Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) has been actively researched since many years and has been found to be effective in reducing symptoms such as fatigue and pain. Let us learn how PEMF therapy benefits multiple sclerosis based on clinical research.
The prevalence of MS which is a neurological disorder is growing according to a study processed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (United States). Multiple sclerosis is considered to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system which results in chronic inflammation and neuro-degeneration. Painful lesions occur at different times and on different locations of the CNS. MS can get progressively worse resulting in complications such as increased risk of infections as the immune system gets progressively suppressed.
As per the Genetics Home Reference, degradation of the HLA-DRB1 and IL-7 (inflammatory cytokine) genes are some of the risk factors for developing multiple sclerosis. There is also increased expression of IL-8 in MS cases as per Department of Neurology, University of Southern California1, also earlier confirmed by scientists from Czechia2.
A preliminary study by scientists from Iran, found that geomagnetic disturbances which are most prevalent in areas around 60 degree latitude can be an environmental risk factor for MS. 3
We know, that magnetic fields certainly affect our neurology, with PEMF and magnetic field therapy, we try to stimulate a positive outcome by reversing cellular and neuronal damage. As evident, inflammatory cytokines play a dominant role in development on disc degeneration disorders including MS. Promoting tissue regeneration by modulating the immune system has long been a strategy applied by orthomolecular orthopaedists to improve the quality of life of MS patients.4
PEMF therapy has a cellular regenerative and anti-inflammatory effect, therefore is a natural choice of investigation for clinical application, with added benefits of being a safe, non-invasive and drug-free approach. Let us review how PEMF therapy benefits multiple sclerosis as per published research.
Clinical trials and research on PEMF for MS
PEMF treatment has been studied on both, the genetic level as well as in clinical trials that is relevant to MS. There are dozens of such studies which demonstrate the effectiveness of PEMF for MS.
In 2018, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery published a study that demonstrated that PEMF treatment could be used as a potential therapy to protect from high inflammatory cytokine environment due to its inhibitory effects on IL-6 transcription. 5
In 1998, Dr. Sandyk, who is one of the pioneers of research on PEMF in Unites States found that PEMF is a favorable treatment option for MS and explained the mechanism by which PEMFs improve symptoms of MS. In one study, he observed that the irregular yawning and stretching behavior in MS patients reduced with PEMF application due to it’s hormone regulating effects. 6
Going further in to Dr. Sandyk’s research on PEMF for multiple sclerosis, we find that he discovered resolution of sleep paralysis7, reduction in fatigue8 and that treatment with electromagnetic therapy reverses the chronic progressive MS9.
In 1996, scientists from Denmark published a double-blind placebo-controlled study of magnetic stimulation on spasticity (muscle tightness) in 38 patients with multiple sclerosis. They applied PEMF to the brain for 7 days in 14 short sessions and found that it has an antispastic effect in MS.10
In 2003, the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine journal published a RCT that studied more than 100 MS patients. They applied PEMF treatment for 4 weeks and found that it improved fatigue and overall quality of life of MS patients.11
In 2008, scientists from Italy tested the effects of 5 Hz magnetic brain stimulation in MS subjects. They found that it improved hand dexterity, this implies improvement in motor control.12
In 1990, scientists from Universität Rostock (Germany) studied PEMF treatment in MS patients and found that it improves immunity, i.e., reduces infections by regulating phadocytic activity.13
In most cases, in-depth PEMF research conducted by PEMF experts is able to demonstrate benefits. The research on the geomagnetic connection to MS is also quite interesting for us, as it also shows the biomagnetic nature of our physiology.
Therefore, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy should certainly investigated further, with larger clinical trials, for its effectiveness on one of the most painful chronic conditions, multiple sclerosis (MS).
- 1.Matejčíková Z, Mareš J, Sládková V, et al. Cerebrospinal fluid and serum levels of interleukin-8 in patients with multiple sclerosis and its correlation with Q-albumin. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2017;14:12-15. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2017.03.007
- 2.Lund B, Ashikian N, Ta H, et al. Increased CXCL8 (IL-8) expression in Multiple Sclerosis. J Neuroimmunol. 2004;155(1-2):161-171. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroim.2004.06.008
- 3.Sajedi S, Abdollahi F. Geomagnetic disturbances may be environmental risk factor for multiple sclerosis: an ecological study of 111 locations in 24 countries. BMC Neurol. 2012;12:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-100
- 4.Julier Z, Park A, Briquez P, Martino M. Promoting tissue regeneration by modulating the immune system. Acta Biomater. 2017;53:13-28. doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2017.01.056
- 5.Tang X, Alliston T, Coughlin D, et al. Dynamic imaging demonstrates that pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) suppress IL-6 transcription in bovine nucleus pulposus cells. J Orthop Res. 2018;36(2):778-787. doi:10.1002/jor.23713
- 6.Sandyk R. Yawning and stretching–a behavioral syndrome associated with transcranial application of electromagnetic fields in multiple sclerosis. Int J Neurosci. 1998;95(1-2):107-113. doi:10.3109/00207459809000654
- 7.Sandyk R. Resolution of sleep paralysis by weak electromagnetic fields in a patient with multiple sclerosis. Int J Neurosci. 1997;90(3-4):145-157. doi:10.3109/00207459709000634
- 8.Sandyk R. Treatment with weak electromagnetic fields improves fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis. Int J Neurosci. 1996;84(1-4):177-186. doi:10.3109/00207459608987263
- 9.Sandyk R. Treatment with electromagnetic fields reverses the long-term clinical course of a patient with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. Int J Neurosci. 1997;90(3-4):177-185. doi:10.3109/00207459709000637
- 10.Nielsen J, Sinkjaer T, Jakobsen J. Treatment of spasticity with repetitive magnetic stimulation; a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Mult Scler. 1996;2(5):227-232. doi:10.1177/135245859600200503
- 11.Lappin M, Lawrie F, Richards T, Kramer E. Effects of a pulsed electromagnetic therapy on multiple sclerosis fatigue and quality of life: a double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003;9(4):38-48. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12868251
- 12.Koch G, Rossi S, Prosperetti C, et al. Improvement of hand dexterity following motor cortex rTMS in multiple sclerosis patients with cerebellar impairment. Mult Scler. 2008;14(7):995-998. doi:10.1177/1352458508088710
- 13.Mix E, Jenssen H, Lehmitz R, et al. [Effect of pulsating electromagnetic field therapy on cell volume and phagocytosis activity in multiple sclerosis and migraine]. Psychiatr Neurol Med Psychol (Leipz). 1990;42(8):457-466. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2247525