Which are the best PEMF Machines?
The Ultimate PEMF Buyer’s Guide
PEMF machines, left to right: Curatron, Bemer, MAS, Swiss Bionic, Quantron
PEMF devices can really boost your health and well being. However, some very important factors decide which types suit which users and applications. If you’re thinking of ordering a PEMF machine, we suggest you read this guide very carefully, especially the section on intensities.
Some of this advice is controversial: in particular, there is significant disagreement between advocates of high and low intensity machines. If it’s contrary to what you hear from some other suppliers, we suggest you do a little more research, especially into the manufacturer’s track records and distributors’ backgrounds. For example, ask yourself whether the fact that a source has a medical background makes them any more objective than others who are not. At the end of the day, we suggest you err on the side of safety, quality and long-term effectiveness.
For over 10 years, the Life Mat Company has used and supplied various PEMF machines, gaining experience with the five fairly well-known devices shown above (Bemer, Curatron / Parmeds, MAS, Swiss Bionic and Quantron), plus over 15 others, including Actipatch, Almag, BioElectronics, BioMat, EarthPulse, Higher Dose, HoMedics, Magofon, Magnetovital, Medicur, Medithera, Micro-Pulse, OMI, Sota and Vita-Life.
PEMF Machine Basics
PEMF, or Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields, is a health technology whose history goes back at least as far as the 1920’s. It’s based on the principle that when you send an electric current through a metal coil, you produce a magnetic field. And pulsed magnetic fields are an excellent way of re-energising our cells, making biological processes more efficient and helping the body to repair itself.
Assuming care is taken to match the device with its intended use, PEMF is extremely safe with a long track record of clinical research. In our experience, it’s one of the most effective of the many complementary health technologies that we’ve offered as therapists. And it’s especially well suited to the kind of world we live in today.
PEMF devices come in many shapes and sizes. They are generally classified by their magnetic field strength, or intensity, measured in Gauss and Tesla (1 Gauss = 100 microTesla). Plus waveforms, frequencies and the way their applicators are constructed (generally thick copper coils but the cheapest systems use other materials). Systems also exist for horses and pets, and cranial (brain) applications.
High-intensity systems used in specialist clinics tend to use bands or loops to go around sections of the body. Some, like Curatron and MAS, supply a full-body mat. Many of them make a loud clicking noise, and muscles may twitch strongly in reponse to each pulse.
Lower-intensity systems for home use tend to comprise a body-length mat plus one or two smaller pad or strap applicators for localised treatments. There are also many small pocket-size devices that are sometimes useful if used continuously with localised issues.
The two largest manufacturers (Bemer and Swiss Bionic) both sell low-intensity PEMF devices for home use, and have been in business for about 20 years. They mostly sell through large networks of specialist distributors, who are often therapists in other areas.
There are also dozens of much smaller brands, often from Eastern Europe. They tend to come and go, often selling through Amazon or online catalog shops.
With a few exceptions, the largest manufacturers of high-intensity devices usually avoid the catalog shops and sell directly to clinics through their own specialist sales people.
Commercial success since the late 1990’s has spawned a fairly large industry of PEMF device manufacturers. With so much competition, and so many choices, it can be difficult to sort through all the claims and counter-claims about which types of device work best.
All types of PEMF device have valid applications but, for reasons we explain below, we recommend a cautious, common-sense approach, especially with devices for home use.
Eleven Tips on Buying a PEMF Machine
PEMF machines are often defined as low, medium and high intensity, but from our perspective, in terms of health effects and user safety, there are just two types:
- Low intensity (those with an upper limit of around 3000 microTesla or 3 Gauss) such as Bemer, Quantron and Swiss Bionic.
- Medium-high to ultra-high intensity: from 10 gauss (1,000 microTesla) to tens of thouands of gauss (millions of microTesla).
We’ve owned some of the best-known high intensity systems (including some that go beyond 5,000 Gauss or 500,000 microTesla) and they’ve been useful in the short term for treating localised issues such as major fractures.
Whether it’s worth a home user spending £5,000 to £15,000 on a high-intensity machine intended primarily for a few months of localised application, or occasional treatments, is a very different matter. Medium-high intensity devices (supplying hundreds of gauss) can be just as effective and some cost less than a tenth of these prices.
