Elite Athletes Swear by These Extreme Treatments. Scientists Think They Could Boost Your Health, Too.
Cutting-edge sports-performance therapies using infrared light, electromagnetic pulses and cold potentially have longer-term benefits, researchers say
Excerpt including comments from the AOPP’s advisor, Dr. Joseph Toy.
Much like the earth, our bodies are electromagnetic, and our brains use electromagnetic signals to communicate with the body. Electromagnetic fields from sources like electronics hit our bodies all day and, at high frequencies, can be damaging, says Arany of the University at Buffalo. In contrast, bursts of low-level electromagnetic radiation in a therapy known as pulsed electromagnetic field, or PEMF, trigger a biologic response that recharges cells when they start to lose energy from stress or fatigue, he says.
The idea is that low-frequency pulses pass through the skin and penetrate into cell membranes to induce genetic changes and even protein synthesis, Arany says. At around 5 to 30 Hertz, the PEMF frequency mimics the body’s natural bio-field. “Essentially it’s forwarding our brain a message to kick-start the body’s healing process,” he says.
Most PEMF gadgets sold for home use, like mats and chairs, start at around $1,000 and are marketed as ways to reduce inflammation or relieve pain, in conditions like arthritis. These devices have also become a staple at Upgrade Labs and Restore Hyper Wellness, two chains of centers in the U.S. that offer treatments aimed at enhancing performance. Magneceutical Health says its Magnesphere Halo, a $13,000 chair surrounded by large copper coils that create a uniform magnetic field around the body, can help reduce stress by resetting the nervous system.
Magneceutical Health’s Magnesphere Halo for PEMF therapy PHOTO: MAGNECEUTICAL HEALTH
PEMF is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for conditions including bone healing, wound care, migraine headaches with aura and clinical depression, though it often isn’t covered by health insurance. PEMF, combined with medication, can help alleviate effects of chronic arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions, says Joseph Toy, clinical director of Cliniques Neuro-Vie Santé, a neurostimulation center in Montreal, Canada, where doctors can also prescribe the treatment.
He warns, however, that everyone reacts differently to PEMF. For the best results, it needs to be prescribed at a specific frequency and wavelength over a certain timeline. And the magnetic fields of most home products, he cautions, aren’t intense enough to penetrate the body to yield major benefits.
Dave Asprey, founder of Upgrade Labs, believes people will one day use PEMF as part of their daily routine to reduce stress, predicting the technology could be built into bedroom walls or even wireless routers.