The therapy with pulsating magnetic fields (PEMF) 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 in the medical branch and utilized for accelerated therapeutic purposes.
The use of PEMF is a very efficient and simple therapy method. By influencing the animal either generally or locally with a magnetic field packed in impulse bundles. the cellular functions can be improved considerably. The pulsating magnetic field has a high biological effectiveness, which is being used in the medical field as a means of therapy as well as in the area of diagnostics. Today we have two basic magnetic therapies, the direct one with a magnetic field that serves as a medium for the inductive production of a current in a special implant.
Magnetic fields cannot be absorbed, they can only be shielded against shunting them into strong ferromagnetic materials. Therefore, it is difficult to produce field-free spaces when magnetic fields strike a material. We differentiate between so-called paramagnetic substances in which a bundling or a concentration of magnetic field lines occur, and the so-called diamagnetic substances, in which a decentralization of the field lines results. Air is neutral.
The animal's body is only insignificantly diamagnetic and paramagnetic; basically, it is neutral. So whenever field lines impact on the animal organism or on parts of it, they absolutely permeate these areas. Compared to known methods this is the first important discovery. Within the range of magnetic fields, all parts of the body are penetrated completely by the field lines.
It is known that the human and animal organism consists of a large number of cells. These cells are functioning electrically. If there is no electrical potential left in the cell, it is no longer viable. These cells have a basic (or rest) potential that is necessary for normal cellular metabolism.
Diseased or damaged cells have an altered rest potential. If the ions (electrically charged particles surrounding the cells) move into the area of pulsating magnetic fields, they will be influenced by the rhythm of the pulsation. The rest potential of the cell is proportional to the ion exchange occurring at the cell membrane.
The ion exchange is also responsible for the oxygen utilization of the cell. Pulsating magnetic fields can dramatically influence the ion exchange at the cellular level and thereby greatly improve the oxygen utilization of diseased or damaged tissues. The deterioration of the oxygen utilization is known to be a problem in several medical branches, especially delayed healing and arthritis of joints. Thus the wide range of indications are:
1. Orthopedics, traumatology, rheumatology, after-treatment of complicated and simple fractures, wound treatment, burns, and degenerative diseases of the apparatus of support and locomotion.
2. Coronary and circulatory diseases;
3. Disorders of the neurological system.
From bibliography and clinical experiments, we know that pulsating magnetic fields are able to reduce pain sensations almost immediately. This is due in part to the increase in the oxygen partial pressure in the terminal tissue and the increase in the local perfusion and velocity of the capillary blood flow alleviating the accumulation of metabolites due to small vascularization and blood flow (transmitted by the sympathetic nervous system).
The above mentions the wide area of indications but says nothing of contraindications and side effects. There are no absolute contraindications to magnetic therapy except in cases of haemorrhage or where electrical implants already are in use. In contrast to chemical medicaments, there is no over-dosage, at least within the field range that we are presently using for treatments. Magnetic field powers of maximum 100 gauss are far less than field powers that have negative biological effects.
The PEMF therapy is an absolutely heat-less therapy method, not a heat producing method, not a heat producing therapy. Therefore, all implants (except heart pacemakers) can be treated. Our hospital has used PEMF therapy to accelerate the healing of those horses needing pins and bone plates. No damaging heat will be produced in the implants. Furthermore, all implants are antimagnetic. The treatment of fractures can also be applied with a plaster cast because, as mentioned before, magnetic fields permeate all materials. The therapeutic effect of such treatments lasts for approximately six to eight hours. This shows that the majority of all cases at the beginning of a series of treatments daily. Only after five to 10 days can the treatment regime be reduced to one treatment daily or every other day. In very chronic or extremely difficult cases, this treatment may be longer. The wide experience concerning the application of this therapy implies that an alternate solution has been found in accelerating the healing time of many of our common injuries affecting our running horses, as well as possible therapy for those patients who have been resistant to other therapies and those patients injured by the side effects of other therapies.
Drs. James E. Bullock and Kevin J. May of Bullock's Veterinary Hospital
Experience with Pulsating ElectroMagnetic Fields (PEMF) in horse therapy.
(Translated from German)
Experience, over a 3-year period treating 290 sport horses with PEMF, justifies the statement that PEMF therapy for horses is a real alternative therapy instead of conventional therapy modalities like corticosteroids, phenylbutazone and other drugs.
