Many people throughout the world experience lower back pain. Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy may help keep this pain under control. It may also provide other benefits.

This article looks at PEMF therapy, provides a list of PEMF devices, and explains when to see a doctor. It also answers some frequently asked questions.

Quick links

Best for infrared heating: Healthy Wave Pro Multi-Wave 5 Therapy Far Infrared PEMF Mat
Best frequency range: Sentient Element Classic
Best portable: MiraMate Mini Magic Portable PEMF Device
Best for sleep: EarthPulse V5.3 Pro PEMF Therapy Device
Best for targeted pain relief: Omnipemf NeoRhythm

What is a PEMF therapy device?

About 1.71 billion people in the world have musculoskeletal disorders, with the most common being lower back pain.

A PEMF therapy device applies magnetic energy waves to a person’s body. Experts believe that the waves influence the behavior of cells by provoking electrical shifts around and within them.

In addition to relieving pain, PEMF therapy may have many other benefits, including:

  • inflammation reduction
  • blood circulation improvement
  • muscle repair
  • sleep promotion
  • bone repair

Who might benefit from a PEMF therapy device?

PEMF therapy may benefit anybody living with chronic pain.

One 2020 systematic review states that PEMF therapy successfully reduced pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis, improving physical ability. However, the authors call for further research to establish the long-term effects of the treatment on a person’s quality of life.  

A 2016 study reports that PEMF therapy had benefits for people with lower back pain. However, the authors note that further research is necessary to confirm its effects on specific conditions that affect the lower back.

Additionally, a 2020 study in rats found that PEMF therapy at specific frequencies also benefits wound healing and bone reparation.

How to choose

A few factors that a person may wish to consider when purchasing a PEMF device include:

  • Intensity: The intensity a person needs depends on the condition for which they are using the device. Individuals with severe conditions, intense chronic pain, and serious injuries should ensure that they have a device with higher intensity. Lower pulses may require a person to use the machine more frequently.  
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval: A person may wish to purchase products that have FDA approval to ensure that they are using a safe and effective device.
  • Machine size: Some machines are large and bulky, whereas others may be smaller and easier to transport. PEMF machines may come in the form of a machine or a mat.
  • Medical condition: Some machines target different areas of the body. A person should ensure that the machine they choose is appropriate for the condition they would like to treat.

Pros and cons of PEMF therapy

PEMF therapy devices have some pros and cons, including:

Pros

  • they may suit those with osteoarthritis (OA)
  • some devices come with a travel pouch for easy transportation
  • some devices are small and may suit children
  • most companies offer a trial, return, or guarantee. This means that those disatisfied with their PEMF therapy device can return it for a refund

Cons

  • not all companies deliver outside the US
  • extra charges may apply for international deliveries
  • PEMF therapy devices can be expensive, as some cost more than $2,000
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Product list

Below, we look at some PEMF therapy devices for a person to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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Best for infrared heating: Healthy Wave Pro Multi-Wave 5 Therapy Far Infrared PEMF Mat

This mat allows a person to adjust the wave type, frequency, pulse duration, and intensity, so it can adapt to most people’s needs. It also contains copper PEMF coils, infrared lights, and crystals. The company claims that all the materials are nontoxic.

The device has 10 preprogrammed 20-minute settings and two 1-hour settings. Individuals can also use customized programs.

It also comes with five intensity levels: 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%.

It is suitable for use on flat surfaces only, and a person can sleep on it if they wish.

It can also be a good option for those with back, knee, or hip pain.

Other features that the product comes with include:

  • a weight of 26 pounds (lbs)
  • dimensions:
    • length: 74 inches (in)
    • width: 28 in
    • thickness: 1.5 in
  • a 90-day trial satisfaction guarantee

Pros

  • suitable to sleep on
  • has a 90-day trial
  • comes with customized programs
  • has FDA approval

Cons

  • works on flat surfaces only
  • expensive
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The Healthy Wave Pro Multi-Wave 5 Therapy Far Infrared PEMF Mat is FDA-registered and available to purchase for about $2,495.

Best frequency range: Sentient Element Classic

This dual coil device is portable and comes in a carry-on case with a pull handle and wheels. The company claims that this product’s 2,500-watt amplifier gives it a higher power than all other similar products on the market.

The company also states that the dual coil system provides a wide treatment area and is suitable for any condition. For example, a person can use this device if they have inflammation and pain or want to improve their blood circulation.

It also claims to have thousands of programs available.

A person can set any frequency using their smartphone, tablet, or laptop and control it during their program.

Additional features include overheating and magnetic field detection.

Also, other features include:

  • a weight of 30 lbs for the chassis or base
  • dimensions of chassis:
    • width: 10-5/8 in
    • height: 8-3/8 in
    • depth: 15-1/2 in
  • a weight of 10 lbs for the coil
  • dimensions of oval coil:
    • 10.75 x 11.25 in
  • a lifetime warranty

Pros

  • option to control frequency
  • has lifetime warranty
  • can detect when there is overheating
  • has a carry-on case for traveling
  • compatible with all waveforms

Cons

  • high price tag
  • up to 10 days waiting time for delivery
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The Sentient Element device is available to purchase online for $4,550.

Best portable: MiraMate Mini Magic Portable PEMF Device

This product is small, discrete, and simple to use. It is easy to transport, and the company describes it as suitable for children and animals.

