge and the development of self-care skills, to reduce suffering. "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional."
Living with pain and disability requires an active strategy to better understand, accept and manage the chronic pain condition. Therefore, more emphasis is required on supported active self-management of pain and use of multidisciplinary/multimodal approach to treatment, rather than simply receiving treatment. Defining characteristics of modern pain management programmes include a focus on function rather than disease, on management rather than cure, integration of specific therapeutics, multidisciplinary management, and an emphasis on active rather than passive methods.
What treatment isn't desirable?
With chronic pain, dependency on "pain-killers" is an ongoing risk. While these are chiefly prescription drugs, prolonged use of some OTC products such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen produce side effects. The effects of continuous use of herbal medications are still insufficiently explored.
Drugs are not without concerns and side effects, and caution is needed. Patients may be sensitive to the sedating or cognitive side effects, and toxicity a limiting factor. Risk management remains the primary concern of regulatory agencies and those who are prescribing these therapies, to limit misuse, abuse or inappropriate prescribing.
Role of technology
Demand for complementary and alternative treatment (e.g. chiropracty, massage, or acupuncture) is increasing, as is their acceptance in pain management. Whether the medicine of the future will be an integrated hybrid of complementary, alternative medicine, and western medicine is unknown. Effective modalities that are safer and healthier alternatives than therapies that risk dependency benefit both consumers and providers.
Almost all illness is the result of impaired cellular function. A healthy cell operates at a voltage between 70-110mV in order to produce ATP molecules (Adenosine Triphosphate), which are vital for a healthy body.
A sick cell, with voltage range between 40-50mV loses energy as there is not enough ATP available. Cancer cells for instance only have a voltage of 20mV and are incapable of regeneration, requiring almost 20 times more energy than healthy cells.
Therefore, the human body relies on a healthy cell network to avoid poor circulation, declining performance, premature ageing, and degenerative diseases. Normal cell functioning and energy levels can be achieved with the use of pulsating electromagnetic fields that stimulate cell metabolism, increase oxygen absorption and accelerate the removal of toxic chemicals and waste. This empowers the body to recover its self-healing capabilities.
Pulsed magnetic field therapy is a long-established medical science and is a universally used and accepted method of therapy. Hundreds of experiments in this therapy has proven that it can reduce pain sensations.
PainSolv® have developed a combination of modalities and applied patented technologies to these proven medical procedures which promises to revolutionise pain management, by making safe, effective therapy affordable and accessible to all chronic pain sufferers around the world, which can be either self-administered or provided by home-carers.
Therapy with pulsating magnetic fields (PMFT) is a relatively new and very effective form of physical therapy. It is not a miracle, but simply a physical (or better, biophysical) modality used for accelerated therapeutic purposes. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy has been proven to be very effective for pain reduction and the management of chronic pain.
The internationally patented PainSolv® utilises Bioelectromagnetism to deliver gentle pre-programmed PMFT oscillating wave currents in extremely low frequency fields through magnetic energy resonance induction therapy. These extremely low-frequency pulsed electro-magnetic fields (ELF-PEMF) have been proven to be beneficial in bone fracture healing, circulation improvement and alleviation of pain.
Pain should not become the focus of attention in patient's lives because it has such a negative effect on everything they do. While support and understanding are important in treatment so, too and increasingly is self-care. Assistive therapeutic technology, such as the PainSolv, empowers patients to take charge of their own care through self-administration of a safe and healthy modality.
McEwen J. "The McEwen Report" / Chronic Pain Services in Scotland. Scottish Executive. July 2004.
Bowsher D, Rigge M, Sopp L. Prevalence of chronic pain in the British population: a telephone survey of 1037 households. Pain Clin 1991; 4: 223-230.
Andersson HI, Ejlertsson G, Leden I, Rosenberg C. Chronic pain in a geographically defined general population: studies of differences in age, gender, social class, and pain localization.
Clin J Pain 1993; 9: 174-182. References 2 and 3 are cited in Smith BH, Elliott AM, Chambers WA, Cairns Smith W, Hannaford PC and Penny K. The impact of chronic pain in the community. Family Practice 2001; 18: 292-299. http://fampra.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/18/3/292
Arthritis: the Big Picture. Chesterfield: Arthritis Research Campaign. 2002. www.arc.org.uk/about_arth/BigPic.pdf
Cycles of Chronic Pain. Pain World. February 2006. http://www.painworld.zip.com.au/reports/cycles_of_chronic_pain.html
Dr Foster Limited and The Pain Society report. Adult Chronic Pain Management Services in the UK. 2003. http://www.britishpainsociety.org/pdf/dr_foster.pdf
Fine PG. New Perspectives in Chronic Pain: An Expert Interview. Medscape Neurology & Neurosurgery May 2006.http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/532790?src=mp
Cochran Jr. RT. Excerpt from Understanding Chronic Pain: A Doctor Talks to His Patients. ImmuneSupport.com 04-21-2004 http://www.immunesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/ID/5606/e/1/T/CFIDS_FM/
Lack Of Research Forcing Elderly To Cope With Chronic Pain. Medical News Today. April 2006. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=41869 *This study is published in the journal Pain Medicine.
Weisberg MB, Clavel AL Jr. Why is chronic pain so difficult to treat?: psychological considerations from simple to complex care. Postgrad Med 1999;106(6):141-64.
Nash J. Chronic pain. http://www.joycenashphd.com/specialties/chronic.html
Main CJ, de C Williams A. Clinical Review ABC of Psychological Medicine, Musculoskeletal pain. BMJ. September 2002;325:534-537. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/325/7363/534
Williams, ME. Improving Geriatric Quality of Life by Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine. Medscape Nurses. 2006. Coverage of: American Geriatrics Society 2006 Annual Scientific Meeting http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/532941?src=mp
Wave of pain to come for boomers (David Graham, Toronto Star, Canada)
October 06, 2007
Ten years ago, Anna Di Rezze woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. For no apparent reason, she was in agonizing pain.
"I was alone in bed and I couldn't move," she recalls. "I felt as if someone had hit me with a baseball bat. I thought I was having a stroke," says the 48-year-old U of T grad student. "I took Tylenol and Aspirin. And in the morning I was still incredibly stiff."
Though it took a year, Di Rezze, who had always been active, particularly as an enthusiastic equestrian, was finally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Pain has been part of her life ever since. She's continued to work and ride horses. She married and recently returned to school. But her life has never been the same.
"In 10 years I have never been out of pain. I just have higher and lower levels and luckily I have more good days than bad," she says.
Over the years Di Rezze has been prescribed a variety of medications, including Celebrex for the pain of arthritis. She's dabbled in magnetic therapies, herbs and acupuncture.
"Now I feel flare-ups coming and I prepare myself. I can feel the heat building in my arm and I can see my hands curling up."
As aging baby boomers enter their "achy-breaky" years, scientists and researchers are scrambling to discover remedies for the tsunami of pain that threatens to cripple the population over the next few decades.
While statistics indicate that boomers will live longer than any previous generation, pain specialists worry the quality of life during those final years may be severely compromised by the many and varied pains associated with growing old. That includes pain from cancer, musculoskeletal and joint disorders, neck and back pain, as well as headaches and migraine.
Dr. Mary Lynch, president-elect of the Canadian Pain Society, sees the killer wave coming.
Lynch is a professor of psychiatry, anesthesiology and pharmacology at Dalhousie University and director of the pain management unit at the QE2 Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. She cites Canada's Dr. Dwight Moulin's study on pain, which estimates 29 per cent of Canadians aged 18 years and older suffer from chronic pain.
"That number is going to explode as the population ages," she says.
Moulin, a physician at London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ont., is a leading researcher in cancer pain. He has commented: "In the developed world, approximately one in three individuals will be diagnosed with cancer and one-half of those will die of progressive disease.
At least 75 per cent of patients with cancer develop pain before death. It is therefore not surprising that pain is one of the most feared consequences of cancer for both patients and families."
As Woody Allen once cracked: "It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens."
Remarkably, Di Rezze counts herself lucky, if only because she has learned relatively early in life how to cope with persistent pain.
Millions of aging boomers are going to learn her lessons, says Lynch.
From the gnawing agony of arthritis to the torture of cancer pain, the scientific medical community is determined to tame this multi-tentacled beast.
There is a lot of territory to cover. Despite the warnings, too many hospitals continue to under-treat pain. Wait times in both private and public clinics can encourage sufferers to medicate themselves. And still, too few medical schools are teaching pain management, says Lynch.
Yet amidst all the agony, there is hope, mostly because pain is finally being taken seriously as a disease in its own right, no longer considered just a maddening side effect of other illnesses and trauma.
"I have been working in pain for the past 25 years and for most of that time it was a backwater," says Mike Salter, director of the Centre for the Study of Pain at the U of T. He's buoyed by the fact pain is now an exciting field that's beginning to attract more researchers.
Canada, in fact, has become a world leader in pain research, says Lynch.
And members of the boomer generation will be the ultimate benefactors. Often characterized as self-indulgent, boomers - unlike previous generations - are less likely to suffer silently and will not tolerate a medical community that makes them feel crazy simply because they want relief for what seems like an inexplicable pain.
We need to get on top of this issue now, says Lynch.
Enormous strides have been made in the understanding of the mechanics of pain, particularly the difference between acute and chronic pain.
Acute pain (pain following a surgical procedure or from an accident, for example), is understandable and treatable pharmacologically, says Salter.
But chronic pain, which persists beyond the time when normal healing should have taken place, points to an unhealthy nervous system, he says. And that's a considerably more complicated issue. "Think of those pain messages being stuck in the `on' position," says Lynch. "The nervous system is hyper-sensitized and keeps firing in the absence of pain-related events."
"Science is now focusing on finding new ways to restore healthy function to the nervous system," Salter says.
And he's optimistic.
"It is not science-fiction," he says, "to contemplate a world in which all pain is treatable, particularly since the important breakthroughs in neuroscience in the early to mid-'90s. In a perfect world, people will decide how much pain they are willing to endure. They'll balance the negative side effects of their treatment against the pain relief."
Montreal's Dr. Ronald Melzack got the ball rolling in 1965 when he and British physiologist Patrick Wall published their famous gate-control theory.
According to their research, psychological and environmental factors can influence how we feel pain. Sometimes the source of pain is in the brain, which they suggest, explains phenomenon such as phantom limb pain.
Melzack, a professor emeritus at McGill University and associate of the McGill Centre for Research on Pain, says their groundbreaking theory "triggered a revolution in the research of pain. It put the brain front and centre as an integral part of our understanding of pain. It brought the field of psychology to the understanding of pain."
Melzack is convinced new pharmacological advances in pain alleviation will come from the study of antidepressants, anti-epilepsy drugs and cannabinoids - treatments that serve to dampen down nerve firing.
Pharmaceutical giants spend millions researching magic bullets. It's big business. And as boomers age, it's about to get bigger.
In 2006 in Canada, 26 million prescriptions for painkillers were issued, according to IMS Health Canada, representing sales of more than $800 million.
But pain specialists know drugs alone are not the answer. Pain has to be attacked on a variety of fronts.
Dr. Allan Gordon, director of the Wasser Pain Management Centre at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, confirms that patients treated with a multidisciplinary approach consistently do better than patients who rely on drugs alone. Lynch agrees: "Appropriate pain management needs a holistic approach."
The Wasser clinic, opened in 1999, treats pain on many levels - opioids, including narcotic pain medications such as codeine, fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone; injection therapies such as nerve-blocking epidurals and Botox; physical therapies to tone the body's defence network; behavioural techniques such as relaxation and biofeedback as well as psychotherapy that addresses the fear, anxiety and depression associated with pain.
The team approach at Wasser, which treats chronic pain not related to cancer, uses the expertise of neurologists, dentists, anesthesiologists, gynecologists and even sex therapists.
Doctors involved in pain management are not discounting any treatment options, from implants and patches to hypnosis and acupuncture.
