PEMF Contraindications

“By Dr. William Pawluk”

Despite magnetic therapy’s generally recognized safety, account must be taken of some possible actions which should be considered in using this therapy. While few of these PEMF contraindications are serious, they must be anticipated and users alerted to them happening.

Standard contraindications or precautions include:

Pregnancy – while toxicity studies with MRI machines show no significant concerns with workers, little research has been done in this area and safety is not conclusively established.

Pacemakers, implanted pain modulators, insulin delivery systems or defibrillators – because they have battery systems. While generally shielded now, magnetic field exposure directly over devices may shut them off. It may be advisable to have your magnetic therapy system checked in the doctor’s office to see if there is interference. This is most likely to happen with strong permanent magnets or very strong PEMF systems.

Myasthenia gravis – muscle weakness may be aggravated, making autoimmune cause temporarily worse; however, patients report improvement in muscle strength using PEMFs.

Conditions with active bleeding (especially into the gut) – since platelet aggregation is reduced, bleeding may not clot readily. Any source of bleeding should preferably be controlled before using PEMFs.

Hyperthyroidism, adrenal gland, hypothalamic and hypophyseal/pituitary dysfunctions – PEMFs may over-stimulate these organs if used excessively at high intensities, potentially aggravating glandular function.

Active tuberculosis, acute viral diseases – white blood count responses may be temporarily dampened, resulting in brief flares. It is important to initiate appropriate medical care first before relying on PEMFs for primary treatment.

Malignancies (even in remission) – because of the controversies with frequency fields from power lines, even though current evidence suggests no probable causal relationship to health problems with therapeutic low-frequency PEMFs, caution should be exercised; little work has been done in this area. PEMFs should not be relied upon as primary treatment, but may be considered as a complementary therapy.

Pychoses – PEMFs may produce unpredictable results, and in combination with medications may cause significant reductions in blood pressure.

Relative Contraindications

Neurological diseases with seizures—using pulsed or sinusoidal EMF’s (with regard to applicator localization) have a theoretical potential to initiate seizures if waves or pulses are timed to a seizure-focus frequency. Problems appear to be rare but caution should be exercised at least initially.

Severe systemic mycotic diseases – inflammation may show temporary aggravation due to inflammatory system effects

Severe organic atherosclerosis – blood pressure effects may be significant, with hypotension.

Excessive menstruation, if the pelvis is to be treated – magnetic fields may increase flow further.

Special attention:

More cautious approaches should be used in patients with hypotension, or predisposition to it, as well as patients with severe or accelerated hypertension since sudden significant blood pressure decreases may occur, causing vertigo, fainting, etc. This reaction usually disappears within 30 minutes after the exposure, and typically after a few exposures, adaptation begins.

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