Influence of (pulsed) electromagnetic fields on "microcirculation"?

I have recently come across to what looks like a classic homeopathic scam, namely the pulsed EM field miracle treatment as advertised by a German-based company called Bemer. As a soft-matter/biological physicist I am extremely sceptical about the influence of EM fields on blood circulation. In fact, on physical grounds I can only think of adverse effects, not miraculous healing as advertised by Bemer.

It's a simple fact that by wrapping electric wire around you gives a much stronger effect than the Bemer equipment, so what's the evidence that the Bemer device is superior? Except for the cost...


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  • Deleted
    Good Afternnon,

    I have been working on induced Fields effects on micro-channels filled with molecules ( and an effective distribution of polarities). The final effects in terms of microfluidics is that you drastically modify at the same time the medium and the nature of local compounds ( which you can observe via a Doppler shift camera as a typical illustration in real time experiment ). The origin of surch survey deals with drug deliveries and how a target can be aimed and reached with a minimum volume at the right location. Obviously, if effective, it remains extremely rare and under specific conditions ( like distance, local PH, hyperconjugaison, inductive effects......). Just a remark in terms of EM fields and gradients, for a local EM field of a few mVolts, using a thin probe leads to a local of magnification reaching 0.05 Volt/Angstr. ; so no need to say that you are clearly reaching the limit of a metal cohesion by comparison. But there still a few surveys on such options, essentially with nanoscale transport applied to bio-compounds.

    Best Reagrds,
  • Bruce Klitzman · Duke University
    For many decades, if not longer, there has been interest in electromagnetic field effects on healing of cutaneous wounds as well as bone. Much of the evidence is anecdotal, but there are a few positive findings that are scientifically credible. There are some rigorous studies, however, that show no effect. That conclusion is that there is probably some minimal benefit if administered a certain way, but it is not widely accepted.
  • Raj Mani · University of Southampton
    Dr Raj Mani, University of Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

    The knowns: there is a skin battery in mammals. A wound (cut/abrasion/surgical incision and so on) disrupts this battery. Augmenting the natural battery is known to improve healing about which a great deal is known in animals e.g. reptilian regeneration of limbs.

    In children with finger tip injuries it was observed that healing was accelerated in the presence of an external electric field compared with control - this is in the UK medical literature. The influence of electric fields on cellular direction has been exquisitely demonstrated . Google Ming Zhou who is currently based in UCLA, Davis.

    The Unknowns: In adults with chronic wounds, superimposing electric fields helps healing of pressure ulcers though the effects on other types of wounds is less impressive. What electrode configuration is good/useless/current dosage/placement.

    Again, electric coils are sometimes used to promote non union of bones - the theoretical background is better understood in this case. Google: Heppenstall, Bruce.

    Having said this, it used to be said that snake oil was a cure for a myriad of conditions!

    To Dr Picornell - would be interested in a reference to the work you mentioned. EM fields have the potential (the pun is unintended) to open pathways for antibiotics to work on biofilms.
  • Deleted
    It has been published in the mid-90's, later on, at Cambridge University ( Dept. of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory ) using low current detection down to a few attoamperes ( which by the way allowed to a significant recognition on the electrical activities and damages on tissues ). But in more public annoucements, treating people with various ocular blood pressures and consequences on the thermography of the external corneal surface.
    I mentionned " public / open publications " as this domain deals with nano-implantation facilities, and acquisition via Data mining for assessing on sub-cutaneous substances analysis. This subject is of course widely open as data mining is rather a new set of methods.....but promising !!!
  • Tapio Ala-Nissila · Aalto University
    Thanks to everybody for interesting comments. My own recent (theory) work has dealt with ionic (charged) liquids in nanoscale slits; however, I have not considered time-dependent fields. Based on what is known about such systems, I find it hard (but not impossible) to think of any beneficial effects that even large fields could have in blood flow.

    The point here is that Bemer claims that by just lying down on their mattress, where there's apparently a (small) pulsed EM field, cures almost all possible deceases based on "enhanced microcirculation". As expected, they don't explain in detail how (and why!) their equipment works. According to my estimate, they must be using very low frequencies (much less than GHz) and low power, because of the known damage that microwaves cause to biological systems. While low-frequency fields penetrate biological matter easily, they also have a negligible effect on cells and other biological material - otherwise we'd all be killed by all the EM fields that surround us nowdays :).

