Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy has been investigated in human medicine over 40 years. PEMF is the application of a magnetic field to the cell which sends a weak signal that can influence the interaction of cellular ions and the nutrient flow to the cell. Improved blood supply and a better exchange of nutrients can speed healing as well as reduce inflammation.
Like many of the treatments used in companion animal rehabilitation, PEMF has been used extensively in the performance horse world. PEMF horse blankets are used post-workout to speed recovery or post-injury to aid in healing.
This is an evolving field of study, with one recent study showing a reduction in incisional pain post back surgery. There was some evidence that it may also reduce spinal cord injury and enhance a dog’s awareness of where its feet are, which is called “proprioception.”
PEMF therapy is approved for use in humans in the US for treatment of fractures that do not heal normally (so called “non-union fractures”). In other countries, PEMF has been investigated for use in other chronic bone diseases in humans such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
During acupuncture, laser, or ultrasound treatments, patients are encouraged to recline on a PEMF bed. This bed produces a magnetic field large enough that it can also be slipped under a favourite dog or cat bed. While receiving treatment, patients often relax or even fall asleep.