And, we often see comparable results from our own low-intensity systems. Given that we and our customers are using them for a combination of whole-body health maintenance and sometimes localised issues, we consider low-intensity machines to be the most appropriate. We especially avoid supplying high intensity systems to home users — this type is far more likely to cause problems, even if they don’t appear immediately.
When choosing a home-use PEMF device, remember one principle: Nature Rules. Some high-quality research has shown that cells respond preferentially to very low field intensities and frequencies.
This “biological window” is similar to the parameters found in Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, the same fields that we evolved with. Earth’s magnetic field measures just 25 to 65 microTesla.
What our clients have taught us
Many people subjectively prefer even lower intensities (0.5 to 25 microTesla is the most popular range on our systems). Some people even feel uncomfortable above the lower end of that.
This might sound impossible in that theoretically we’re all bathed in Earth’s magnetic field. However, most of us live our whole lives in buildings that are insulated from it, and for most of us our relationship with natural energy fields has been massively disturbed.
Our technology-based society explains much of this. While electro-magnetic sensitivity (ES) and hyper sensitivity (EHS) is still not widely talked about, it’s clear that very large numbers of people are now affected by it in varying degrees, and this is expected to rise sharply in the years ahead.
Don’t even go near a high-intensity machine if you think you’re starting to become ES/EHS! You really don’t want it to get worse (sometimes permanently)! Early-stage symptoms include broken sleep, constant anxiety, chronic fatigue, regular brain fog, forgetfullness, daily headaches, prickly skin, dizziness or heart arrhythmias. In the later stages, the individual may only feel comfortable living in a rural location, with very little exposure to wi-fi, mobiles and other wireless technologies, even an off-grid house without even solar panels.
Even those who cope well with peak levels on the low-intensity systems find they can be too much for daily use. We regularly get a few clients who ignore our advice and crank up our systems to their maximum, twice a day. Those that tolerate this feel great at first. Until they feel stressed-out a few months later and call us for advice.
It’s just like drinking 10 cups of coffee a day. It may make you extra alert and the extra energy can be addictive, but you will also be jittery and more vulnerable to major stress when it inevitably happens.
Consider what this means. The essence of health and well being lies in balance and homeostatis. The opposite of this is uncontrolled stress, which is extremely destructive. Controlling how you react to stress is the state of your autonomic nervous system, a state we can easily measure by monitoring heart rate variability. Any truly effective therapy should improve your stress levels and stress response.
If a technology delivers short-term results by massive impact on some tissues, but leaves your central nervous system messed up, what do you think that means for your long-term health and equilibrium?
On the full-body mats of our main systems (the route we take to helping the central nervous system and all the body’s other major systems), the maximum intensity is still only around 50 microTesla (0.5 gauss) and we recommend far lower levels than that for daily use!
Higher intensities can be useful
It’s true that most low-intensity systems also have higher-intensity applicators for localised pain relief and tissue repair. But the peak on these is still only 100-300 microTesla, which is quite enough for most issues.
We don’t even recommend the daily use of these levels for chronic health issues — we make a clear distinction between their use with acute localised conditions and chronic systemic issues. Meanwhile many high-intensity systems peak at millions of microTesla
The most honest high-intensity manufacturers (Pulsed Energy Technologies is a good example) acknowledge that both low- and high-intensity PEMF devices have a role, and can even complement each other (high for the specialist clinic, low for home users).
High-intensity PEMF systems have a legitimate place in specialist clinics (such as for catastrophic bone fractures and severe drug-resistant depression). Treatment is usually given in-clinic by a skilled practitioner with enough training and experience to carefully screen patients to avoid exacerbations. Sessions are usually every few days, or weekly, for a limited period of time.
For other types of clinic, low intensity is a much better match, and exacerbations are very unlikely. We’ve supplied low-intensity systems to almost every imaginable type of therapist and clinic, and the overwhelming feedback is that they provide a valuable boost to the results from their core therapy.
No doubt much of this is due to the fact that most complementary therapies seek to reduce stress and calm the autonomic nervous system (just as low-intensity PEMF does).