"What we know is that there are many ways to change the way someone feels. What about the power of spirituality and music?" Gordon wonders. "These should be researched more," he says.
Pain specialists continue to work on technologies such as pumps that send pain medication directly to the spinal cord and pain pacemakers, devices implanted in the body to deliver low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord or to specific nerves.
Researchers are experimenting with genetics and there are murmurings of stem-cell technologies.
McGill psychology professor Dr. Jeffrey Mogil is the Canada Research Chair in the Genetics of Pain and a member of the McGill Centre for Research on Pain, which was created in 2003 and now has 30 full and 17 associate members.
The relationship between genes and pain represents the newest and perhaps most promising research. "We want to know why only a small portion of people with certain disorders feel intense pain while others are largely unaffected.
"The answer may be in the genetic variations between people," says Mogil.
"There has to be a genetic component," he says. "When 100 people are in the same car accident and only six go on to experience chronic neuropathic pain, unless the injuries were different, the six sufferers must have a genetic susceptibility to their pain. And when 100 people get headaches and some respond better to ibuprofen than others, then we suspect the issue may be genetic," says Mogil.
"There are a lot of people around the world working on many, many theories," says Salter. "Which ones will pan out is hard to know."
But boomers are not stoics, says Lynch. "As a demographic, they are used to taking an active role in their health. They'll be politically pro-active. They'll want answers."
National Academy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine – 2004 – Research Report – Questions and Answers About Using Magnets To Treat Pain
• An overview of scientific research from 15 RCTs published in English from January 1997 through March 2004 and cataloged in the National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database. These trials studied CAM uses of static magnets or electromagnets for various kinds of pain.
• The results of trials of static magnets have been conflicting. Four of the nine static magnet trials analyzed found no significant difference in pain relief from using a magnet compared with sham treatment or usual medical care. Four trials did find a significant difference, with greater benefit seen from magnets. The remaining trial compared only a weaker strength magnet to a stronger magnet, and found benefit from both (there was no difference between groups in how much benefit).
• Trials of electromagnets yielded more consistent results. Five out of six trials found that these magnets significantly reduced pain. The sixth found a significant benefit to physical function from using electromagnets, but not to pain or stiffness.
Magnetic Therapy, by Joan Bathon, M.D. and Andrew Bilderback
A foundation of in vitro and clinical studies has demonstrated that electric and magnetic energy favorably affects disorders of dense connective tissue. These signals have become a fertile area of research in orthopedics and rheumatology. Surprisingly modern pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) have been available for over 20 years, although only now are they becoming a standard of care for delayed union fracture. Bassett et alref 11 published some interesting results showing PEMF therapy healed a nonunion fracture in four months. This fracture had previously failed several operations over a 10-year interval and the alternative treatment being offered was amputation of the limb. This finding inspired much research that culminated in the development of bone growth stimulators that were approved by US FDA IN 1979. Currently it is well known that PEMF stimulation has become an effective alternative therapy to orthopedic surgery, with success rates as high as 80%. In 1990 Lippiello et alref 12 showed that PEMF application, stimulated chondrocytic proliferation in 37 New Zealand white rabbits.
Electromagnetic fields can be delivered to biological systems by using direct placement of an electrode or noninvasively by capacitive coupling (opposing electrodes placed on skin across the target area) or inductive coupling (PEMF induce an electric current in the target area without skin contact altogether).
In a randomized trial, Zizic et alref 13 studied a pulsed electric device used to treat 78 patients with chronic knee osteoarthritis via skin surface electrodes. The active treatment was superior to placebo in symptom reduction and was proved to be effective for symptom reduction and cost effective. The application of PEMF stimulation for osteoarthritis is a relatively new area, which has been supported by additional work by Trock et al inref 14 1994. In their experiment 86 patients with knee osteoarthritis were exposed to 9 hours of PEMF stimulation over a 1-month period using a noncontact device. Up to 36% of the patients noticed improvement in pain and function. Perrot et al reported similar finding in his 1998 experiment. PEMF therapy is considered safe but should be avoided in those who are pregnant, with permanent pacemakers and patients with known cancer. Due to their safety, cost effectiveness coupled with their proven effectiveness as a treatment tool for delayed fractures, interest is directed towards osteoarthrits, osteonecrosis and osteoporosis by way of large independent studies currently in progress.
1. Rao JK, Mihaliak K, Kroenke K, Bradley J, Tierney WM, Weinberger M.Use of complementary therapies for arthritis among patients of rheumatologists. Ann Intern Med 131:409-16, 1999.
2. Berman BM, Singh BB, Lao L, Langenberg P, Li H, Hadhazy V, Bareta J, Hochberg A randomized trial of acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy in osteoarthritis of the knee. Rheumatology (Oxford) 38:346-54, 1999.
3. Hamerman D, et al. Glycosoaminoglycans produced by human synovial cell cultures collagen. Rel Res 2:313, 2000.
4. Reichelt A, Forster KK, Fischer M, Rovati LC, Setnikar I. Efficacy and safety of intramuscular glucosamine sulfate in osteoarthritis of the knee. A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Arzneimittelforschung 44(1):75-80, 1994.
5. Qiu GX, Gao SN, Giacovelli G, Rovati L, Setnikar I Efficacy and safety of glucosamine sulfate versus ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Qiu GX, Gao SN, Giacovelli G, Rovati L, Setnikar IArzneimittelforschung 48(5):469-74, 1998.
6. Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, Lee RL, Lejeune E, Bruyere O, Giacovelli G, Henrotin Y, Dacre JE, Gossett C. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet 2001 Jan 357(9252):251-6, 2001.
7. Knanfelt A. Synthesis of articular cartlage proteoglycans by isolated bovine chondrocytes. Agents actions 14:58-62, 1984.
8. Bourgeois P, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of chondroitin sulfate 1200 mg/day vs chondroitin sulfate 3 x 400 mg/day vs placebo. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 6Suppl A:25-30, 1998.
9. Morreale P, et al. Comparison of the Antiinflammatory Efficacy of Chondroitin Sulfate and Diclofenac Sodium in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol 23:1385-91, 1996.
10. Leeb B, et al. A Metaanalysis of Chondroitin Sulfate in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol 27:205-11, 2000.
11. Bassett CA. The development and application of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) for ununited fractures and arthrodeses. Orthop Clin North Am 15(1):61-87, 1984.
12. Lippiello L, Chakkalakal D, Connolly JF. Pulsing direct current-induced repair of articular cartilage in rabbit osteochondral defects. J Orthop Res 8(2):266-75, 1990
13. Zizic TM, Hoffman KC, Holt PA, Hungerford DS, O'Dell JR, Jacobs MA, Lewis CG, Deal CL, Caldwell JR, Cholewczynski JG, et al. The treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee with pulsed electrical stimulation. J Rheumatol 22(9):1757-61, 1995.
14. Trock DH, Bollet AJ, Markoll R. The effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields in the treatment of osteoarthritisof the knee and cervical spine. Report of randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trials. Trock DH, Bollet AJ, Markoll R. Rheumatol 21(10):1903-11, 1994.
Bioelectromagnetism is a discipline that examines the electric, electromagnetic, and magnetic phenomena which arise in biological tissues.
These phenomena include:
• The behaviour of excitable tissue (the sources)
• The electric currents and potentials in the volume conductor
• The magnetic field at and beyond the body
• The response of excitable cells to electric and magnetic field stimulation
• The intrinsic electric and magnetic properties of the tissue
It is important to separate the concept of bioelectromagnetism from the concept of medical electronics; the former involves bioelectric, bioelectromagnetic, and biomagnetic phenomena and measurement and stimulation methodology, whereas the latter refers to the actual devices used for these purposes.
By definition, bioelectromagnetism is interdisciplinary since it involves the association of the life sciences with the physical and engineering sciences. Consequently, we have a special interest in those disciplines that combine engineering and physics with biology and medicine.
Bioelectromagnetism discipline interactions
These disciplines are briefly defined as follows:
• Biophysics: The science that is concerned with the solution of biological problems in terms of the concepts of physics.
• Bioengineering: The application of engineering to the development of health care devices, analysis of biological systems, and manufacturing of products based on advances in this technology. This term is also frequently used to encompass both biomedical engineering and biochemical engineering (biotechnology).
• Biotechnology: The study of microbiological process technology. The main fields of application of biotechnology are agriculture, and food and drug production.
• Medical electronics: A division of biomedical engineering concerned with electronic devices and methods in medicine.
• Medical physics: A science based upon physical problems in clinical medicine.
• Biomedical engineering: An engineering discipline concerned with the application of science and technology (devices and methods) to biology and medicine.
Currently recognized interdisciplinary fields that associate physics and engineering with medicine and biology:
• BEN = bioengineering
• BPH = biophysics
• BEM = bioelectromagnetism
• MPH = medical physics
• MEN = medical engineering
• MEL = medical electronics
Bioelectromagnetics Applications in Medicine
PANEL MEMBERS AND CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS
Beverly Rubik, Ph.D.--Chair
Robert O. Becker, M.D.
Robert G. Flower, M.S.
Carlton F. Hazlewood, Ph.D.
Abraham R. Liboff, Ph.D.
Jan Walleczek, Ph.D.
Bioelectromagnetics (BEM) is the emerging science that studies how living organisms interact with electromagnetic (EM) fields. Electrical phenomena are found in all living organisms. Moreover, electrical currents exist in the body that are capable of producing magnetic fields that extend outside the body. Consequently, they can be influenced by external magnetic and EM fields as well. Changes in the body's natural fields may produce physical and behavioral changes. To understand how these field effects may occur, it is first useful to discuss some basic phenomena associated with EM fields.
In its simplest form, a magnetic field is a field of magnetic force extending out from a permanent magnet. Magnetic fields are produced by moving electrical currents. For example, when an electrical current flows in a wire, the movement of the electrons through the wire produces a magnetic field in the space around the wire (fig. 1). If the current is a direct current (DC), it flows in one direction and the magnetic field is steady. If the electrical current in the wire is pulsing, or fluctuating--such as in alternating current (AC), which means the current flow is switching directions--the magnetic field also fluctuates. The strength of the magnetic field depends on the amount of current flowing in the wire; the more current, the stronger the magnetic field. An EM field contains both an electrical field and a magnetic field. In the case of a fluctuating magnetic or EM field, the field is characterized by its rate, or frequency, of fluctuation (e.g., one fluctuation per second is equal to 1 hertz [Hz], the unit of frequency).
A field fluctuating in this fashion theoretically extends out in space to infinity, decreasing in strength with distance and ultimately becoming lost in the jumble of other EM and magnetic fields that fill space. Since it is fluctuating at a certain frequency, it also has a wave motion (fig. 2). The wave moves outward at the speed of light (roughly 186,000 miles per second). As a result, it has a wavelength (i.e., the distance between crests of the wave) that is inversely related to its frequency. For example, a 1-Hz frequency has a wavelength of millions of miles, whereas a 1-million-Hz, or 1-megahertz (MHz), frequency has a wavelength of several hundred feet, and a 100-MHz frequency has a wavelength of about 6 feet.
All of the known frequencies of EM waves or fields are represented in the EM spectrum, ranging from DC (zero frequency) to the highest frequencies, such as gamma and cosmic rays. The EM spectrum includes x rays, visible light, microwaves, and television and radio frequencies, among many others. Moreover, all EM fields are force fields that carry energy through space and are capable of producing an effect at a distance. These fields have characteristics of both waves and particles. Depending on what types of experiments one does to investigate light, radio waves, or any other part of the EM spectrum, one will find either waves or particles called photons.
A photon is a tiny packet of energy that has no measurable mass. The greater the energy of the photon, the greater the frequency associated with its waveform. The human eye detects only a narrow band of frequencies within the EM spectrum, that of light. One photon gives up its energy to the retina in the back of the eye, which converts it into an electrical signal in the nervous system that produces the sensation of light.
