Physicians have long known that “the body electric” is for real: Tiny electrical currents and magnetic fields are constantly firing off inside you. We just haven’t known how to harness these forces for healing. But a handful of scientists and medical innovators have relentlessly pursued this.
They’re succeeding, using something few docs know much about. It’s not a new pill or operation; it’s magnets. Not the kind you stick on the fridge, but pulsating electromagnets. They produce invisible energy waves that increase blood flow and normalize some electrical impulses to and in nerves. One Food and Drug Administration-approved device — yep, they’re that far — relieves more than 50 percent of post-operative pain. Nobody appreciates what a godsend that is like an anesthesiologist (Dr. Mike) and a surgeon (Dr. Oz). Well, nobody except every surgery patient who’s woken up to a world of hurt. Called the Torino, this post-op pain zapper is so new that even MDs who’ve vaguely heard of it probably think it’s a new car.
How do devices that use a pulsed electromagnetic field relieve post-op pain and — you’re about to get as excited as we are — intractable back, neck, foot and arthritis pain? Your nerves, cartilage, spinal fluid, bones, muscles and blood all rely on a symphony of dancing ions. PEMFs activate these electrically charged particles in ways that seem to turn off inflammation and turn on cell repair.
PEMFs rev up production of nitric oxide, which increases blood flow to the targeted area. The combo stimulates an anti-inflammatory cascade that, in the Torino’s case, not only halves post-op pain but also reduces swelling and speeds healing.
PEMF therapy also coaxes badly broken bones to mend that otherwise might not. When you break something, electrical “injury” currents rush through your bone, signaling instructions for knitting it back together. But in nasty breaks, that process short-circuits. To re-create the currents, surgeons implant electrodes into mangled bones. Not much fun, plus you look like Frankenstein. Enter PEMF mats, bandages and knee braces, which stimulate healing currents. Aim PEMFs at the damaged zone for eight to 30 minutes, two to four times a day, and you’ll heal better, faster. Side effects? Zero, at least in the short term. The products are still too new to know whether there are long-term issues.
The YOU Docs — Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic — are the authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.