Like a Sledge Hammer to Crack a Nut
Those recommending high-intensity PEMF devices for home use say you should buy as much power as you can afford, then dial it down to the minimum when needed.
This argument is misleading, for several reasons:
- It’s Unnecessary
The more-is-better approach may sound appealing at first until you realise that even when you do dial them down, the minimum intensities on high-intensity systems are from thousands to hundreds of thousands of microTesla!
Distributors of high-intensity systems often use comparative intensity charts showing gauss/microTesla values almost like the 0-to-60 mph rating for cars. Despite the fact that our bodies are not like cars, it’s the same mechanistic argument: more power equals more acceleration.
In fact the claim that “Higher Intensity Is Better” has very little scientific foundation, even when applied to the area where it should be strongest: tissue repair. Consider what NASA scientists said in their description of their own research equipment (and ask yourself whether you trust their opinion compared with sales outlets and even sales-hungry doctors who insist on the opposite):
” All of the prior attempts to use electromagnetic therapy have used high levels of electromagnetism, usually 50 gauss or more… Some of the attempts have used pulsed waves, but such pulsed waves have been either on-off pulses or sinusoidal waves. No one, prior to this invention, has found the key to electromagnetic regeneration of mammalian tissue. To be successful in tissue regeneration, the electromagnetic force may be a square wave (Fourier curve) time varying electromagnetic wave at a level of from approximately 0.05 to 0.5 gauss, a much lower level than previously contemplated by anyone. ” (Dr. Thomas J. Goodwin, NASA Johnson Space Centre, pub. Space Life Sciences, August 15, 2005).
- It Ignores Principles of Bio-physics and Energy Medicine
Claiming that only the highest intensities will induce any signficant cellular change, is grossly misleading. Any experienced energy medicine therapist, or bio-physicist, will tell you that the very weak fields found in Nature are quite sufficient to create, through resonance, a chain of effects throughout the body, without negative side effects.
Treating delicate biological processes, where tiny cellular voltage changes have a measurable effect, with fields that are 100 to 10,000 times stronger than a field that is already effective is equivalent to over-dosing. While it may produce strong short-term results, it can quickly cause its own problems.
When used for regular whole-body treatments, high-intensity systems are more than enough to trigger bad reactions in the autonomic nervous system, which then cascade on to other body systems.
- It’s Irresponsible
Encouraging home users to regularly use a modality that could damage their well being is not what you expect from a responsible, experienced therapist. Low intensities may sometimes take longer to have an effect but they’re much more relaxing, much less irritating, far less likely to cause any lasting exacerbation. “First do no harm.”
We’ve even encountered people who suffered a sharp decline in their health lasting from days to years from as little as one treatment on a high-intensity system. This is not the fault of these systems; it’s the fault of the people promoting them.
A recent example was a couple who nearly purchased one of our systems. They changed their minds after speaking to a self-styled PEMF guru, who persuaded them that our systems were too weak and that they’d get better results from a much higher intensity system. After some shallow training, and a few days of frequent use, they both became very unwell, until they had to seek medical treatment and one was admitted to hospital. They fully recovered, but were not very happy!
So why are these type of systems being sold for the wrong uses to the wrong types of user? Those who do so are mostly online catalog shops, claiming to be objective advisers. Like many catalogs, the core of their business is striking deals with small manufacturers who are desperate for market share and happy to give the catalogs very large profit margins.
The catalogs bulk up with some cheap, poorly-made brands (so that they can claim to have something for everyone) but most of their money comes from expensive high-intensity systems. They then employ generic, non-therapist sales people who generally promote their most profitable systems: “buy as much intensity as you can afford …”
We have nothing against high-intensity systems in themselves, when used for the right applications. In our experience, they can be appropriate for weekly treatments in specialist clinics, under the care of specialist physicians or highly-trained therapists.
Our only warning is over their sale to home users, general clinics, gyms and spas. We especially disagree with their sale for daily use in the home, often in disregard for the user’s state of health or mind. This needs to be explained far more honestly and responsibly. With low-intensity systems, we very rarely encounter any problems (and even then we usually have strategies to deal with them).
