|Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy (PEMF)||Electrostimulation (NMES / TENS)|
Therapeutic LASER therapy helps to reduce pain / inflammation and assists in wound healing.
This is achieved due to stimulation of cell mitochondrial activity, increased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) / specific enzymes, growth factors, and formation of anti-bodies.
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy
PEMF (colloquially known as 'pulse-mag') is extensively used in both conservative and post-operative canine physiotherapy treatments.
It seems two factors influence this (i) they are simple to use (ii) animals have high metabolic rates and therefore tend to respond exceptionally well to PEMF treatment.
Advantages of PEMF include
- Ease of use (no gel, clipping or exact knowledge of muscle anatomy is required)
- Can be used at home by the animals owner
- Speeds up the healing process
- Limited side effects
Originally used to aid repair of bone (particularly non-union fractures), today PEMF is extensively used in canine treatments to:
- Reduce inflammation(1)
- Ease the discomfort of osteoarthritis(2)
- Aid in nerve regeneration(3)
- Drug-free pain reduction(4)
As well as being used in post-operative care, dogs also benefit with symptoms such as muscle strains, stiff joints in the older dog and patients with degenerative disk diseases.
Note: A refundable deposit is required to hire this unit. See our terms and conditions.
What is PEMF?
Pulsed therapy promotes tissue repair by subjecting the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons to controlled electromagnetic fields. Working at a deep level it induces electrical charges around tissue cells. This improves the local blood supply / oxygen pressure thus stimulating repair.
How does pulsed electromagnetic therapy work?
Healthy cells have a resting membrane potential of around – 70mV. In a damaged cell, this potential is raised, with a corresponding increase of sodium ion inflow. This results in swelling and an excessive build-up of fluid in body tissue.
PEMF causes a redistribution of ions across the cell membrane, thus modifying resting membrane potential and certain cellular metabolic processes, especially those active during inflammation. Additionally PEMF therapy helps to promote the binding of receptor proteins on the surface of nerve cells, which facilitates their regeneration.
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy requires regular access to a unit as the real benefits are seen with frequent treatments. Typically this would be 2 / 3 sessions per day, each session lasting some 10 minutes.
To fulfill the treatment schedule, the owner does have the option to either lease or purchase a unit.
Although PEMF has limited contra-indications it should not be used in the following circumstances:
- If there is a chance of infection as it provides bacteria with the perfect growth conditions
- Consideration of best settings if new bone is being laid down
- Do not use when pregnant
- Do not use if there is a pacemaker installed
Compared to static magnetic therapy?
Magnetic therapy in dogs, used in items such as magnetic dog collars have many disadvantages when compared to PEMF namely:
- Unlike PEMF, Magnetic dog collars (or coats etc.) do not influence at a cellular level.
- The penetration depth of static magnetic therapy is superficial, even a 16000 gauss magnetic only shows 10 gauss at 2cm distance and virtually nothing at 10 cm. Pulsed electromagnetic fields pass through the whole body.
- To be effective in static magnetic therapy the magnet must be moved all the time, this means extensive treatment periods for items such as magnetic dog collars. PEMF is applied in short treatment sessions.
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is an easy to administer and proven technology for treating many common canine medical issues. The therapy works at a deep, cellular level to speed up the healing process. Acute conditions normally require 10 minute sessions 2 / 3 a day, less for chronic or maintenance treatments. For this reason owning or hiring a unit makes sense to administer home treatments.
The PEMF system a one-off purchase that can be used to both maintain your dog in top condition as well as treat a variety of bone and soft tissue injuries. There are no ‘refills’ or consumables and will last for many, many years. When calculated over its lifetime, PEMF units return an exceptional value per times it is used.
Electrostimulation (NMES & TENS) are extensively used in both conservative and post-operative animal physiotherapy treatments. Today it is prinicipally recommended to provide:
- Drug-free pain reduction(5)
- Strengthening of muscle (6)
- Anti-inflammatory, particularly for joints (7)
- Reduces scar tissue (8)
At SmartPaws we recommend the PT-2010 (Animal) NMES system as it designed to deliver the optimum voltage and pulse duration recommended for animal treatments. Additionally it features ‘comb’ type electrodes, specifically designed for direct skin contact without the need for hair clipping.
- The unit is pre-programmed and therefore can be used at home by the animals owner
- Ease of use, no coat clipping is required
- Helps to speed up the healing process
- Helps control chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis
What is Electrostimulation?