Table 1 shows the usual classification of EM fields in terms of their frequency of oscillation, ranging from DC through extremely low frequency (ELF), low frequency, radio frequency (RF), microwave and radar, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x rays, and gamma rays. For oscillating fields, the higher the frequency, the greater the energy.
Endogenous fields (those produced within the body) are to be distinguished from exogenous fields (those produced by sources outside the body). Exogenous EM fields can be classified as either natural, such as the earth's geomagnetic field, or artificial (e.g., power lines, transformers, appliances, radio transmitters, and medical devices). The term electropollution refers to artificial EM fields that may be associated with health risks.
In radiation biophysics, an EM field is classified as ionizing if its energy is high enough to dislodge electrons from an atom or molecule. High-energy, high-frequency forms of EM radiation, such as gamma rays and x rays, are strongly ionizing in biological matter. For this reason, prolonged exposure to such rays is harmful. Radiation in the middle portion of the frequency and energy spectrum--such as visible, especially ultraviolet, light--is weakly ionizing (i.e., it can be ionizing or not, depending on the target molecules).
Although it has long been known that exposure to strongly ionizing EM radiation can cause extreme damage in biological tissues, only recently have epidemiological studies and other evidence implicated long-term exposure to nonionizing, exogenous EM fields, such as those emitted by power lines, in increased health hazards. These hazards may include an increased risk in children of developing leukemia (Bierbaum and Peters, 1991; Nair et al., 1989; Wilson et al., 1990a).
However, it also has been discovered that oscillating nonionizing EM fields in the ELF range can have vigorous biological effects that may be beneficial and thus nonharmful (Becker and Marino, 1982; Brighton and Pollack, 1991). This discovery is a cornerstone in the foundation of BEM research and application.
Specific changes in the field configuration and exposure pattern of low-level EM fields can produce highly specific biological responses. More intriguing, some specific frequencies have highly specific effects on tissues in the body, just as drugs have their specific effects on target tissues. The actual mechanism by which EM fields produce biological effects is under intense study. Evidence suggests that the cell membrane may be one of the primary locations where applied EM fields act on the cell. EM forces at the membrane's outer surface could modify ligand-receptor interactions (e.g., the binding of messenger chemicals such as hormones and growth factors to specialized cell membrane molecules called receptors), which in turn would alter the state of large membrane molecules that play a role in controlling the cell's internal processes (Tenforde and Kaune, 1987). Experiments to establish the full details of a mechanistic chain of events such as this, however, are just beginning.
Another line of study focuses on the endogenous EM fields. At the level of body tissues and organs, electrical activity is known to exhibit macroscopic patterns that contain medically useful information. For example, the diagnostic procedures of electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography are based on detection of endogenous EM fields produced in the central nervous system and heart muscle, respectively. Taking the observations in these two systems a step further, current BEM research is exploring the possibility that weak EM fields associated with nerve activity in other tissues and organs might also carry information of diagnostic value. New technologies for constructing extremely sensitive EM transducers (e.g., magnetometers and electrometers) and for signal processing recently have made this line of research feasible.
Recent BEM research has uncovered a form of endogenous EM radiation in the visible region of the spectrum that is emitted by most living organisms, ranging from plant seeds to humans (Chwirot et al., 1987, Mathew and Rumar, in press, Popp et al., 1984, 1988, 1992). Some evidence indicates that this extremely low-level light, known as biophoton emission, may be important in bioregulation, membrane transport, and gene expression. It is possible that the effects (both beneficial and harmful) of exogenous fields may be mediated by alterations in endogenous fields. Thus, externally applied EM fields from medical devices may act to correct abnormalities in endogenous EM fields characteristic of disease states. Furthermore, the energy of the biophotons and processes involving their emission as well as other endogenous fields of the body may prove to be involved in energetic therapies, such as healer interactions.
At the cutting edge of BEM research lies the question of how endogenous body EM fields may change as a result of changes in consciousness. The recent formation and rapid growth of a new society, the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, is indicative of the growing interest in this field.
Medical Applications of Bioelectromagnetics
Medical research applications of BEM began almost simultaneously with Michael Faraday's discovery of electromagnetic induction in the late 1700s. Immediately thereafter came the famous experiments of the 18th-century physician and physicist Luigi Galvani, who showed with frog legs that there was a connection between electricity and muscle contraction. This was followed by the work of Alessandro Volta, the Italian physicist whose investigation into electricity led him to correctly interpret Galvani's experiments with muscle, showing that the metal electrodes and not the tissue generated the current. From this early work came a plethora of devices for the diagnosis and treatment of disease, using first static electricity, then electrical currents, and, later, frequencies from different regions of the EM spectrum. Like other treatment methods, certain devices were seen as unconventional at first, only to become widely accepted later. For example, many of the medical devices that make up the core of modern, scientifically based medicine, such as x-ray devices, at one time were considered highly experimental.
Most of today's medical EM devices use relatively large levels of electrical, magnetic, or EM energy. The main topic of this chapter, however, is the use of the nonionizing portion of the EM spectrum, particularly at low levels, which is the focus of BEM research.
Nonionizing BEM medical applications may be classified according to whether they are thermal (heat producing in biologic tissue) or nonthermal. Thermal applications of nonionizing radiation (i.e., application of heat) include RF hyperthermia, laser and RF surgery, and RF diathermy.
The most important BEM modalities in alternative medicine are the nonthermal applications of nonionizing radiation. The term nonthermal is used with two different meanings in the medical and scientific literature. Biologically (or medically) nonthermal means that it "causes no significant gross tissue heating"; this is the most common usage. Physically (or scientifically) nonthermal means "below the thermal noise limit at physiological temperatures." The energy level of thermal noise is much lower than that required to cause heating of tissue; thus, any physically nonthermal application is automatically biologically nonthermal.
All of the nonthermal applications of nonionizing radiation are nonthermal in the biological sense. That is, they cause no significant heating of tissue. Some of the newer, unconventional BEM applications are also physically nonthermal. A variety of alternative medical practices developed outside the United States employ nonionizing EM fields at nonthermal intensities. For instance, microwave resonance therapy, which is used primarily in Russia, employs low-intensity (either continuous or pulse-modulated), sinusoidal microwave radiation to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, ulcers, esophagitis, hypertension, chronic pain, cerebral palsy, neurological disorders, and side effects of cancer chemotherapy (Devyatkov et al., 1991). Thousands of people in Russia also have been treated by specific frequencies of extremely low-level microwaves applied at certain acupuncture points.
The mechanism of action of microwave resonance therapy is thought to involve modifications in cell membrane transport or production of chemical mediators or both. Although a sizable body of Russian-language literature on this technique already exists, no independent validation studies have been conducted in the West. However, if such treatments prove to be effective, current views on the role of information and thermal noise (i.e., order and disorder) in living systems, which hold that biological information is stored in molecular structures, may need revision. It may be that such information is stored at the level of the whole organism in the endogenous EM field, which may be used informationally in biological regulation and cellular communication (i.e., not due to energy content or power intensity). If exogenous, extremely low-level nonionizing fields with energy contents well below the thermal noise limit produce biological effects, they may be acting on the body in such a way that they alter the body's own field. That is to say, biological information would be altered by the exogenous EM fields.
The eight major new (or "unconventional") applications of nonthermal, nonionizing EM fields are as follows:
1. Bone repair.
2. Nerve stimulation.
3. Wound healing.
4. Treatment of osteoarthritis.
6. Tissue regeneration.
7. Immune system stimulation.
8. Neuroendocrine modulations.
These applications of BEM and the evidence for their efficacy are discussed in the following section.
Applications 1 through 5 above have been clinically tested and are in limited clinical use. On the basis of existing animal and cellular studies, applications 6 through 8 offer the potential for developing new clinical treatments, but clinical trials have not yet been conducted.
Three types of applied EM fields are known to promote healing of nonunion bone fractures (i.e., those that fail to heal spontaneously):
* Pulsed EM fields (PEMFs) and sinusoidal EM fields (AC fields).
* DC fields.
* Combined AC-DC magnetic fields tuned to ion-resonant frequencies (these are extremely low-intensity, physically nonthermal fields) (Weinstein et al., 1990).
Approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been obtained on PEMF and DC applications and is pending for the AC-DC application. In PEMF and AC applications, the repetition frequencies used are in the ELF range (Bassett, 1989). In DC applications, magnetic field intensities range from 100 microgauss to 100 gauss (G), and electric currents range from less than 0.1 microampere to milliamperes (Baranowski and Black, 1987)._ FDA approval of these therapies covers only their use to promote healing of nonunion bone fractures, not to accelerate routine healing of uncomplicated fractures.
Efficacy of EM bone repair treatment has been confirmed in double-blind clinical trials (Barker et al., 1984; Sharrard, 1990). A conservative estimate is that as of 1985 more than 100,000 people had been treated with such devices (Bassett et al., 1974, 1982; Brighton et al., 1979, 1981; Goldenberg and Hansen, 1972; Hinsenkamp et al., 1985).
Stimulation and Measurement of Nerve Activity
These applications fall into the following seven categories:
1. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). In this medical application, two electrodes are applied to the skin via wires attached to a portable electrical generating device, which may be clipped to the patient's belt (Hagfors and Hyme, 1975). Perhaps more than 100 types of FDA-approved devices in this category are currently available and used in physical therapy for pain relief. All of them operate on the same basis.
2. Transcranial electrostimulation (TCES). These devices are similar to the TENS units. They apply extremely low currents (below the nerve excitation threshold) to the brain via two electrodes applied to the head and are used for behavioral/psychological modification (e.g., to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia) (Shealy et al., 1992). A recent meta-analysis covering at least 12 clinical trials selected from more than 100 published reports found that TCES can alleviate anxiety disorders (Klawansky et al., 1992). With support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), TCES is under evaluation for alleviation of drug dependence.
3. Neuromagnetic stimulation. In this application, which has both diagnostic and therapeutic uses, a magnetic pulse is applied noninvasively to a part of the patient's body to stimulate nerve activity. In diagnostic use, a pulse is applied to the cerebral cortex, and the patient's physiological responses are monitored to obtain a dynamic picture of the brain-body interface (Hallett and Cohen, 1989). As a treatment modality, it is being used in lieu of electroshock therapy to treat certain types of affective disorder (e.g., major depression) and seizures (Anninos and Tsagas, 1991). Neuromagnetic stimulation also is used in nerve conduction studies for conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
4. Electromyography. This diagnostic application detects electrical potentials associated with muscle contraction. Specific electrical patterns have been associated with certain abnormal states (e.g., denervated muscle). This method, along with electromyographic biofeedback, is being used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome and other movement disorders.
5. Electroencephalography. This neurodiagnostic application detects brainwaves. Coupled with EEG biofeedback it is used to treat a variety of conditions, such as learning disabilities, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, chronic alcoholism, and stroke.
6. Electroretinography. This diagnostic application monitors electrical potentials across the retina to assess eye movements. This is one of the few methods available for noninvasive monitoring of rapid eye movement sleep.
7. Low-energy emission therapy. This application uses an antenna positioned in the patient's mouth to administer amplitude-modulated EM fields. It has been shown to affect the central nervous system, and pilot clinical studies show efficacy in treating insomnia (Hajdukovic et al., 1992) and hypertension (Pasche et al., 1989).
Soft-tissue Wound Healing
The following studies have demonstrated accelerated healing of soft-tissue wounds using DC, PEMF, and electrochemical modalities:
* When wound healing is abnormal (retarded or arrested), electric or magnetic field applications may trigger healing to occur. A review of several reports indicates that fields may be useful in this regard (Lee et al., 1993; Vodovnik and Karba, 1992).
* PEMFs have been used clinically to treat venous skin ulcers. Results of several double-blind studies showed that PEMF stimulation promotes cell activation and cell proliferation through an effect on the cell membrane, particularly on endothelial cells (Ieran et al., 1990; Stiller et al., 1992).