It has three power levels for individuals to choose between, but the company recommends that people should use the highest power setting only for severe pain or deep tissue damage.

The Mini Magic is battery-powered, with the battery lasting close to 8 hours. A person can replace the batteries as necessary.

This device has:

  • FDA approval
  • a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty for the unit
  • a 3-month manufacturer’s warranty for the coils
  • a 30-day money-back guarantee

The coils have different sizes but their cable length is about 1.22 meters.

Pros

  • this is a small product that a person can also use on children or pets
  • FDA-approved
  • returns within 30 days
  • suitable for those who travel
  • relieves joint inflammation for persons with OA

Cons

  • may not work for some users
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MiraMate Mini Magic Portable PEMF Device is available to purchase online, with the price starting from $219.

Best for sleep: EarthPulse V5.3 Pro PEMF Therapy Device

The company claims that this is the most powerful PEMF device under $10,000. It has ten program settings ranging from 10 minutes to 12 hours.

This product is mostly for aiding sleep and it emits lower frequencies when a person uses the device overnight.

In addition to aiding deep sleep, the company claims that the product provides all of the other benefits of PEMF devices, including improved bone density and reduced inflammation.

It comes with:

  • 6-feet long cables
  • a pin adapter for international travel
  • a travel case
  • a 5-year limited warranty
  • a 90-day return policy

Pros

  • comes with a travel pouch
  • returns within 90 days
  • shipping takes 2 business days

Cons

  • up to three weeks for international delivery
  • import taxes apply for international orders
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The EarthPulse V5.3 Pro PEMF Therapy Device is available to purchase online for $1,249.

Best for targeted pain relief: Omnipemf NeoRhythm

This product is small and can target specific areas of the body. These include the calming and slowing of the brain, which may help with sleep and relaxation.

The company claims the Omnipemf NeoRhythm device helps the body’s natural recovery process.

There are custom frequencies and predesigned programs to suit people with various preferences or medical conditions.

It is wireless and has an internal rechargeable battery. A person can control the device via a compatible app. It has a maximum intensity of 25 gauss.

The FDA has not evaluated the NeoRhythm but the company states that it complies with FDA regulations.

It comes with:

  • a weight of 0.23 lbs
  • dimensions of
    • length: 6.3 in
    • width: 6.7 in
    • depth: 1.1 in
  • a 60-day money-back guarantee
  • free shipping
  • a 24-month guarantee

Pros

  • returns within 60 days
  • free shipping worldwide
  • free access to the NeoRhythm app

Cons

  • delivery can take 5 days
  • may be loose on the head for some persons
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The Omnipemf NeoRhythm is available for purchase online for about $400.

PEMF therapy device comparison

Below we see how the PEMF therapy devices differ from each other:

Healthy Wave Pro Multi-Wave 5 Therapy Far Infrared PEMF MatSentient Element ClassicMiraMate Mini Magic Portable PEMF DeviceEarthPulse V5.3 Pro PEMF Therapy DeviceOmnipemf NeoRhythm
Best forinfrared heatingdifferent frequency rangesa portable designsleeptargeted pain relief
Weight 26 lbsbase: 30 lbs

coil: is 10 lbs
unspecifiedunspecified0.23 lbs
Size or dimensions74 x 28 x 1.5 inchassis: 10-5/8 x 8-3/8 x 15-1/2 in

coil: 10.75 x 11.25 in
different dimensions apply to the coilunspecified6.3 x 6.7 x 1.1 in
Trial or return guarantee90-day trialComes with a restocking fee so that customers can use it as a rental30-day money-back guarantee90-day return guarantee60-day money-back guarantee
Warranty27 monthslifetime unit: 1 year

coils: 3 months
5 years24 months
Price$2,495$4,550starting from $219$1,249$400

When to contact a doctor

A person with musculoskeletal pain may wish to consult a doctor before using PEMF therapy to establish whether it is the best option for them.

If their symptoms do not improve after using PEMF devices, a person should discuss alternative treatment options with the doctor.

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Frequently asked questions

Here, we answer some common questions about PEMF therapy devices.

Does PEMF therapy really work?

Many studies suggest that PEMF therapy does work, although further medical research will help establish the long-term effects and how it may benefit an individual’s quality of life.

A person may not experience results until they have used the device for some time.

What types of conditions can PEMF treat?

PEMF therapy may help those with chronic pain, stiffness, osteoporosis, and sleep problems.

Can PEMF be harmful?  

PEMF therapy is usually safe. However, a person with a pacemaker or another electrical implant should not use PEMF devices, as they may interfere with this cardiovascular equipment.

How often should I use PEMF?

There is no rule as to how much or how little someone should use PEMF therapy, but it is always important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Anyone who is still unsure can seek the advice of a qualified medical professional. 

What is the difference between PEMF and TENS?

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy uses electric currents with low voltage to help relieve pain by blocking pain signal transmissions.

PEMF therapy devices use electromagnetic energy to improve the body’s healing. The devices have a coil that produces an electromagnetic field, but the electric currents do not enter the body.

Summary

PEMF therapy may help reduce pain and inflammation, improve blood circulation and sleep, and repair bones and muscles.

The devices may be in the form of mats or machines. The severity of a person’s condition will determine the most appropriate intensity setting.