All this could be considered fascinating but, so what? Why should this be important? Since the early 1800s, scientists and doctors have experimented with magnets for their possible therapeutic benefits. When medicine became standardized, this kind of research was stopped. Recently, however, it has begun again. The findings of these more modern researches have vindicated the earlier beliefs that magnetism can help people heal in certain situations. One therapy is called “PEMF,” pulsed electromagnetic field therapy.

One example of PEMF should suffice to explain its benefits. Occasionally, when someone suffers a broken bone, the bone doesn’t heal. The break may remain for years or even decades. Somehow something has gone wrong with the repair mechanism in the body. The information needed to heal the fracture is not getting to the tissues responsible for fixing the break. In these cases today, a doctor is likely to recommend a small battery-powered magnetic field generator be placed around the broken bone. An oscillating magnetic field is applied for eight to ten hours every day. Clinical tests have shown that even for broken bones that have remained unhealed for forty years, the bones can be repaired with this technique.

The frequency of the magnetic field applied to a broken bone is seven Hz. This healing frequency is called the “frequency window of specificity” (FWS). Sisken and Walker in 1995 reported that various FWS’s affect different tissues.

Frequency     Effects
2 HzNerve regeneration
7 HzBone growth
10 HzLigament repair
15~20 HzSkin repair
25 & 50 HzAssistance with nerve growth

While Zimmerman’s investigations of the magnetic fields emitted by touch therapists did not prove that healing was occurring, he did discover that the therapists were emitting magnetic fields, which spanned the same frequencies that other scientists discovered stimulated healing. Future studies are required to prove that healing touch can actually heal, but these results have pointed to a promising area of investigation.

Electrical activity in the body, beyond that which is found flowing through the nerves, has been found to be responsible for many of the body’s functions. The mechanism by which cells lay down or reabsorb supporting materials (collagen) in bone and connective tissues is understood. Electric fields generated during movement signal cells [1] to lay down collagen, and thereby strengthen the tissues. With less loading or movement, the electric fields are weaker and less frequent and other cells reabsorb collagen. The other cells that are responsible for reabsorbing materials do not do this if an electric field is present.

The proof that electrical and magnetic fields affect and help the body is indisputable. Perhaps certain frequencies can even harm the body. [2] A question now arises what does this mean for our models of the way the body works?

A Hypothesis for Further Study

A hypothetical model, which could be tested through rigorous scientific study, is that illness is caused by a blockage of information flow, while health is maintained by the proper flow of information. When the required information is not provided to an injured or sick area of the body, the body’s own resources are not mobilized to respond or the body responds ineffectually or even inappropriately. [3] Alternative healing modalities such as yoga, Tai Chi, massage, energy manipulation therapies, and many others could be ways of injecting the missing information through very weak, low frequency electromagnetic field generation. Just as the cell phone was required to start the oven in our original metaphor, a small amount of electromagnetic information may be all that is required to stimulate healing. If this is possible, how could this energy flow within the body? Let’s complete the construction of a possible model by looking more closely, at the cellular level, at how this information may be transmitted.

  1. — Fibroblasts in connective tissues, osteoblasts in bone.
  2. — We will address that question at the end of this chapter.
  3. — Cancer could be considered an inappropriate response