* ELF and RF fields are applied to accelerate wound healing. Since skin wounds have unique electrical potentials and currents, stimulation of these electrical factors by a variety of exogenous EM fields can aid in the healing process by causing dedifferentiation (i.e., conversion to a more primitive form) of the nearby cells followed by accelerated cell proliferation (O'Connor et al., 1990).
* An electrochemical treatment that provides scarless regenerative wound healing uses electricity solely to introduce active metallic ions, such as silver, into the tissue. The electric field plays no role itself (Becker, 1987, 1990, 1992).
* PEMF increases the rate of formation of epithelial (skin) cells in partially healed wounds (Mertz et al., 1988).
* AC EM fields promote the repair of injured vascular networks (Herbst et al., 1988).
* EM devices have been patented for treating atherosclerotic lesions (i.e., small blood clots that build up on the walls of arteries and cause cardiovascular disease) and to control tissue growth (Gordon, 1986; Liboff et al., 1992b).
In a recent clinical trial using a double-blind, randomized protocol with placebo control, osteoarthritis (primarily of the knee) treated noninvasively by pulsed 30-Hz, 60-G PEMFs showed the treatment group improved substantially more than the placebo group (Trock et al., 1993). It is believed that applied magnetic fields act to suppress inflammatory responses at the cell membrane level (O'Connor et al., 1990).
Electrical stimulation via acupuncture needles is often used as an enhancement or replacement for manual needling. Clinical benefits have been demonstrated for the use of electrical stimulation (electrostimulation) in combination with acupuncture as well as for electrostimulation applied directly to acupuncture points.
As an enhancement of acupuncture, a small-scale study showed electrostimulation with acupuncture to be beneficial in the treatment of post-operative pain (Christensen and Noreng, 1989). Other controlled studies have shown good success in using electrostimulation with acupuncture in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced sickness in cancer patients (Dundee and Ghaly, 1989). In addition, electrical stimulation with acupuncture was recently shown to be beneficial in the treatment of renal colic (Lee et al., 1992).
As a replacement for acupuncture, electrostimulation applied in a controlled study to acupuncture points by a TENS unit was effective in inducing uterine contractions in postterm pregnant women (Dunn and Rogers, 1989). Further, research with rats has shown that electrostimulation at such points can enhance peripheral motor nerve regeneration (McDevitt et al., 1987) and sensory nerve sprouting (Pomeranz et al., 1984).
Animal research in this area indicates that the body's endogenous EM fields are involved in growth processes and that modifications of these fields can lead to modest regeneration of severed limbs (Becker, 1987; Becker and Spadero, 1972; Smith, 1967). Russian research and clinical applications, along with studies now under way in the United States, indicate that low-intensity microwaves apparently stimulate bone marrow stem cell division and may be useful in enhancing the effects of chemotherapy by maintaining the formation and development, or hematopoiesis, of various types of blood cells (Devyatkov et al., 1991).
The following studies are also relevant to the use of BEM for regeneration:
* PEMF applications to promote peripheral nerve regeneration (Orgel et al., 1992; Sisken, 1992).
* The "diapulse" method of using pulsed, high-frequency EM fields for human wrist nerve regeneration (Wilson et al., 1974).
* DC applications to promote rat spinal cord regeneration (Fehlings et al., 1992; Hurlbert and Tator, 1992).
* Swedish work showing that BEM promotes rat sciatic nerve regeneration (Kanje and Rusovan, 1992; Rusovan and Kanje, 1991, 1992; Rusovan et al., 1992).
During the past two decades, the effects of EM exposure on the immune system and its components have been extensively studied. While early studies indicated that long-term exposure to EM fields might negatively affect the immune system, there is promising new research showing that applied EM fields may be able to beneficially modulate immune responses. For example, studies with human lymphocytes show that exogenous EM or magnetic fields can produce changes in calcium transport (Walleczek, 1992) and cause mediation of the mitogenic response (i.e., the stimulation of the division of cellular nuclei; certain types of immune cells begin to divide and reproduce rapidly in response to certain stimuli, or mitogens). This finding has led to research investigating the possible augmentation by applied EM fields of a type of immune cell population called natural killer cells, which are important in helping the body fight against cancer and viruses (Cadossi et al., 1988a, 1988b; Cossarizza et al., 1989a, 1989b, 1989c).
Potential Neuroendocrine Modulations
Low-level PEMFs have typically been shown to suppress levels of melatonin, which is secreted by the pineal gland and is believed to regulate the body's inner clock (Lerchl et al., 1990; Wilson et al., 1990b). Melatonin, as a hormone, is oncostatic (i.e., it stops cancer growth). Thus, if melatonin can be suppressed by certain magnetic fields, it also may be possible to employ magnetic fields with different characteristics to stimulate melatonin secretion for the treatment of cancer. Other applications may include use of EM fields to affect melatonin secretion to normalize circadian rhythms in people with jet lag and sleep cycle disturbances.
Future Research Opportunities
Although to date there is an extensive base of literature on the use of BEM for medical applications, the overall research strategy into this phenomenon has been quite fragmented. Because of BEM's potential for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, an integrated research program is needed that includes both basic and clinical research in BEM. These two approaches should be pursued vigorously and simultaneously along parallel tracks.
Basic research is needed to refine or develop new BEM technologies with the aim of establishing the fundamental knowledge about the body's endogenous EM fields and how they interact with clinically applied EM fields. A basic understanding of the BEM of the human body might provide insight into the scientific bioenergetic or bioinformational principles by which other areas of alternative medicine, such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and energetic therapies, may function. Furthermore, fundamental knowledge of BEM principles in the human body, in conjunction with psychophysiological states, might help facilitate understanding of mind-body regulation.
Clinical research, including preclinical assessments, is also essential, with the aim of bringing the most promising BEM treatments and diagnostics from limited use into widespread use as quickly as possible. Although a number of BEM devices show promise as new diagnostics or therapeutics, they must be tested on humans to show exactly when they are effective and when they are not. Moreover, measures of clinical effectiveness and safety are required for FDA approval of BEM medical devices. Ultimately, knowledge about the safety of new BEM medical devices can be ascertained only from the appropriate clinical trials.
The current status of basic research in BEM may be summarized as follows:
* Nonionizing, nonthermal exogenous EM fields exert measurable bioeffects in living organisms. In general, the organism's response to applied EM fields is highly frequency specific and the dose-response curve is nonlinear (i.e., application of an additional amount of the EM field does not elicit a response of equal magnitude; the response eventually diminishes no matter how additional EM stimuli are applied). Extremely weak EM fields may, at the proper frequency and site of application, produce large effects that are either clinically beneficial or harmful.
* The cell membrane has been proposed as the primary site of transduction of EM field bioeffects. Relevant mechanisms may include changes in cell-membrane binding and transport processes, displacement or deformation of polarized molecules, modifications in the conformation of biological water (i.e., water that comprises organisms), and others.
* The physical mechanisms by which EM fields may act on biomolecules are far too complex to discuss here. However, the following references propose such physical mechanisms: Grundler et al., in press; Liboff, 1985, 1991; and Liboff et al., 1991.
* Endogenous nonthermal EM fields ranging from DC to the visible spectral region may be intimately involved in regulating physiological and biochemical processes.
Consequently, the following pressing needs should be addressed in developing a basic BEM research program:
* Standardized protocols for measuring dosages for therapeutically applied EM fields should be established and followed uniformly in BEM research. Protocols are needed for characterizing (i.e., defining and measuring) EM field sources (both exogenous and endogenous) and EM parameters of biological subjects. Such variables must be characterized in greater detail than is commonly practiced in clinical research. Artifacts caused by ambient EM fields in the laboratory environment (e.g., from power lines and laboratory equipment) must be avoided.
* In general, a balanced, strategic approach to basic research--including studies in humans, animals, and cells along with theoretical modeling and close collaboration with other investigators in alternative medicine--will produce the most valuable results in the long run.
* Many independent parameters characterize nonthermal nonionizing EM fields, including pulsed vs. nonpulsed and sinusoidal vs. other waveforms; frequency; phase; intensity (as a function of spatial position); voltage; and current. If multiple fields are combined, these parameters must be specified for each component. Additional parameters necessary for characterizing the medical application of EM fields include the site of application and the time course of exposure. All of these can be experimentally varied, producing an enormous range of possibilities. To date, there has been little systematic research to explore the potential biological effects of this vast array of applied field parameter characteristics.
Clinical trials of BEM-based treatments for the following conditions may yield useful results relatively soon: arthritis, psychophysiological states (including drug dependence and epilepsy), wound healing and regeneration, intractable pain, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, closed head injury, cerebral palsy (spasticity reduction), learning disabilities, headache, degenerative conditions associated with aging, cancer, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
EM fields may be applied clinically as the primary therapy or as adjuvant therapy along with other treatments in the conditions listed above. Effectiveness can be measured via the following clinical markers:
* In arthritis, the usual clinical criteria, including decrease of pain, less swelling, and thus a greater potential for mobility.
* In psychophysiological problems, relief from symptoms of drug withdrawal and alleviation of depressive anxiety and its symptoms.
* In epilepsy, return to greater normality in EEG, more normal sleep patterns, and reduction in required drug dosages.
* In wound healing and regeneration, repair of soft tissue and reduction of collagenous tissue in scar formation; regrowth via blastemal (primitive cell) formation and increase in tensile strength of surgical wounds; alleviation of decubitus chronic ulcers (bedsores); increased angiogenesis (regrowth of vascular tissue such as blood vessels); and healing of recalcitrant (i.e., unresponsive to treatment) chronic venous ulcers.
For instance, a short-term, double-blind clinical trial of magnetic field therapy could be based on the protocol of Trock et al. (1993) for osteoarthritis of the knee or elbow. This protocol is as follows:
* A suitable patient population is divided into treatment and control groups. Individual assignments are coded and remain unknown to patients, clinicians, and operators until treatment and assessment are complete.
* Pretreatment clinical markers are assessed by clinicians or by patients themselves or both.
* Treatments consist of 3 to 5 half-hour sessions each week for a total of 18 treatments over 5-6 weeks.
* During treatment, each patient inserts the affected limb into the opening of a Helmholtz coil (a solenoid about 12 inches in diameter and 6 inches long) and rests while appropriate currents are applied to the coil via a preset program.
* The treatment is noninvasive and painless; the patient feels nothing; there is no measurable transfer of heat to the patient.
* The control group follows the same procedure except that, unknown to operator and patient, a "dummy" apparatus (altered internally so that no current flows in the coil) is used.
* Patients' posttreatment clinical markers are assessed.
* Appropriate data reduction (scoring of assessments, decoding of the treatment and control groups, and statistical analysis) is performed.
Clinical trials of BEM-based treatments for a variety of other conditions could follow a similar general outline.
Certain key issues or controversies surrounding BEM have inhibited progress in this field. These issues fall into several distinct areas: medical controversy, scientific controversy, barriers, and other issues.
A number of uncharacterized "black box" medical treatment and diagnostic devices--some legal and some illegal--have been associated with EM medical treatment. Whether they operate on the basis of BEM principles is unknown. Among these devices are the following: radionics devices, Lakhovsky multiple-wave oscillator, Priore's machine, Rife's inert gas discharge tubes, violet ray tubes, Reich's orgone energy devices, EAV machines, and biocircuit devices. There are at least six alternative explanations for how these and other such devices operate: (1) They are ineffectual and are based on erroneous application of physical principles. (2) They may be operating on BEM principles, but they are uncharacterized. (3) They may operate on acoustic principles (sound or ultrasound waves) rather than BEM. (4) In the case of diagnostic devices, they may work by focusing the intuitive capacity of the practitioner. (5) In the case of long-distance applications, they may operate by means of nonlocal properties of consciousness of patient and practitioner. (6) They may be operating on the energy of some domain that is uncharacterized at present.