Electrostimulation (which includes both NMES and TENS) is the application of low intensity, pulsed current which delivers a flow of ions into tissue. This initiates chemical changes at the electrode / tissue junction. The primary difference between the 2 is the frequency employed.
- NMES typically operates at 2 - 50 Hz.
- These frequencies are optimised to provide oedema (inflammation) / scar tissue reduction and muscle strengthening.
- The higher frequency range is useful in patients that have suffered nerve damage, as NMES can induce direct muscle contractions.
- These therapeutic benefits are coupled with ‘acupuncture’ type pain control.
- TENS (typically operates at +100 Hz)
- It provides pain relief by stimulating sensory nerves. This encourages the animals own pain-gate mechanism and opioid systems to function.
How does Electrostimulation work?
Healthy cells have a resting membrane potential of around – 70mV. Electrostimulation changes this potential, disturbing the cell membrane and stimulating the nerves and muscle fibres. The effects are:
- Modification of pain perception
- Muscle contraction
- Tissue growth
- Increase in cell metabolism
Electrostimulation therapy requires regular access to a unit as the real benefits are seen with frequent treatments. To fulfill the treatment schedule, the owner does have the option to either lease or purchase a unit.
Actual treatment times will be based on each individual animal and condition. As a guide line:
- Pain reduction – 5 – 15 minutes duration with 1 hour intervals
- Muscle strengthening – Up to 10 minutes, 2 – 3 sessions / day
- Oedema reduction – Up to 15 minutes daily
Although electrostimulation has limited contra-indications it should not be used in the following circumstances:
- Care must be taken to introduce therapy slowly to avoid stressing the muscle
- Muscle strains should be settled before treatment
- Occasionally animals will object to the sensation of the electrostimulation
- Do not use when pregnant or if there is a pacemaker installed
Compared to PEMF?
Electrostimulation and PEMF (Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy) deliver similar benefits. The primary differences being that electrostimulation:
- Initiates a muscle contraction and therefore provides muscle strengthening (particularly where the animal cannot use the limb / joint voluntarily).
- Requires (i) some knowledge of the dog’s anatomy to understand the optimum positioning of the electrodes (ii) monitoring during treatment to adjust the intensity to suit the animal (this information is provided if hiring a unit).
Electrostimulation works at a cellular level and can speed up the healing process. It is a proven technology for treating many common canine medical issues, such as pain reduction, muscle strengthening and reducing chronic inflammation. Generally these require several treatment sessions a day and for this reason owning or hiring a unit makes sense to administer home treatments. The PT2010 electrostimulation is an excellent modality to hire and the pre-programmed device provides this drug-free pain / inflammatory relief and muscle strengthening.
Want more information on purchasing or hiring a unit? Contact us.
(1) Goats, G. 1989 Pulsed electromagnetic (short-wave) energy therapy
(2) Ganesan, K. Chandrapuram, A. Balachandran, c. Bhakthavatsalam, M. (2009), Low frequency pulsed electromagnetic field—a viable alternative therapy for arthritis. Article in Indian journal of experimental biology 47(12):939-48 · December 2009 Department of Biotechnology, Central Leather Research Institute, Adyar, Chennai 600 020, India.Source: PubMed
(3) F.M. Longo & T. Yang, Electromagnetic fields influence NGF activity and levels following sciatic nerve transection (J. Neurosci Res 55( 2): 230-7, 1999)
(4) Meyers, B. A. (2013-08-19). PEMF—The Fifth Element of Health: Learn Why Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy Supercharges Your Health Like Nothing Else! (p. 120). BalboaPress. Kindle Edition.
(5) Watson, T. (2013) TRANSCUTANEOUS ELECTRICAL NERVE STIMULATION (TENS)
(6) Hanks, J. Levine, D. Bockstahler, B (2015) Physical Agent Modalities in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation of Small Animals, Vet Clin Small Anim 45 (2015) 29–44 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cvsm.2014.09.002
(7) Hahm, T, S. The Effect of 2 Hz and 100 Hz Electrical Stimulation of Acupoint on Ankle Sprain in Rats. J Korean Med Sci. 2007 Apr; 22(2): 347–351.Published online 2007 Apr 30. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2007.22.2.347 PMCID: PMC2693606
(8) Kitchen, S & Bazin, S (1998) Clayton’s Electrotherapy 10th Edition, Saunders Company, London, UK