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  • Jones Chiropractic

What are Electromagnetic Fields?

Updated: 4 days ago

People have been using electromagnetic fields (EMFs) for healing since ancient times (as early as 4,000 B.C.E), even though they didn't fully understand how they worked. Over the years, there have been small improvements in how we understand electricity and magnets. But it wasn't until the early 1900s that doctors started using electromagnetic treatments in medicine.


Nowadays, there's a lot of evidence showing that these treatments can really help people, especially when they use strong pulses of EMFs called pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF). Scientists are always making new and better systems for this, like using magnets to stimulate the brain (called transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS).


In the United States, it's easier for companies to make new advancements in PEMF technologies because the FDA has changed its rules. Under current FDA guidelines, PEMF systems are allowed to be marketed for wellness management without FDA approval.

The Science of the Electromagnetic Field

Everything around us is made up of tiny charged particles that create forces in the space around them. These forces are what we call electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which are one of the fundamental forces of nature.


When we're talking about charged particles, they can be positive (like protons) or negative (like electrons), and they interact with each other based on their charges. If they're the same charge, they repel each other, and if they're different, they attract. These interactions can also create magnetic fields.


Electric fields come from charges that are either stuck in place (like on an object) or moving because of magnetic fields. When electric and magnetic fields mix, they create something called an electromagnetic field (EMF).


So, whenever there are electric charges, there are magnetic fields around them. For example, when electric charges flow through something like a wire, they create a magnetic field around them. And the strength of this magnetic field depends on how strong the electric charges are flowing through.

When electric and magnetic fields mix, they create something called an electromagnetic field (EMF).

Electromagnetic Induction

Even though magnetic fields come from electric charges, they don't have any charge themselves.


Magnetic fields can push and pull electric charges, which creates or induces current. This basic law of electromagnetism, described by Faraday's Law of Induction, explains how magnetic fields interact with electrical charges. This process is called electromagnetic induction. The stronger the magnetic field, the more current it can induce. So, when PEMFs are applied to the body, they cause currents to flow in tissues. Scientists call this inductively coupled electrical stimulation, or I.C.E.S. for short. This applies to all PEMFs.


Magnetic fields can be either still (static) or changing over time (pulsed). Time-varying magnetic fields are produced by moving or alternating current (AC) electricity and have both intensity and frequency.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are created when electric current flows through a wire. Even if the wire is covered, the electromagnetic field can still pass through the covering material and affect the body. However, the current itself doesn't touch the body in this case; only the magnetic field does.


Electric fields or current that aren't shielded can come into direct contact with the body and are sometimes used in therapy, like with a TENS unit for pain relief or a cardiac defibrillator to reset the heart. Electric charges are also used in medicine to remove warts or cauterize blood vessels.


References

  1. Pawluk, W., MD & Layne, C. J. (2017). Power Tools for Health: How Pulsed Magnetic Fields (PEMFs) Help You. FriesenPress.

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