A recent survey (Eisenberg et al., 1993) showed that about 1 percent of the U.S. population used energy healing techniques that included a variety of EM devices. Indeed, more of the respondents in this 1990 survey used energy healing techniques than used homeopathy and acupuncture in the treatment of either serious or chronic disease. In addition to the use of devices by practitioners, a plethora of consumer medical products that use magnetic energy are purported to promote relaxation or to treat a variety of illnesses. For example, for the bed there are mattress pads impregnated with magnets; there are magnets to attach to the site of an athletic injury; and there are small pelletlike magnets to place over specific points on the body. Most of these so-called therapeutic magnets, also called biomagnets, come from Japan. However, no known published journal articles demonstrating effectiveness via clinical trials exist.
Some of the medical modalities discussed in this report, although presently accepted medically or legally in the United States, have not necessarily passed the most recent requirements of safety or effectiveness. FDA approval of a significant number of BEM-based devices, primarily those used in bone repair and neurostimulation, was "grandfathered." That is, medical devices sold in the United States prior to the Medical Device Law of the late 1970s automatically received FDA approval for use in the same manner and for the same medical conditions for which they were used prior to the law's enactment. Grandfathering by the FDA applies not only to BEM devices but to all devices covered by the Medical Device Law. However, neither the safety nor the effectiveness of grandfathered devices is established (i.e., they are approved on the basis of a "presumption" by the FDA, but they usually remain incompletely studied). Reexamination of devices in use, whether grandfathered or not, may be warranted.
There are three possible ways of resolving controversies associated with BEM and its application: (1) elucidating the fundamental principles underlying the device, or at least the historical basis for the development of the device; (2) conducting properly designed case control studies and clinical trials to validate effects that have been reported or claimed for BEM-based treatments; and (3) increasing the medical community's awareness of well-documented, controlled clinical trials that indicate the effectiveness of specific BEM applications.
Some physicists claim that low-intensity, nonionizing EM fields have no bioeffects other than resistive (joule) heating of tissue. One such argument is based on a physical model in which the only EM field parameter considered relevant to biological systems is power density (Adair, 1991). The argument asserts that measurable nonthermal bioeffects of EM fields are "impossible" because they contradict known physical laws or would require a "new physics" to explain them.
However, numerous independent experiments reported in the refereed-journal research literature conclusively establish that nonthermal bioeffects of low-intensity EM fields do indeed exist. Moreover, the experimental results lend support to certain new approaches in theoretical modeling of the interactions between EM fields and biological matter. Most researchers now feel that BEM bioeffects will become comprehensible not by forsaking physics but rather by developing more sophisticated, detailed models based on known physical laws, in which additional parameters (e.g., frequency, intensity, waveform, and field directionality) are taken into account.
The following barriers to BEM research exist:
* Members of NIH review panels in medical applications might not be adequately knowledgeable about alternative medical practices or BEM. This is the most serious barrier.
* Funding in BEM research is weighted heavily toward the study of hazards of EM fields; there is little funding for potential beneficial medical applications or the study of basic mechanisms of EM interactions with life processes. Also, the bulk of EM field research is administered by the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, agencies with missions unrelated to medical research. The small amount of BEM work funded by NIH thus far has addressed mostly the hazards of EM fields. In late 1993 the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences issued requests for grant application in the areas of (1) cellular effects of low-frequency EM fields and (2) effects of 60-Hz EM fields in vivo. The latter project is concerned solely with safety in power line and appliance exposures. However, the former apparently does not rule out the investigation of possible beneficial effects from low-frequency fields, although the focus is clearly on assessing previously reported effects of 60-Hz EM fields on cellular processes.
* Regulatory barriers to making new BEM devices available to practitioners are formidable. The approval process is slow and exorbitantly expensive even for conventional medical devices.
* Barriers in education include the following: (1) basic education in biological science is weak in physics, (2) undergraduate-and graduate-level programs in BEM are virtually nonexistent, and (3) multidisciplinary training is lacking in medicine and biology.
* The mainstream scientific and medical communities are basically conservative and respond to emerging disciplines, such as BEM, with reactions ranging from ignorance and apathy to open hostility. Consequently, accomplished senior researchers may not be aware of the opportunities for fruitful work in (or in collaboration with others in) BEM, while junior researchers may be reluctant to enter a field perceived by some as detrimental to career advancement.
Other key issues that need to be considered in developing a comprehensive research and development agenda for BEM include the following:
* Separate studies prepared for the Office of Technology Assessment, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency have recommended independently that research on fundamental mechanisms of EM field interactions in humans receive high priority (Bierbaum and Peters, 1991; Nair et al., 1989; U.S. EPA, 1991). Moreover, a 1985 report prepared by scientists at the Centers for Devices and Radiological Health recommended that future research on EM field interactions with living systems "be directed at exploring beneficial medical applications of EMR (electromagnetic radiation) modulation of immune responses" (Budd and Czerski, 1985).
* Elucidation of the physical mechanisms of BEM medical modalities is the single most powerful key to developing efficient and optimal clinical intervention. Even a relatively small advance beyond present knowledge of fundamental mechanisms would be of considerable practical value. In addition, progress in the development of a mechanistic explanation of the effects of alternative medicine could increase its acceptability in the eyes of mainstream medicine and science.
* BEM potentially offers a powerful new approach to understanding the neuroendocrine and immunological bases of certain major medical problems (e.g., wound healing, cancer, and AIDS). However, substantial funding and time are required to perform the basic research needed in developing this approach.
* BEM may provide a comprehensive biophysical framework grounded in fundamental science, through which many alternative medical practices can be studied. BEM offers a promising starting point for scientifically exploring various traditional alternative medical systems (Becker and Marino, 1982).
Basic Research Priorities
The most fruitful topics for future basic research investigations of BEM may include the following:
* Developing assay methods based on EM field interactions in cells (e.g., for potassium transport, calcium transport, and cytotoxicity). These assays could then be applied to existing studies of such phenomena in cellular systems.
* Developing BEM-based treatments for osteoporosis, on basis of the large body of existing work on EM bone repair and other research (e.g., Brighton et al., 1985; Cruess and Bassett, 1983; Liboff et al., 1992a; MadroZero, 1990; Magee et al., 1991; Skerry et al., 1991). NASA researchers have already expressed interest in collaborative work to develop BEM treatments for weightlessness-induced osteoporosis.
* Measuring neurobiochemical changes in the blood in response to microcurrent skin stimulation in animals or humans with different frequencies, waveforms, and carrier waves. Such measurements should be made for preclinical evaluation of neurostimulation devices.
* Furthering studies of mechanisms of EM field interactions in cells and tissues with emphasis on coherent or cooperative states and resonant phenomena in biomolecules; and on coherent brainwave states and other long-range interactions in biological systems.
* Studying the role of water as a mediator in biological interactions with emphasis on the quantum EM aspects of its conformation (i.e., "structure," as implied in some forms of homeopathy). The response of biologic water to EM fields should be studied experimentally. A novel informational capacity of water in relation to EM bioeffects may provide insights into homeopathy and healer interactions (i.e., "laying on of hands").
* Studying in detail the role of the body's internally generated (endogenous) EM fields and the body's other natural electromagnetic parameters (see the "Manual Healing Methods" chapter). Knowledge of such processes should be applied to develop novel diagnostic methods and to understand alternative medical treatments such as acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and biofield therapies. Furthermore, exploratory research on the role of the body's energy fields in relation to the role of states of consciousness in health and healing should be launched.
* Establishing a knowledge base (an intelligent database) to provide convenient access to all significant BEM work in both basic and clinical research.
* Performing systematic reviews as well as meta-analytic reviews of existing BEM studies to identify the frequency and quality of research concerning BEM as well as most promising clinical end points for BEM treatments in humans.
Just as exposure to high-energy radiation has unquestioned hazards, radiation has long been a key weapon in the fight against many types of cancers. Likewise, although there are indications that some EM fields may be hazardous, there is now increasing evidence that there are beneficial bioeffects of certain low-intensity nonthermal EM fields.
In clinical practice, BEM applications offer the possibility of more economical and more effective diagnostics and new noninvasive therapies for medical problems, including those considered intractable or recalcitrant to conventional treatments. The sizable body of recent work cited in this chapter has established the feasibility of treatments based on BEM, although the mainstream medical community is largely unaware of this work.
In biomedical research, BEM can provide a better understanding of fundamental mechanisms of communication and regulation at levels ranging from intracellular to organismic. Improved knowledge of fundamental mechanisms of EM field interactions could lead directly to major advances in diagnostic and treatment methods.
In the study of other alternative medical modalities, BEM offers a unified conceptual framework that may help explain how certain diagnostic and therapeutic techniques (e.g., acupuncture, homeopathy, certain types of ethnomedicine, and healer effects) may produce results that are difficult to understand from a more conventional viewpoint. These areas of alternative medicine are currently based entirely on empirical (i.e., experimentation and observation rather than theory) and phenomenological (i.e., the classification and description of any fact, circumstance, or experience without any attempt at explanation) approaches. Thus, their future development could be accelerated as a scientific understanding if their mechanisms of action are ascertained.
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Bioelectromagnetic Healing, its History and a Rationale for its Use by Thomas F. Valone, Integrity Research Institute
Bioelectromagnetics (BEMs) is the study of the effect of electromagnetic fields on biological systems . Though electromagnetic fields have sometimes been associated with potential for harm to the body, there are many BEM instruments and devices re-emerging in the 21st century, based on high voltage Tesla coils, that apparently bring beneficial health improvements to human organisms. The Tesla coil class of therapy devices constitute pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) that deliver broadband, wide spectrum, nonthermal photons and electrons deep into biological tissue. Electromedicine or electromagnetic healing are the terms applied to such developments in the ELF, RF, IR, visible or UV band. With short term, non-contacting exposures of several minutes at a time, such high voltage Tesla PEMF devices may represent the ideal, noninvasive therapy of the future, accompanied by a surprising lack of harmful side effects. A biophysical rationale for the benefits of BEM healing a wide variety of illnesses including cancer, proposes a correlation between a bioelectromagnetically restored transmembrane potential, and the electron transport across cell membranes by electroporation, with normal cell metabolism and immune system enhancement. The century-long historical record of these devices is also traced, revealing questionable behavior from the medical and public health institutions toward such remarkable innovations. This report also reviews the highlights of several BEM inventions but does not attempt to present an exhaustive nor comprehensive review of bioelectromagnetic healing devices.
History of Bioelectromagnetic Healing
Historically, as far back as 1890, the American Electro-Therapeutic Association conducted annual conferences on the therapeutic use of electricity and electrical devices by physicians on ailing patients. Some involved current flow through the patient, while others were electrically powered devices. At first, only direct current (DC) devices were utilized in the medical doctor’s office for relieving pain and vibrating female patients who were routinely diagnosed with "hysteria."
In 1895, the Niagara Falls Power Company opened for the first time and within a year, sent alternating current (AC) to Buffalo, NY, twenty-five miles away, thanks to Nikola Tesla AC generators. Cities throughout the world followed suit and made commercial AC power available to the general public, even miles from the power generating station. As a result, Tesla’s high voltage coil devices, which were powered by AC, started to become widely known and applied.
In 1898, Tesla published a paper that he read at the eighth annual meeting of the American Electro-Therapeutic Association in Buffalo, NY entitled, "High Frequency Oscillators for Electro-Therapeutic and Other Purposes." He states that "One of the early observed and remarkable features of the high frequency currents, and one which was chiefly of interest to the physician, was their apparent harmlessness which made it possible to pass relatively great amounts of electrical energy through the body of a person without causing pain or serious discomfort." Coils up to three feet in diameter were used for magnetically treating the body without contact, though ten to a hundred thousand volts were present "between the first and last turn." Preferably, Tesla describes using spheres of brass covered with two inches of insulating wax for contacting the patient, while unpleasant shocks were prevented. Tesla concludes correctly that bodily "tissues are condensers" in the 1898 paper, which is the basic component (dielectric) for an equivalent circuit only recently developed for the human body. In fact, the relative permittivity for tissue at any frequency from ELF (10 Hz-100 Hz) through RF (10 kHz-100 MHz) exceeds most commercially available dielectrics on the market. This unique property of the human body indicates an inherent adaptation and perhaps innate compatibility toward the presence of high voltage electric fields, probably due to the high transmembrane potential already present in cellular tissue. Tesla also indicates that the after-effect from his coil treatment "was certainly beneficial" but that an hour exposure was too strong to be used frequently. This has been found to be still true today with the Tesla coil therapy devices. On September 6, 1932, at a seminar presented by the American Congress of Physical Therapy, held in New York, Dr. Gustave Kolischer announced: "Tesla’s high-frequency electrical currents are bringing about highly beneficial results in dealing with cancer, surpassing anything that could be accomplished with ordinary surgery."
