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5 Practical Benefits of Frequency-Specific PEMF Therapy Offered at Tucson Neurotherapy

Updated: Jun 8

At Tucson Neurotherapy, we frequently combine tailored pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMFs) alongside neurofeedback and other neuromodulation tools. While each therapy is effective in isolation, we find that their applied combination—in addition to appropriate nutritional support—dramatically enhances treatment response.   

The technology on which PEMF therapy is based on has been around for millennia. Magnets have been used as healing tools since the time of Homer and in ancient China. And in the 21st century—as the purely allopathic approach to healing frequently fails to effectively address chronic disease—there has been a resurgence of interest in the potential of PEMF therapy. However, unlike millennia ago, we now have definite tools to study and measure the efficacy of PEMF therapy. This progress is reflected in the multitude of recently-published research supporting the clinical use of PEMF. 

The application of PEMF—both what is known about it and what is not-yet-known—is vast. At Tucson Neurotherapy, we're above all else interested in how PEMF helps alleviate brain-based disorders. As with neurotherapy itself, not all PEMF therapy is as equally effective. We've worked to enhance treatment response by first investing in a high-intensity PEMF device and then programming it with a multitude of frequency-specific treatments designed to create different effects. 

We could write a book on PEMF therapy, but for simplicity's sake, we'll stick with 5 big ways PEMF therapy can help you.

(1) PEMF therapy helps alleviate pain.

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There are many causes and types of pain, but at the most basic, cellular level, the experience of pain involves a system of intracellular communication. Recent research into understanding how applied PEMF interacts with this system of cell-to-cell communication has given us insight into how and why PEMF therapy is so effective. 

A molecule known as adenosine—the same constituent molecule of adenosine triphosphate or ATP—plays a critical role in both cellular energy production and pain perception in the body. Simply put, when a cell is damaged or stressed, intracellular concentrations of adenosine increase dramatically. In the extracellular space, adenosine functions as an alarm molecule by interacting with specific receptor sites on neighboring cells. Activation of these adenosine-specific receptors initiate a cascade of responses—from swelling, inflammation, and the perception of pain—aimed at restoring cellular homeostasis. Over time, if that homeostasis is not restored, that inflammation and pain becomes chronic.

There are four receptor-subtypes that interact with adenosine: A1, A2A, A2B, A3. The A2A receptor subtype is particularly important because of the role it plays in chronic inflammation AND its responsiveness to PEMF stimulation. Research has found that PEMF works to stimulate A2A receptor types, increasing adenosine receptors and thus enhancing adenosine's functional efficiency, resulting in a stronger reduction in pain than pain-relieving drugs. Put another way, PEMF stimulation is anti-inflammatory because it enhances the efficiency of the pain response and it works without the need for pharmaceutical interventions and the concomitant side effects. 

In our practice at Tucson Neurotherapy, the high-intensity, targeted PEMF stimulation equipment we employ has provided dramatic pain-relieving effects for our clients. And because PEMF application stimulates changes at the cellular level, clients have reported that the benefits received from working with this type of therapy persist long after the sessions conclude.  

(2) PEMF therapy stimulates blood and lymph flow.   

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Recent research has revealed that PEMF therapy increases both macrocirculation in large blood vessels and microcirculation in tiny capillary beds. This is accomplished both through vascular dilation and a decrease of arterial calcium content. Because calcium is the main constituent of arterial plaque, decreasing the amount of calcium in the blood supply decreases the level of arterial hardening, resulting in a more pliable, efficient vascular system.

In short, PEMF stimulation makes blood transport more efficient, enabling blood to both deliver nutrients and eliminate cellular waste more effectively. This is significant in the context of neurotherapy because, as DeRidder (2014) discussed, neuromodulation involves targeted changes in brain structure and functional connectivity. Put another way, the process of neurotherapy involves restructuring of the brain's neural pathways in accordance with individual goals, such as better-quality sleep or increased ability to focus. This restructuring, often in the form of new axonal growth, requires a massive amount of oxygen and other nutrients—nutrients which are most effectively delivered through PEMF-stimulated blood flow.

And because PEMF therapy enhances blood flow, it may even enhance the efficacy of delivering supplementation to the brain, thus allowing your brain to take full advantage of the nutrition consumed.

We at Tucson Neurotherapy have incorporated these findings into our clinical practice. While we use PEMF for brain entrainment alongside our other tools, PEMF is especially equipped to address vascular migraines, vascular dementia, and Parkinson's disorder. 

(3) PEMF therapy reduces stress response.