Compared to experience in human medicine, therapy in horses require shorter treatment intervals. Specifically the good therapy results obtained for diseases of extremities open up ways for additional PEMF indications.
Xenophon (2400 years ago) already wrote in one of his works "About the art of horse riding" specific information as how to avoid diseases and injuries at the joints by means of different therapies, to decrease suffering. In German literature we find in the 13th century in Albert Ross' pharmaceutical book a precise description of various horse diseases and their treatments.
The development of horses, used for all kind of purposes, to real sport horses were and still are, not without problems for the DVM. Nowadays our sport horses are too early- and to short trained to obtain results for which they are not yet ready, based on their bodies and conditions. This results in various forms of damages dependent on the different uses of horses. Horses are often treated for chronic diseases with various drugs and often training has to be discontinued for weeks or even months. The results of PEMF therapy in veterinary use are objective and can not be any form of placebo effect. Also it was not clear how this form of therapy could be explained according to biophysical therapy methods and only new published works of Altmann and Warnke explained this further.
Due to difficulties of using coil applicators for horses special leg-wraps were developed which can be applied without problems at the horse leg, so therapy can be easily done in a short time frame.
PEMF is used for the following diseases:
Degenerative diseases, acute and chronic inflammations of sheaths and tendons, ligament ruptures, distortions, contusions, chronic joint diseases, delayed wound- healing, diseases of back and lumbar regions.
For acute therapy we start out with values of 20-30 Gauss and 5 Hz. Chronic cases with 50 Gauss, 10 Hz and go up in intensity over a 4-5 day therapy period.
Treatment time for daily therapy is at least 15 minutes and for twice daily therapy at least 10 minutes each. In case of infected diseases PEMF therapy should be combined with antibiotics. Young horses (up to around 10 years) respond extremely well to PEMF therapy. E.g. a large amount of horses who were treated for arthrosis of phalanges and tarsus, are very successful at various forms of sports without any further treatment. For elderly horses with severe joint and ligament diseases it was partly necessary to have some additional therapy sessions after around 6 months.
Many older jumping horses (12-18 years) were treated with phenylbutazone were healed without further need for drugs. Compared to data of human clinical studies it was noticed that horses needed less therapy sessions to obtain results. E.g. for acute inflammations 8 - 10 treatments and for chronic joint diseases, around 12 - 20 treatments. In cases of light to moderate paralysis exercises should be done from day one in combination with therapy. This will prevent significantly set-back in training compared to conventional therapy.
H. Focke DVM, published in "Der Praktische Tierarzt" in Germany.
Evaluation of treatment with a pulsed electromagnetic field on wound healing, clinicopathologic variables, and central nervous system activity of dogs.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate effects of treatment with a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) on healing of open and sutured wounds, clinicopathologic variables, and CNS activity of dogs. ANIMALS: 12 adult female Beagles. PROCEDURE: Open and sutured wounds were created in the skin of the trunk of the dogs. Dogs were divided into 2 groups. One group received PEMF treatment and 1 group served as untreated (control) dogs. The PEMF-treated dogs received treatment twice a day starting the day before surgery and lasting through day 21 after surgery. Wounds were evaluated by use of tensiometry, planimetry, laser Doppler perfusion imaging, and histologic examination. Clinicopathologic variables and electroencephalographic tracings were also evaluated. RESULTS: Use of PEMF treatment resulted in significantly enhanced epithelialization of open wounds 10 and 15 days after surgery. Five days after surgery, wounds of control dogs had a negative value for wound contraction, whereas PEMF-treated wounds had a positive value. The PEMF treatment did not cause significant changes in short-term
planimetric, perfusion, tensiometric, histologic, clinicopathologic, or electroencephalographic results. CONCLUSIONS: The PEMF treatment enhanced wound epithelialization in open cutaneous wounds and provided indications of early contraction without significant short-term changes in other variables.
Scardino M. et.al. College of Vet Medicine, Auburn University, Am J Vet Res
The Black Stallion's broken leg treated with PEMF Therapy
"Diamond Night" better known as The Black Stallion broke his leg in several places and most veterinarians would have put him to sleep. Dr. Bullock, saved his life with a daring surgery and used Pulsating Electro Magnetic Field Therapy which completely healed his leg in record time.