In 1922, the Russian doctor and histologist Alexander (Gurwitsch) Gurvich (1874-1954) and his wife discovered that living cells separated by quartz glass were able to communicate vital-cell information. Numerous experiments suggested that this information was transmitted by invisible light waves in a UV frequency spectrum passed by quartz and stopped by window glass. Dr. Gurvich coined the phrase "mitogenic" "mitotic" wave since it was observed during enzymatic reactions and mitosis. "Gurvich determined that muscle tissue, cornea, blood and nerves are all transmitters of this special energy." His work is the first documented evidence of "biophotons," coherent light emitted by animal and plant cells, and became the basis for the design of later bioelectromagnetic therapy devices. It was not until the early 1960’s that Leningrad State University succeeded in capturing the mitogenic rays with sensitive photomultipliers.
In 1925, Georges Lakhovsky published a paper with the explicit title of "Curing Cancer with Ultra Radio Frequencies" in Radio News. His expressed philosophy was that "the amplitude of cell oscillations must reach a certain value, in order that the organism be strong enough to repulse the destructive vibrations from certain microbes." He goes on to say, "The remedy in my opinion, is not to kill the microbes in contact with the healthy cells but to reinforce the oscillations of the cell either directly by reinforcing the radio activity of the blood or in producing on the cells a direct action by means of the proper rays." Lakhovsky’s Radio-Cellulo-Oscillator (RCO) produced low frequency ELF all the way through gigahertz radiowaves with lots of "extremely short harmonics." He favored such a wide bandwidth device so that, "The cells with very weak vibrations, when placed in the field of multiple vibrations, finds its own frequency and starts again to oscillate normally through the phenomenon of resonance." As a result, Lakhovsky’s RCO is now more often called MWO (multiple wave oscillator) for these reasons. The MWO uses a Tesla coil and special antenna with concentric rings that induce multiple sparks between them. Details can be found in his US patent #1,962,565 and the compact, portable, screw-in-lightbulb-style-vacuum-tube upgrades seen in his US patent #2,351,055. Lakhovsky’s article and patents can be found on line at: http://www.rexresearch.com/lakhov/lakhusps.htm. His book, The Secret of Life was first published in English in 1939. In 1949, a review of Lakhovsky’s work was published as Waves That Heal by Mark Clement. Besides this technical information, the life of Lakhovsky is a study in suppression and summarized below in a paper by Chris Bird:
The first man I will mention today is the Russian-born Frenchman, Georges Lakhovsky. I learned only yesterday that Lakhovsky seems to have been an associate, or knew, Nikola Tesla. I had not known that and from the point of view of the history of energy medicine, it's a very interesting thing. At any rate, Georges Lakhovsky began to experiment with what he called a "multiwave oscillator." (In the Library of Congress there are some ten books written by Lakhovsky, all in French.)
This multiwave oscillator (MWO) put out a very broad spectrum of electromagnetic frequencies. The theory, as propounded by Lakhovsky, was that each cell in the body of an organism-be it a plant, an animal, or a human being-is in itself a little radio receiver and works on its own special little frequency. Each cell, in addition to being tissue, in addition to being biology, is also electricity. On that theory, he held that pathology was a not matter of biological concern or intervention, but one of electrical concern and intervention. He theorized that from the bath of electrical frequencies put out by the multiwave oscillator, each cell individually could and would select that frequency which it most needed to restore its equilibrium.
So he began to experiment not with animals or human beings, but with geraniums. These were geraniums which had cancers-plants get cancers too. And, lo and behold, the geraniums were cured of their cancers; which simply began to fall off since they are external in the case of geraniums. The geraniums would just shed the diseased tissues when exposed to the MWO. Lakhovsky then went on to do work on animals and human beings and his work was picked up by doctors in six or seven countries, among them Italy, Sweden and Brazil. Finally, because he was on the "wanted" list of the Nazis, he was smuggled out of France and came to New York during the war, where he worked with a urologist. The record of his treatment of degenerative disease, with what amounts to an early "energy-medicine" device, was remarkable. But the work had to be done in secret because orthodox medicine did not favor this device, and its power, associated with that of the FDA and the AMA and other "control organizations," kept the MWO underground.
The Lakhovsky device is a very effective one. I'm not going to say that it's 100% effective because I don't think any device is, but it is way up there. Georges Lakhovsky died in 1944 or 1945.
Royal Raymond Rife
In 1934, the University of Southern California appointed a Special Medical Research Committee to study 16 terminal cancer patients from Pasadena County Hospital that would be treated with mitogenic impulse-wave technology, developed by Royal Raymond Rife. After four months the Medical Research Committee reported that all 16 of the formerly-terminal patients appeared cured.
Rife’s high voltage gas tube device was designed, with the aid of his unique microscope, by experimentally witnessing the effects on microbes and bacteria, finding what he believed were the particular frequencies that resonated with their destruction. "In 1938, Rife made his most public announcement. In a two-part article written by Newall Jones of the San Diego Evening Tribune (May 6 & 11), Rife said, ‘We do not wish at this time to claim that we have "cured" cancer, or any other disease, for that matter. But we can say that these waves, or this ray, as the frequencies might be called, have been shown to possess the power of devitalizing disease organisms, of "killing" them, when tuned to an exact wave length, or frequency, for each organism. This applies to the organisms both in their free state and, with certain exceptions, when they are in living tissues.’"
"He had the backing in his day - this was in the 1930’s - of such eminent people as Kendall, a professor of pathology at Northwestern University and Millbank Johnson, M.D., who was on his board, along with many other medical men, when he began to treat people with this new ‘ray emitter.’… There were articles written on the Rife technique… in the Journal for the Medical Society of California and other medical journals. Suddenly, Rife came under the glassy eye of Morris Fishbein of the AMA and things began to happen very quickly. Rife was put on trial for having invented a ‘phony’ medical cure. The trial lasted a long time."
In 1953, Rife published his cancer report in book form, History of the Development of a Successful Treatment for Cancer and Other Virus, Bacteria and Fungi. A turning point occurred in 1958, when the State of California Public Health Department conducted a hearing which ordered the testing of Rife’s Frequency Instrument. The Palo Alto Detection Lab, the Kalbfeld Lab, the UCLA Medical Lab, and the San Diego Testing Lab all participated in the evaluation procedure. "All reported that it was safe to use. Nevertheless, the AMA Board, under Dr. Malcolm Merrill, the Director of Public Health, declared it unsafe and banned it from the market."
In 1961, after a trial with an AMA doctor as the foreman of the jury, John F. Crane, the new owner of the Rife Virus Microscope Institute, spent three years in jail, ostensibly for using the Frequency Instrument on people, though no specific criminal intent had been proven. In 1965, he attempted to obtain approval from the California Board of Public Health for use of the Frequency Instrument. "On November 17, 1965, the Department of Public Health replied that Crane had not shown that the device was safe or ‘effective in use.’"
From 1968 to 1983, Dr. Livingston-Wheeler treated approximately 10,000 patients with the Rife Frequency Instrument, at her University of Southern California clinic, with an 80% success rate. In 1972, Dr. Livingston-Wheeler published Cancer: A New Breakthrough in which she "condemned the National Cancer Institute for its misuse of money [$500 million in 13 years], the corrupt handling of public health responsibilities, and its use of people [100,000 cancer patients] as guinea pigs for a ‘surgery-radiation-chemotherapy’ program dictated by special interests." Her last book on The Conquest of Cancer was published in 1984 in which she celebrates the European acceptance of the Rife discoveries but complains about the situation in the U.S.
All these distinguished scientist, back in 1958, had been carrying on significant research in the biological and immunological treatment of cancer for years. It is still only now that the United States orthodoxy is beginning to catch up. Because of the suppressive actions of the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, and the Food and Drug Administration, our people have not had the advantage of the European research.
This work has been ignored because certain powerful individuals backed by large monetary grants can become the dictators of research and suppress all work that does not promote their interests or that may present a threat to their prestige.
Rife died in 1971, mostly of a broken heart. Years later, very few investigators have Rife technology that achieves the level of success with a wide range of disease as Rife, except for Lynn Kenny of the Beam Ray Corporation.
Antoine Priore’s electromagnetic therapy machine was perfected during the 1960’s and early 70’s as a team of leading French scientists demonstrated "conclusive, total remissions of terminal tumors and infectious diseases in hundreds of laboratory animals…funded by the French Government. The approach employed very complicated mixing of multiple EM signals in a rotating plasma, and modulating the mixed output upon a very strong rippling magnetic field to which the body of the test animal was exposed. Complete remission of the treated diseases was obtained. In addition, the animals’ immune systems were also restored to normal…In the mid-70’s Priore’s work was suppressed, because of hostility of the oncology community, change of the French Government, loss of further funding, and complete inability of the physicists and biological scientists to even hypothesize a mechanism for the curative results." This last reason reminds one of the thesis by Thomas Kuhn, who argues that a radical phenomenon in science will be repeatedly treated as an anomaly until a new theory can explain it.
Chris Bird gives us an interesting insight into his life:
I will tell you about one more person-still another self-taught genius, Antoine Priore, who began working in 1944-45, right after the war, to develop an electromagnetic device which cured cancer. He got the backing of some very interesting and courageous people, including the world-famous immunologist Dr. Raymond Pautrizel, of the University of Bordeaux II, who did all the animal work.
When Dr. Pautrizel arrived on the scene, because the emotional atmosphere surrounding the cancer cure was so great, he decided to take the research in another direction and began to use the machine to treat what he knew best, which was sleeping sickness in animals. Sleeping sickness was of primary concern to Dr. Pautrizel because it is a widespread affliction in tropical countries and, perhaps because he was born and raised in Guadeloupe in the Carribbean, he had become very interested in tropical medicine. When he injected rabbits with the pathogen trypansome, which causes sleeping sickness, the trypanosome would multiply until there were billions of them circulating in the bloodstream and the rabbits would uniformly all die within 72 hours. But, when exposed to the radiation of the Priore device, these same rabbits would live. Yet their blood was still teeming with the trypanosomes, which could be extracted from the radiated rabbits and injected into other control rabbits, which would then die.
This implies that the machine was doing something electromagnetically to the immune system of the rabbits such that they were able to fight off a lethal disease which would normally kill them in 72 hours!
Had it not been for the courage of Dr. Robert Courrier, who at that time was Perpetual Secretary of the Academy of Sciences of France, in the face of great criticism, the scientific data on 20 years of that work might never have been published. Time after time, over 20 years or more, Dr. Courrier personally introduced the papers for publication in the Comptes Rendues (Proceedings) of the French Academy of Sciences. There are 28 such papers. Even this could not prevent Dr. Pautrizel from nearly being fired from his post at the University of Bordeaux II, where he finally treated human patients successfully with the Priore device.
When he wrote a paper and sent it this time to the Academy of Medicine, it was refused without explanation. Pautrizel then wrote a long letter, since made public, to the governing offices of the French Academy of Medicine to find out why the paper had been refused and which people on the jury refused it, so that he could consult with them in order to better inform them of the facts. For 3 1/2 years he received no reply.
So then he decided to step outside of normal scientific channels and offered his story to a journalist who wrote an extraordinary book called The Dossier Priore, A Second Affaire Pasteur? Because the book has not been translated from French, and may not be (because it was written for a French audience and should really be rewritten in English) it is not accessible to English readers. But I have written a 50-page paper which is a synopsis of it.