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Just as there are several physiological responses to stress and anxiety, PEMF therapy addresses these responses from multiple angles. One of the most helpful applications of PEMF in relation to the body's stress response is its ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the branch of the autonomic nervous system that controls one's ability to enter into a calm, restful state. At any point in time, either the sympathetic or the parasympathetic nervous system dominates and—in the modern, faced-paced context in which most of us exist—it is the sympathetic system that prevails.

Over time, this chronic fast-paced reality impedes one's ability to switch back to a parasympathetic state of calm and relaxation. 

The vagus nerve is the main structural component of the parasympathetic nervous system. Within the last decade, there has been a revolution of understanding in how intimately the vagus nerve is tied to the body's physiologic response to trauma. A dysregulated vagus nerve may affect everything from intestinal functioning, to anxiety, to the ability to fall asleep.

In our practice at Tucson Neurotherapy, we have seen many people experiencing symptoms associated with dysregulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.  Similarly, if the QEEG confirms the presence of this type of dysregulation and PEMF is used alongside other neuromodulation tools, many of these same people experience significant symptom relief, enabling them to reduce anxiety and obtain deep, quality sleep. 

(4) PEMF therapy enhances cognitive functioning, focus, and concentration. 

Many of our clients complain of persistent brain fog and difficulty performing cognitively-challenging tasks. Through the use of the QEEG brain map, which allows our clinicians to examine patterns of individual brainwave activity, we can often get a clearer picture of how this cognitive sluggishness manifests for them.  For example, excess slow waves in the left frontal lobe can manifest as difficulty with performing mental calculations and logical problem solving.  In another example, excess slow waves in the area bordering the left temporal and occipital lobe may manifest as impairment in reading comprehension.

While interpretation of the presence of excess slow waves must be taken in context of the full QEEG analysis, frequency-specific PEMF therapy has demonstrated the ability to entrain the brain. Put another way, the brain replicates the frequency given to it by the PEMF device. This means that in areas where the brain is generating excess slow waves, PEMF therapy can entrain the brain to generate faster waves. These faster waves may thus manifest as increased mental clarity and enhanced cognitive processing.

 When used in this way, PEMF therapy is especially helpful when used alongside the other neuromodulation techniques we employ at our clinic, such as tACS, photobiomodulation, and pink noise stimulation. 

(5) PEMF enhances endocrine system functioning and facilitates waste elimination. 

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In addition to dilating blood vessels, PEMF therapy also dilates lymphatic vessels. This is significant because of the central role the lymph system plays in the elimination of bodily wastes, such as the byproducts of cellular breakdown, foreign pathogens, neurotransmitters, and steroid hormones.

Lymph is ubiquitous in the body, bathing every cell in the constantly-cycling fluid of the extracellular matrix. And most importantly in the context of neurotherapy, lymph fluid connects to cerebral spinal fluid (the liquid the bathes and cushions the brain and spinal cord) through a structure known as the cribriform plate located at the base of the skull.

Because of this continuity, the health of the lymph system is intimately connected to brain health.  If the body is experiencing toxic overload—due to anything from disease to compromised intestinal function—lymph movement may become congested. And if lymph movement is congested, the body may be slow or inefficient at eliminating waste products.   This compromised elimination system may affect everything from the efficacy of the immune system to the presence of hormonal imbalances. 

One example among many of how compromised lymph flow may play out is in the context of glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones produced by the adrenal glands through direction of the hypothalamus in response to acute stress. In many cases, glucocorticoids are an adaptive mechanism that enable individuals to better manage stressful situations, such as the need to run away from impending danger. But after the imminent danger has passed—and the individual has successfully run away from whatever threat—if the body's system of elimination is compromised, then those glucocorticoids may continue to cycle throughout the body. In the short term, the presence of glucocorticoids is helpful because they enable an effective physiological response to stress. However, in the long term, their continued presence may contribute to anything from compromised immunity to the development of obesity.  Put another way, living in a state of chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health in a multitude of ways!

Research has demonstrated the crucial role effective PEMF therapy plays in maintaining the body's elimination system. In one example, a study found that PEMF stimulation of the hypothalamus enhanced the body's ability to eliminate glucocorticoids through urine. In another, PEMF stimulation of the kidneys and adrenal glands accomplished this same feat.

The chronic cycling and recycling of glucocorticoids is but one example of how a compromised elimination system can go haywire; there are perhaps countless other examples. As we have said before, recent years have seen an explosion of interest in researching the ramification of PEMF therapy in all bodily systems. At Tucson Neurotherapy, we're excited to apply this research in our clinic through the work we do with our clients.  If you're interested in learning more about we can help you, please reach out to us for a free phone consultation. 

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