We’ve watched low-intensity PEMF devices improve the health and quality of life of countless clients. This type of PEMF is one of the safest and most effective modalities in the whole field of complementary medicine and preventive health care. There’s no need to over-dose!
2. Frequencies, Waveforms and Coils
We don’t usually talk so much about PEMF frequencies, waveforms or coil configurations. Not because we don’t think they’re important, but because there’s so much debate over which are best and because they’re certainly less important than using the right intensity levels.
Our research indicates that the narrower the frequency range the better. Below 30Hz seems to work best and there is much research indicating the importance of the Schumann resonances arond 8Hz. This is generally a non-issue since most PEMF systems use low, narrow-range frequencies.
However, some use much higher frequencies (e.g. the MAS device goes up to 10,000 Hz). These may have a role in research and some professional applications, but limited use for the majority of users.
Some manufacturers talk about using special waveforms that deliver special effects, like boosting micro circulation. We consider these claims to be questionable in that the most basic effects of PEMF (better circulation, pain relief, tissue repair) are found, in varying degrees of effectiveness, in almost all devices.
The key is how well they stimulate cellular resonance and interface with other body systems, and what they add on to deepen those effects.
The systems we specialise in seem to supply especially natural and relaxing fields, and throw off large amounts of harmonics that resonate with multiple cell types. They use the triple sawtooth and square wave signals found in many research studies (including the NASA paper mentioned above), and pairs of round, densely wound copper coils.
These opinions — on how intensities, frequencies, waveform and coil configuration affect the user experience — are based on our own extensive experience and detailed consultations and observations of many clients over many years.
They’re also based on comparative testing by highly experienced energy healers and chi gong masters — people totally new to PEMF, with no vested interests but who are experts in their fields.
3. Stretching the Limits, Hybrid PEMF
It’s a testament to the effectiveness of PEMF that we haven’t seen many combinations with other modalities. But it’s inevitable. If you’re going to spend 20-30 minutes a day having PEMF treatments, why not seek an even better result?
There are simply too many other wonderful therapies that ought to be brought together. Hybrid modalities are the future, not just for PEMF but for all of energy medicine. A few machines already have hybrid functions and the potential for even more. Some are well known, others cost so much money that it’s a choice between that and a Ferrari.
There is certainly much more to come. Sound, vibration, light, infra red, brain entrainment, micro currents, auto diagnostics, personalised biofeedback-based treatments … If you invest your money in a totally one-dimensional PEMF machine, will you feel happy with it five years from now … when you realise it was already obsolete when you bought it?
4. Design and Usability
Design standards among PEMF devices vary enormously and some have barely changed for 20 years. Some key considerations are:
- Is it easy to use, with simple controls or will you need to keep going back to the user manual?
- In particular, does it have quick-start programs for specific applications?
- Does it have add-on technologies to deepen its effects on health and well-being issues like stress, sleep, productivity and mental clarity?
- Does it have any two-way mechanism for re-calibrating itself as it detects changes in your central nervous system?
- Does it have self-diagnostic systems to warn you when a part isn’t working and even track down the problem?
- With full-length mat systems, is the mat cushioned and comfortable to lie on, or would you need something soft underneath?
- Do you have to unplug and reinsert each applicator every time you want to change from one to another?
- Does product design matter to you? If so, does it look attractive and stylish, or just a square box with pc connector plugs and buttons from the 1980’s?
5. Quality, Safety and Durability
There are scores of PEMF devices with huge differences in design and build quality. Most of the leading manufacturers (not all) make long-lasting products with sturdy control units, cables and applicators. We have early versions of our own systems that are now over 10 years old and still working fine.
What we’ve seen recently is a wave of cheaply-made, flimsy PEMF devices with poor design (at times, not much beyond what you’d expect from a child’s toy) and uncomfortable mats. They often disguise their country of origin and they’re usually sold through online catalogue shops at what look like bargain prices. Even their main distributors privately admit (while still praising them publically!) that support is poor and they don’t last for long. Having tested some of them, we agree.
We’ve addressed safety in terms of which intensity levels are appropriate but what about the inherent safety of the device’s construction? A 2019 European investigation by consumer group Which? reported that 66% of products bought from third-party sellers on popular online shopping sites failed EU safety requirements.