We have discussed the cases of four intrepid researchers. Of these, three had no formal academic training-Priore, Naessens and Rife-and yet they went on to develop the most extraordinary medical tools in energy medicine that I think exist. Two of them were put to trial! One was nearly fired from his position. All this is moving and largely unknown medical history and all of it affords real opportunities for further exciting research.
A pioneering medical doctor in the 1960’s, Dr. Becker is most famous for his book, The Body Electric, which gives an autobiographical account of his life’s experiences with bioelectromagnetics. Not only did he establish that the Chinese meridians of the body are skin pathways of decreased electrical resistance but he discovered a host of other bioelectric effects within the body as well, such as electrostimulating limb-regeneration in mammals. He also worked on electrically stimulating bone growth with Dr. Andrew Bassett, who along with Dr. Arthur Pilla, developed a very effective PEMF generator to stimulate bone fracture healing, now approved by the FDA with an 80% success rate. Similar PEMF signals recently have been used effectively to prevent osteoporosis even in patients with an ovariectomy.
A modern-day physicist and inventor, Dr. Abraham Liboff is the discoverer of electric-field and geomagnetic ion cyclotron resonance, which more reliably explains the resonant interaction of static magnetic fields with endogenous AC electric fields in biological systems. A physicist with Oakland University, he has introduced significant physics principles into the field of bioelectromagnetics. His "Method and Apparatus for the Treatment of Cancer" (US Patent #5,211,622) tunes an alternating magnetic field, superimposed on a static magnetic field, to maintain a combined effect that has the proper cyclotron resonance frequency so that the neoplastic tissue containing a preselected ion can be treated to bring about a decrease in the proliferation rate of the cancer cells. It also can be combined with a chemotherapeutic agent for a synergistic effect. However, it is noted in the patent disclosure that "up to 100 days of treatment will provide beneficial results."
In 1976, Bernard Ruth rediscovered evidence of a very weak but permanent photon emission from living tissue, while doing research for his doctoral dissertation. The findings of his research team led by Fritz Albert Popp, subsequently proved experimentally that biophotons exhibit multimode coherent properties akin to laser light and not merely spontaneous chemiluminescence which is chaotic. One example is the unusually high transparency of tissue to biophoton light. It is an interesting phenomenon, which coincides with "light piping" in plant tissues, by which nature apparently ensures that several centimeters of cellular cytoplasm hardly attenuate the amplitude of biophoton intensity. Experimental data of the extinction coefficient of wet sea sand and soya cells at 550 nm from a Guilford spectrophotometer, compared to biophotons emitted by cucumber seedlings passing through the same sand and soya, reveal the lowest value (a constant 0.2/mm value for E/d) for the biophotons passing through 5 cm of soya cell cultures. A well-developed biophysical hypothesis suggests that biogenic, long-distance intercellular communication implies information transmission.
The total number of biophotons emitted by normal cells, when exposed to white light, decreases, not exponentially but with a hyperbolic relaxation of photon intensity after exposure, extending up to an hour. "Under ergodic conditions, hyperbolic decay is a sufficient condition for coherent rescattering."
The emission of biophoton light by cancerous cells when exposed to white light, versus the slow decline in emission levels by healthy cells upon irradiation by white light, demonstrates a remarkable difference (see Figure 1). The HTC cell curve, representing malignant liver cells shows an exponential increase in activity with a linear cell density increase. The weakly malignant cells (H35 cells) show a slight increase, while the normal (Hepatoczytes) display a linear decrease with increasing cell density as they store the light energy. One proposed cellular communication hypothesis might correlate the experimental rate of biophoton emission vs. density with stimulating mitosis or proliferation. Normally a cellular colony would reduce such multiplication upon receiving evidence of overcrowding. Instead, cancer cells not only have no such limits, as is well-known, but the evidence suggests a tendency, as seen in Figure 1, for positive feedback, if such a correlation exists. Growth regulation through biophoton emission normally follows a nonlinear (proportional to the square of the number of cells) inhibition, confirmed by experiment, which shows a capacity for coherent superposition of biophoton modes. It is quite possible that the Rife style of Tesla devices stimulate healthful biophotons.
Description of High Voltage Tesla PEMF Devices
While there are numerous other classes of BEM devices, as seen with the Priore machine, the Liboff device, and even pain fighters, this investigation centers on the High Voltage Tesla (HVT) class of BEM therapy PEMF devices. The standard Tesla coil, with a spark gap between the capacitor and high voltage transformer, sets the standard for this class of high voltage BEM devices which are of particular interest. Up until now, the lack of biophysical knowledge surrounding their operation has impeded, in this author’s opinion, their widespread acceptance into the medical profession. They are pulsed by virtue of an intermittent high voltage conduction component, by means of a relay, switch, or simply the spark gap, sometimes with square wave characteristics.
Examples of the HVT PEMF devices are the Tesla Coil, Lakhovsky MWO, the Rife Frequency Instrument, and recently, the Natural Energy Institute’s Electronic Wind Faser (email@example.com), the Azure Therapy Device (US Patent #6,217,604), the Vibration Integration Biophotonic Energizing (VIBE) device (VIBE machine), the Tesla Photon Machine (NovaLite 3000), the Pappas Pulsed Magnetic Induction Device (MID) (US Patent #5,068,039 and #5,556,418), and the Light Beam Generator (www.LightBeamGenerator.com).
Stages and Modality of PEMF Effects
In determining the most likely biophysical reactions, this investigation begins with some bioelectromagnetic statistics. The resistivity, conductivity, dielectric constants, etc. of the human body are all known in the literature. There are many stages and possible modalities of EMF and PEMF interaction with the body. Starting from the exogenous field penetration, known interactions with cellular metabolism are examined.
Skin Depth of HVT PEMF
For example, it has been established that high frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can penetrate several centimeters into tissue, bone, and muscle. Immunological effects of in vivo RF exposure often results an improvement or stimulation when local hyperthermia is induced with continuous wave, gigahertz frequencies of approximately 100 watts per square meter intensity. However, without local hyperthermia induced, the biophysics of the effects on the tissue is less obvious. At least, it can be reasonably that HVT PEMF’s also penetrate deeply into the body. The various effects of the PEMF’s inside the body are explored below.
Negative Ion Effects
It is well-known that negative ions and traces of ozone have a wide range of health benefits, including boosting the immune system and killing germs. Since high voltage Tesla PEMF devices provide an abundance of negative ions and traces of ozone, the hypothetical neuroendocrine cell-initiated reflex arc may also apply to explain neurological benefits.
Another important aspect of the biophysical effects from HVT PEMF’s can be found in analyzing the transmembrane potential (TMP). For example, it is known that damaged or diseased cells present an abnormally low TMP about 80% lower than healthy cells. This signifies a greatly reduced metabolism and, in particular, impairment of the sodium-potassium (Na-K) pump activity and ATP production.
It is proposed that cell membranes may, in fact, rectify alternating currents since structured proteins behave like solid-state rectifiers. It is reasonable therefore to conclude, based on these biophysical principles, that any endogenous HV EMF potential of sufficient strength will theoretically stimulate the TMP, normal cell metabolism, the Na-K pump, ATP production and healing. This has already found in the literature: "TMP is proportional to the activity of this pump and thus to the rate of healing."
"Increases in the membrane potential have also been found to increase the uptake of amino acids." Healthy cells, according to Nobel prize winner Otto Warburg, have cell TMP voltages of 70 to 90 millivolts. Due to the constant stresses of modern life and a toxic environment, cell voltage tends to drop as we age or get sick. As the voltage drops, the cell is unable to maintain a healthy environment for itself. If the electrical charge of a cell drops to 50, a person may experience chronic fatigue. If the voltage drops to 15, the cell often can be cancerous. Dr. Warburg also found in 1925 that cancer cells function best in the absence of oxygen, in effect, living on fermentation rather than respiration.
Multiple Interactions with EMF
To address some of the complex modalities of interaction with electromagnetic fields, Figure 2 offers a standard set of (1) electronic excitation to a higher energy level following the absorption of electromagnetic energy in the visible or UV spectrum, which is also capable of altering chemical bonds; (2) polarization which, if the dipoles are attached to a membrane, could alter membrane permeability; (3) forces on induced dipoles cause pearl-chain formation for fields above 10 kV/m; (4) heat effects are a "ubiquitous consequence of EMFs" but independent of the details of molecular activity; (5) other processes that have sensitivities as low as one billionth of a microwatt per square centimeter (10-9 ?W/cm2). Such processes include quantum mechanical and classical processes of superconductivity, Hall effect, converse piezoelectric effect, cooperative dipole interactions, and plasma oscillations. The #5 processes are "theoretically capable of serving as the underlying physical mechanism for any known EMF-induced biological effect."
High Voltage Effects
Research has shown that simple high voltage electrostatic fields can have many effects on the human body, most of which appear to be favorable. For example, HV fields in the range of 2400 kV/m (2.4 MV/m) were found to have a beneficial effect on mice as measured by their activity, rate of liver respiration, and ability to form antibodies. In contrast, mice which were deprived of any electrostatic fields by being enclosed in a Faraday cage showed opposite results. (It is noted that the outdoor, ambient electrostatic field caused by the ionosphere to earth potential is approximately 100 V/m and rises during thunderstorms.) Not only does such research imply a correlation to immunological ability but it also implies another important aspect of BEMs: The endogenous electric field strength, within a few centimeters of bone or tissue, will usually be in the range of only 10 mV/m for an exogenous field of 1 MV/m at 10 Hz or less. (The earth-ionosphere Schumann cavity for example, resonates fundamentally around 10 Hz.) However, the endogenous voltage relationship is a decreasing logarithmic with frequency, so that an exogenous MHz range signal need only be 100 V/m to create the same 10 mV/m internally. Higher frequency EMFs thus have correspondingly higher endogenous fields. As an application example, it has been found that a temporal peak electric field magnitude of approximately 150 mV/m averaged within the medial cartilage of the knee, when stimulated by a osteoarthritis therapy, 0.12 mT coil with 260 microsecond pulses.
Pulsed electric or magnetic fields are also found to be another recourse, if it is understood that higher endogenous field strengths are desirable. Another example is a 100 kV/m electric field which has been shown to improve the synthesis of macromolecules, such as DNA or collagen (which forms connective tissue). However, if the field is interrupted at least once per second (pulse rate of 1 Hz), DNA synthesis goes up 20% higher than the previous measurement and collagen synthesis by 100%. A dependence on the field strength is also found.
It has been proposed that only one PEMF device operates close to the minimum electroporation gradient of 1 kV/cm (100 kV/m). That is the Pappas Pulsed MID which has reported success in relieving 89% of acute or chronic pelvic pain and explains that, "Electroporation is a universal, non-thermal, bioelectrochemical phenomenon relating to the rate of two-way transmigration of chemical ions through the cell membrane, defining the cell’s metabolic rate and hence energy level."
In perspective, it may be noted that HVT PEMFs such as the Azure device and those like it may not achieve the high endogenous fields for creating electroporation but most likely stimulate membrane permeation through HF effects noted below, confirming the abundance of healing anecdotal reports. Dr. Robert Adair notes that without utilizing pulsed signals, continuous (AC) RF devices need to exceed 10 mW/cm2 in order to exceed the ubiquitous endogenous noise in biological systems.
Concerns about endogenous HV safety issues have also been addressed in the literature. Recent experiments confirm that a two-minute exposure to 100 kV/m peak electric field, and a pulse duration of 1 ns "does not have an immediate detrimental effect on the cardiovascular system…" Also confirmed is that "nonthermal biohazards seem unlikely in the ultra-high frequency range" with the chief physical loss mechanism being ionic conduction and dielectric relaxation.