When a horse breaks a leg, the usual treatment is termination. But when that horse is a well trained movie star, a few more doors are open. Diamond Night, one of three horses who played the title role in the film The Black Stallion, was given new life through the fast action of his trainer, Corky Randall and Dr. James E. Bullock. This five-year-old Arabian stallion was training on Tuesday, June 29 for an upcoming movie. According to trainers, he went up into the air and came down again, losing his footing and continuing to fall onto his right shoulder. They heard a loud crack resembling a rifle shot. When Diamond Night stood up his left front leg was dangling. The Black stallion's trainer immediately called his veterinarian Bullock's veterinary hospital in Newhall, CA.
"When I arrived, he (Diamond Night) was standing in a round pen where he had been training," said Dr. Bullock. "X-rays revealed that the leg was shattered at the distal section - a transverse fracture at the distal aspect and numerous pieces at the proximal aspect. The ulna was broken - a transverse fracture through the ulna."
After examining the x-rays, Dr. Bullock decided to go ahead and do the surgery.
"We knew a bone plate wouldn't work," he said. "The horse had not made any type of the compound fracture through the skin, so we still had a chance as far as infection goes. We stabilized the horse and put a temporary support splint and cast on him and spun the horse up so that he wouldn't put any weight on the leg."
This particular spot couldn't be cast because the fracture was about three inches below the elbow, explained Dr. Bullock. He said in order to cast it, one would have to place a joint below the fracture. In this case, he said it would merely act as a fulcrum and that different breaks would usually occur after that.
"This is why this type of fracture is rarely attempted," he said. "Also, most horses will not tolerate a sling. Diamond Night is an extremely intelligent horse and did very well in a sling. He used it to rest in and when he was not tired, he stood. We anticipated he would be in a sling for a minimum of six weeks."
Dr. Bullock spent all Tuesday night with the owner of a machine shop trying to design the type of apparatus they would need to accomplish the surgery. Assembly of the equipment started at 7:30 Wednesday morning and at 3 o'clock that afternoon, surgery began. The stallion was down for 5 1/2 hours plus a recovery of 2 1/2 hours.
"We applied a Kirschner apparatus to the radius to stabilize the fracture," he said. "This may have been done before, but it hadn't been published, so we didn't have a lot to go on."
"For the first two days he had the support cast. After that, we just left it open."
On Friday, Dr. Bullock started the PEMF therapy. He explained that Diamond Night got two, 30 minute sessions per day. He slid a coil up over the fracture. The magnetic field surrounding the fracture is increased, along with circulation and oxygenation.
"PEMF therapy increases oxygenation of the tissue and increases ionic exchange of the bone which potentiates healing." said Dr. Bullock. "The horse has no feeling or sensation of the therapy. But the pain goes away and the fracture can heal. PEMF therapy reduced the time the horse had to spend in a sling."
Arrangements were also made with a certified welder to develop a walker for Diamond Night. Dr. Bullock said they walked him while he was still in a sling to prevent problems occurring with the other legs and muscles and subsequent pneumonia. As of July 22nd, X-rays showed the bones healing and that Diamond Night was doing very well.
Evaluation of PEMF on horses.
he influence of pulsed low-frequency electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) on bone formation was investigated in studies of the healing process of transcortical holes, bored at the diaphyseal region of metacarpal bones of six adult horses, exposed for 30 days to PEMFs (28 G peak amplitude, 1.3 ms rise time, and 75 Hz repetition rate). A pair of Helmholtz coils, continuously powered by a pulse generator, was applied for 30 days to the left metacarpal bone, through which two holes, of equal diameter and depth, had been bored at the diaphyseal region. Two equal holes, bored at the same level in the right metacarpal and surrounded by an inactive pair of Helmholtz coils, were used as controls. All horses were given an intravenous injection of 25-30 mg/kg of tetracycline chloride on the 15th and again on the 25th day after the operation and were killed 5 days later. The histomorphometric analysis indicated that both the amount of bone formed during 30 days and the mineral apposition rate during 10 days (deduced from the interval between the two tetracycline labels) were significantly greater (p < 0.01 and p < 0.0001, respectively) in the PEMF-treated holes than in the controls. As did a previous investigation, these preliminary findings indicate that PEMFs at low frequency not only stimulate bone repair but also seem to improve the osteogenic phase of the healing process, at least in our experimental conditions.
Institute of Human Anatomy, University of Modena, Italy.