    Any comments about the Bemer equipment? They have removed a critical comment I posted on their facebook page, and sent me email where they claim that they have scientific support for their claims. I'm eagerly awaiting the publications they promised to send me, since they cannot be found on their web pages :).
  • Deleted
    I am not a specialist but I can suggest that there is a possibility of indirect influences. Maybe EM field can have an influence on the viscosity of the blood. Or maybe EM fields can have a relaxation effect on the vessels (by an action on the neurones).
    Some months ago, I heared a promising technique to fight against cancers. it uses electical currents to enhance the action of the drugs. it an electrochemical therapy.
  • Carlota Saldanha · University of Lisbon
    I am not an expertise in the field of electromagnetic applications. Looking from theory we can admit that the blood flow can change in dependence of vasomotion properties. All membranes are charged with potencial energy changes between internal and external sides.May nitric oxide production can be enhanced in patients with
    vascular pathology derived from or not metabolic origin.
  • Mostafa Soliman · King Fahad Medical City
    I have undergone researches on the effects of electromagnetic fields on different tissues ( brain neurons neuroglia micro-vessels subcellullar ultra-structure).
    An evident damage to those structures was evident especially with prolonged exposure. and high frequencies
  • Mostafa Soliman · King Fahad Medical City
    please revise proceedings of the second clinical anatomists association in Prague 2010 AACAA
  • Tapio Ala-Nissila · Aalto University
    Hi Mustafa! This sounds very interesting - can you quantify what tresholds (power/frequencies) are needed for creating damage? I'd be happy to receive any publications that you have in this topic.
  • Deleted
    Just a remark, but I guess terms of medical applications, the frequencies are narrowed within very specific windows, and inducing activities, enhancing some receptors or at the opposite ! The power is regulated by the skin depth expected and the frequency (ies) not too high of course as you want to act on large scale areas, so under 100 Hz......
  • Deleted
    Dr. Picornell it's right that the frequency should be tuned to get the desired skin depth. in conductive media, more the frequency is low more the waves can penetrate.
    To work at very low frequencies with a considerable power, we need some special antennas. but for a such application, I think inductive coils are more suitable. The equipement to realize for this purpose is maybe expensive.
  • Deleted
    Absolutely, the starting budget may looks a bit high but considering all the options and areas concerned, also interfacing with applications on the market, you can get a reasonable business plan and funds for at least 3 years ( suitable, 5 years ).
  • Prof. Ravi Sharma · Central Drug Research Institute
    @Tapio Ala-Nissila. I am not an EM expert, but with my experience I am to tell you some thing. Well, I have realised that all the religions, Hindu in particular have sacred places of worship. Like in Hindu religion there are a number of places of PILGRIMAGE, which are associated with legendary events. I HAVE FELT THAT THESE ARE THE PLACES TO ELEVATE A PARTICULAR MOOD/STATE OF MIND/BRAIN FUNCTIONING...... Like meditation at Banaras Ghat (in India) gives you perfect meditation (a unique feeling (BLISS) to be felt individually) in less time than other non-pligrimage places. To me perhaps the reason could be that magnetic flux at those sacred places of worship is to its maximum. May be Iron contents in blood/ haemoglobin in RBC helps in orientation/flow/etc quickly. You do not need any equipment, it's natural and harmless. Try your self similar effect at nearby places of worship/pligrimage.
  • Deleted
    Ravi there is also the placebo effect. it is not well undertood but it helps. for example when an ill person believes strongly in a treatemnent, it can help him to win against his illness even if it's a biological one (for example cancer).
    for some cases of persons under placebo, more the treatement is expensive more they believe, then a chance to heal. the treatement is not really expensive but you need to make them believe that it's a serious and expensive treatement. what a good affair for physicians! :)
  • Deleted
    Saqib, I think there is a misunderstanding. I don't reject possible positive uses of EMF in medecine. The risk of damage by prolonged exposures and high frequencies is real, so it's wise to take care indeed. It's a reason that interested people have to know what are the power, the frequencies and the exposure time to the EMF that can be used.
    For my post just above, I said "good affair" and I apologize. It was just for humor. Don't take it seriously.
  • Tapio Ala-Nissila · Aalto University
    Saqib, you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works. It's not the skeptics who have to prove themselves, but it's the ones that claim new phenomena. If somebody claims that "Earth is flat because it looks like that to me" you ought to be skeptical, unless they provide scientifically acceptable evidence.