High Frequency Effects
When studying high voltage, especially with Tesla coils, it is also important to examine the BEM high frequency effects that are also well-known. The average specific absorption rate (SAR) for a human body for example, is measured in watts/kilogram (W/kg) and has an increasing logarithmic dependence with frequency up until 1 gigahertz (1 GHz) where it levels out at about 10 W/kg. The power absorption density for muscle per incident milliwatts per cm2 also levels out around 1 GHz. This is valuable information for analyzing HVT PEMF devices since they operate in a broadband of frequencies, often with two resonant peaks in the kilohertz or megahertz range but still generating measurable energy extending well into the GHz range. EMFs in the GHz range (1.8 GHz) have been shown to increase the permeability to sucrose of the blood-brain barrier in vitro.
Also, as noted previously, higher frequency EMFs have correspondingly higher endogenous fields. This has been dramatically confirmed with experiments on human eosinophils in vitro. When 3 - 5 pulses with electric field intensities of up to 5.3 MV/m and 60 ns (nanosecond) duration were applied to the human eosinophils, intracellular granules were modified without permanent disruption of the plasma membrane. In spite of the ultrashort electrical power levels applied to the cells, thermal effects could be neglected because of the ultrashort pulse duration. "The intracellular effects extends conventional electroporation to cellular substructures and opens the potential for new applications in apoptosis induction, gene delivery to the nucleus, or altered cell functions, depending on the electrical pulse conditions." It is noted that pulses with nanosecond periods will correspond to frequencies in the gigahertz range by a simple inverse relationship.
Demodulation of amplitude modulated radio frequency (RF) energy has been proposed as a mechanism for the biological responses to these fields. An experiment is also proposed that tests whether the electric and magnetic structures of biological cells exhibit the nonlinear responses necessary for demodulation:
A high Q cavity and very low noise amplification can be used to detect ultraweak nonlinear responses that appear as a second harmonic of a RF field incident on the sample. Nonlinear fields scattered from metabolically active biological cells grown in monolayer or suspended in medium can be distinguished from nonlinearities of the apparatus. Estimates for the theoretical signal sensitivity and analysis of system noise indicate the possibility of detecting a microwave signal at 1.8 GHz (2nd harmonic of 900 MHz) as weak as one microwave photon per cell per second. The practical limit, set by degradation of the cavity Q, is extremely low compared to the much brighter thermal background, which has its peak in the infrared at a wavelength of about 17 m and radiates 1010 infrared photons per second per cell in the narrow frequency band within 0.5% of the peak. The system can be calibrated by introduction of known quantities of nonlinear material, e.g., a Schottky diode. For an input power of 160 W at 900 MHz incident on such biological material, the apparatus is estimated to produce a robust output signal of 0.10 mV at 1.8 GHz if detected with a spectrum analyzer and a 30-dB gain low noise amplifier. The experimental threshold for detection of nonlinear interaction phenomena is 1010 below the signal produced by a Schottky diode, giving an unprecedented sensitivity to the measurement of nonlinear energy conversion processes in living tissue.
Electron Transport and Free Radicals
Quite possibly the most comprehensive and significant for general disease states including cancer, relates to the science of free radicals in the human body. Free radicals contain an odd number of electrons. An example is a methyl radical or a chlorine radical. It is known that homolytically cleaved covalent bonds break in such a way that each fragment retains one electron of the bond. Oxygen or chlorine are such examples. (Chlorine gas is readily available in small amounts within the home when anyone turns on a water faucet in a metropolitan area throughout the US, without using a charcoal filtration system.) Since molecular chlorine has a rather low bond-dissociation energy (58 kcal/mole) chlorine atom radicals may be produced by light of relatively long wavelength or heating to moderate temperatures. Once chlorine atom radicals are present in a small amount, a chain reaction commences. They can continuously react with another molecule to produce another free radical, going through 10,000 cycles before termination. Antioxidants are the most common types of "terminators" for the chain reaction caused by free radicals, since they offer an extra free electron, which the radical seeks to complete an outer shell. Many types of free radicals exist within our bodies and have been connected with the aging process, most apparent externally by the appearance of skin wrinkling. Antioxidants, donors of free electrons, are used externally to reduce wrinkles on the skin and internally to slow the aging process and halt many disease processes. Coenzyme Q-10 can function, for example, as a co-enzyme over and over again as an electron transfer agent or antioxidant.
Looking to a simple analysis of the electron transport chain found in the Krebs cycle, it produces ATP through chemiosmotic phosphorylation. It can be proposed that as the high energy electrons are transferred to ubiquinone (Q) and cytochrome c molecules, which are the electron carriers within the membrane, free radicals may interfere with the process before the electrons reach the mitochondron, thus decreasing energy metabolism. In fact, Dr. William Koch found that "polymerizing unsaturated free radicals of low molecular weight stimulated cancer development decidedly...The free radical formed thus at the other pole…continues the polymerization process that supplies the energy for uncontrolled mitosis."
It is proposed hypothetically that HVT PEMF devices offer abundant free electrons to the human body, in addition to plentiful negative ions, since they possess a unique static field modulated with a multimode pulsed electric field. Such a flood of free electrons, penetrating through permeable membranes throughout the tissues, muscles and perhaps the bones, not only halt the chain reactions in process, but also most likely force the fermentation production of ATP in the Krebs cycle back into a respiration cycle, in the presence of neoplastic, carcinogenic cells. Any cancer cells thus affected cannot tolerate the respiration cycle, as is well known, with its oxygen abundance and instead, immediately expire. The discharging of toxic residue then may become an important task, requiring only short HVT PEMF exposures and detoxifying interludes.
It has been found that light can offer a photodynamic effect on the body and entire books have been written about the specific therapeutic effects of various frequencies of visible light. Dr. John Ott conducted experiments showing that mice living under pink fluorescent light were more likely to develop cancer and reproductive problems. Dr. William Douglass states, "Photonic medicine should soon be used for diagnosis as well as therapy." Interestingly enough, regarding the HVT PEMF devices which also add Rife gas tubes to the antenna, (see Azure patent #32 in Figure 3) it has been shown that PEMF and photooxidation together yield "lethal effects on cancer cells."
In conclusion, the PEMF devices that are known to utilize a Tesla coil, for the HF and HV PEMF, include the Azure patent assigned to Healing Machines, Inc., the VIBE Machine, the Tesla Photon Machine, the Light Beam Generator, the Lakhovsky multiwave oscillator (MWO), and Natural Healing Institute’s Electronic Wind Faser. Several of these also add biophoton-stimulating high voltage gas tubes which appear to have an additional synergistic effect on the body.
For more information, this author also has an expanded version of this report as a 60-page book: Bioelectromagnetic Healing and a Rationale for Its Use, published by IRI.
1. Bioelectromagnetics Society (founded 1978), 2412 Cobblestone, Frederick MD 21702. www.bioelectromagnetics.org
2. Tesla, N (1898 ) “High Frequency Oscillators for Electro-Therapeutic and Other Purposes,” The Electrical Engineer, Vol. XXVI, No. 550, Nov. 17, p.477
3. Polk, C., and E. Postow, (1986) Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields, CRC Press, p. 58
4. Fink, D.D., (1975) “Dielectric Constant and Loss Factor for Several Dielectrics,” Electrical Engineer’s Handbook, p. 6-36
5. Manning, Clark A. and L. J. Vanrenen, Bioenergetic Medicines East and West, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1988, p. 43
6. Douglass, W. C. Into the Light-The Exciting Story of the Life-Saving Breakthrough Therapy of the Age, Second Opinion Pub., Atlanta, 1996, p. 269
7. Lakhovsky, Georges. “Curing Cancer with Ultra Radio Frequencies,” Radio News, February, 1925, p. 1282-1283.
8. Grotz, Toby, and B. Hillstead. “Frequency Analysis of the Lakhovsky Multiple Wave Oscillator from 20 Hz to 20 GHz,” Proceedings of the US Psychotronics Association Convention, Portland, OR, July, 1983
9. Bird, Christopher. “The Politics Of Science: A Background On Energy Medicine,” Energetic Processes: Interaction Between Matter, Energy & Consciousness, Volume I, Xlibris Press, Philadelphia, 2001, p. 226
10. Lynes, Barry. The Cancer Cure That Worked: Fifty Years of Suppression, Marcus Books, Queensville, Ontario, 1987, p. 103
11. Bird, p. 227
12. Rife, Royal Raymond. History of the Development of a Successful Treatment for Cancer and Other Virus, Bacteria and Fungi. Rife Virus Microscope Institute, San Diego, CA, 1953
13. Lynes, p.129
14. Ibid., p. 133
15. Ibid., p. 116
16. Ibid., p. 117
17. Livingston-Wheeler, Virginia, and E. G. Addeo, The Conquest of Cancer, Franklin Watts, 1984
18. Bearden, TE, “Vacuum Engines and Priore’s Methodology: The True Science of Energy-Medicine” Explore More, Number 10, 1995, p. 16
19. Kuhn, Thomas, (1970) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 1970, p. 78
20. Bird, p. 235
21. Becker, Robert O. The Body Electric, Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life, William Morrow & Co., New York, 1985
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24. Liboff, A.R. “Geomagnetic Cyclotron Resonance in Living Cells” Journal of Biological Physics, V. 13, 1985
25. Ruth, Bernard. “Experimenteller Nachweis ultrawacher Photonemission aus biologischen Systemen” Dissertation, University of Marburg, 1977
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27. Popp, F.A. “Principles of quantum biology as demonstrated by ultraweak photon emission from living cells” International Journal of Fusion Energy, V. 1, No. 4, October, 1985, p. 9
28. Rubik, Beverly, “Natural Light from Organisms” Life at the Edge of Science. Institute for Frontier Sciences, 1996, p. 123 and
Fischer, Helmut. “Photons as transmitters for intra- and intercellular biological and biochemical communication - the construction of a hypothesis” Electromagnetic Bio-Information, F. A. Popp, ed., Urban & Schwarzenberg, Munic, 1989, p. 193
29. Popp. (1992), p.259
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33. Ibid., p. 398 (adapted from US EPA, Biological Effects of RF Radiation, Elder and Cahill, 1984)
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36. Ceve, G. “Membrane Electrostatics,” Biochim Biophys Acta, 103(3):311-82, 1990 Medline 91027827
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Complementary Medicine Global Markets
o The Centre for the Study of Complimentary Medicine
- 10-20 % of people visit a complementary medicine practitioner
- £1.5 bill to £5 bill pa on CAM
o The Centre for the Study of Complimentary Medicine
- $30 billion pa
o LOHAS -Alternative healthcare
- US Market $30.7 billion
o World Health Organisation -May 2003- Traditional Medicine
- In China, traditional herbal preparations account for 30%-50% of the total medicinal consumption.
- In Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Zambia, the first line of treatment for 60% of children with high fever resulting from malaria is the use of herbal medicines at home.
- WHO estimates that in several African countries traditional birth attendants assist in the majority of births.
- In Europe, North America and other industrialized regions, over 50% of the population have used complementary or alternative medicine at least once.
- In San Francisco, London and South Africa, 75% of people living with HIV/AIDS use TM/CAM.
- 70% of the population in Canada have used complementary medicine at least once.
- In Germany, 90% of the population have used a natural remedy at some point in their life.
- Between 1995 and 2000, the number of doctors who had undergone special training in natural remedy medicine had almost doubled to 10 800.
- In the United States, 158 million of the adult population use complementary medicines
- According to the USA Commission for Alternative and Complementary medicines, US $17 billion was spent on traditional remedies in 2000.
- In the United Kingdom, annual expenditure on alternative medicine is US$ 230 million.
- The global market for herbal medicines currently stands at over US $ 60 billion annually and is growing steadily.
o bbc.co.uk Health 19/5/06 – Herbal Medicine Awareness Week
- UK spend around £126 million on herbal medicines
- WHO – estimate that the world market for herbal medicines is worth £41 billion
o BBC News 2004/11/04 – People Want Alternative Therapy
- Britons spend £130m a year on alternative therapies such as acupuncture and reflexology and that is expected to rise by £70m over the next four years