    Concerning the present discussion there's well-established scientific evidence on the harmful effects of EM radiation on biological systems, but very little (if any) proof of beneficial effects. However, I'm currently checking out the literature and consulting experts, so I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I still suggest that instead of paying 3000+ $(?) for the Bemer equipment you just wrap ordinary electric wire around you when e.g. watching the TV. I claim that the effect is even stronger than with Bemer, and I also claim that you'll notice no difference (unless your wire is faulty in which case you'll die) :).
  • Tapio Ala-Nissila · Aalto University
    Saqib, it's not about "beliefs" but about science. And yes, I am a theoretical condensed matter physicist by education and that's why we understand exactly why and how EM radiation is *harmful* to biological systems in general (or has virtually no effect). But since I'm a professional scientist, I'm willing to accept any new ideas that are backed up by proper scientific evidence - I have the impression that you're not willing to do this.
  • Tapio Ala-Nissila · Aalto University
    Btw, there's a very good (and scientifically correct) summary of why (permanent) magnets don't have any health effects at: There are also numerous scientific studies published in peer-reviewed, high-quality medical journals showing that magnets have no health effects and in particular, no influence on blood circulation. Pulsed EM fields are still under scrutiny and I'll keep you posted on my findings.
  • Tapio Ala-Nissila · Aalto University
    Dear Saqib, there's no "negation" involved in the influence of (static) EM fields on health. There's enough scientific evidence to show that there's no effect. Period. This is fully backed up by our understanding of the relevant physics, too. The few "publications" claiming otherwise have been discredited. If you don't accept scientific facts you may as well believe that the Earth is flat.

    Your statement that "DNA emits EM frequencies" makes no sense. All biological systems interact strongly through time-dependent EM fields, stemming from the charges present in DNA and biological solvents. This can be modeled by modern theoretical and computational methods, which you are clearly not aware of. Any external EM fields are likely to only *adversely* perturb their function, or have virtually no effect (lucky for us!).
  • Tapio Ala-Nissila · Aalto University
    I see the problem, but I would have never thought that you'd admit this publicly :). Good luck with your search and I hope that some day you'll be able to accept facts as they are.
  • Tapio Ala-Nissila · Aalto University
    Update on the Bemer scam: with two colleagues from Medicine we have done a comprehensive analysis of the operating principle behind the Bemer equipment and the "publications" claiming to observe positive health effects. We are currently in the process of writing a report, which shows beyond any doubt that the Bemer equipment does not and cannot have any positive health effects. Thus, selling such equipment and claiming healing effects is fraudulent and criminal.

    I will post the report when it's ready to be published.
  • Pao Yen · University of California, Berkeley
    All the good effects from this Bemer thing look exactly like the health benefits of doing taichi (at the old speed before 1956 and I’ll call it old taichi now now on). What I can say is that without raising heart rates and breathing deeper, no one can send sufficient oxygenated blood to all body cells for healing (i.e. production of normal cells to replace mutated cells) unless you are as fit as a healthy 20 year old (with immaculate microcirculation). If pulsed EM field can rectify microcirculation problems (e.g. to fully open up pre-capillary sphincters), it does raise some concerns that it could be the source of causing these problems.

    To recap my hypothesis on Taichi Healing and Pao’s Law of Exercise which was published here recently, I have explained that all types of healing ,i.e. from old taichi and yoga to red wine and green tea, are all using at least the first 3 of the 4 basic requirements (which are, 1. deep breathing or oxygen mask, 2. Not moving or moving very slowly, 3. moderate heart rate increase, and 4. continuous leg movements) to improve microcirculation. Old taichi, which is possible to meet all 4 requirements, can send blood to all capillary beds (from head to toes) including those which are partially blocked.

    Lastly, if someone can modify this Bemer machine so that it can increase heart rate moderately (e.g. by giving small electrostatic shock pulses or physical shocks), that may work like a healing machine for ICU patients with oxygen masks. For able persons, I guess that sipping green tea or red wine (and sitting comfortably and doing deep breathing at the same time) will be more enjoyable if not cheaper. Doing old taichi (at very slow speed for 30 minutes a day) is still the best method because it won’t cause you any money nor take up too much time, definitely will last longer than your pensions and social welfares..........this is a small joke.
  • Start off with reading the relevant publications of the International Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). They have published good scientific reports on interactions between electromagnetic fields and the human body (including the optical range). Website with publications:
  • Carlos Sosa · University of Antioquia

    Why don´t you take a look at the Bioinitiative Report ( You obviously don´t have the academic credentials or the clinical expertise to talk about the subject.

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