Having a CE mark is important as a minimum but barely does anything to vouch for a product’s quality and safety. Many of the smallest manufacturers don’t have the resources to pay for expensive and time-consuming further certifications.
With a product designed to affect your health (especially if it’s high intensity) you have a right to expect that it’s been exposed to regular testing and documentation, with quality and safety certifications that go beyond the minimum requirements.
That’s the direction we’re heading in with very scarce and expensive inspection requirements underpinning the new regulatory requirements for medical devices. There’s a good chance that many of today’s manufacturers will vanish in the years ahead.
With PEMF devices, neither high nor low prices are any guarantee of effectiveness or value for money. We’ve owned and tested a number of small local-only devices costing much less than £1,000. Most delivered relatively little effect and we’ve yet to find a well-made whole-body system costing under £2,000.
On the other hand, systems costing over £6,000 may be worth the investment for some specialist clinics, but can create problems for home users. The sweet zone for good value in adaptable home-use PEMF systems is generally between £2,000 and £6,000. In that range, you’ll find all of the world’s most popular systems.
7. General Health and Quality of Life
If your main interest is in health maintenance, then there’s no question that you’ll benefit most from daily use of a low-intensity, all-purpose PEMF mat system like those from Bemer, Quantron or Swiss Bionic.
This is especially true when the system has advanced functions to address stress, anxiety and an agitated nervous system. These are the most powerful factors in sleep loss, inflammation, hypertension, weight gain and an impaired immune system, which are the five most powerful causes of disease in modern life.
If you’re an over-worked, over-stressed 40-year-old, then low-intensity PEMF can pay for itself in extra energy and productivity, and in helping you avoid some of the chronic health challenges that often begin around this age.
If you’re a 70-year-old with osteo-arthritis, you might go for the slightly faster pain relief of a high-intensity system. On the other hand, many of your other issues, including the health of your autonomic nervous and cardiovascular systems, sleep, anxiety and disease prevention, may not improve, or even regress, and would probably be better addressed with regular use of a low-intensity system.
8. Specific Health Issues
Many people seek out PEMF because they have a serious health issue, have indications that it may be on the way or just want to beat the odds. Whatever your reasons, it makes sense to approach it as a wellness technology that can help with almost any health challenge but isn’t seen as a direct remedy. When the body has the right resources, it does the work of self healing.
One of the reasons for taking this approach is just to be as honest as possible about how PEMF works. It’s also important for the user to not rely on it as a panacea that absolves them from doing all the other stuff needed to address their issues. Health maintenance and healing aren’t simple, although PEMF is certainly one of the best ways of making them easier.
9. Regularity of Treatments
This is something that often gets overlooked or glossed over, especially in the selling of high-intensity systems. The fact is that you’ll get by far the best health-maintenance results if your PEMF system is designed to be used at least once a day, preferably twice, if only for 10 minutes each.
To gain the full benefits, it should become part of your daily routine, a habit you don’t want to miss. Once you realise how much it’s helping you, that’s usually not a problem.
The reason is that every day you’re being affected by the environment around you, and every day PEMF can help you to re-establish homeostasis in the body, with multiple systems working more efficiently.
Missing a week or two when you’re traveling may be inevitable (if you don’t take it with you). But while just two days a week also has some value, it won’t lead to the kind of systemic change and protection that you ought to expect.
10. Customer Service
Again this can vary wildly. Some of the online shops make a big deal of whether there’s a right of return, but this is mostly just a deceptive marketing ploy that ignores basic consumer protections and gives them a way to promote what are sometimes the most shoddy products on the market.
Far more important, in our experience, is how a manufacturer handles all client requests, including justified requests for return and repairs under warranty. Equally important is whether it tries to make out-of-warranty repairs and replacements as easy and affordable for the customer as possible. Those promoting right of return are often unhelpful on all counts.
Much comes down to the manufacturer’s history and track record, the reliability of its electronics and software, the efficiency of its warehousing and shipping systems, and the company’s ethos and work culture. We’ve been really blessed with our own manufacturer experience but we’ve heard some horror stories regarding small manufacturers, and fairly negative comments on even some long-established prominent companies.
Finally, how long will they be in business? Liquidated companies do not honour guarantees. And current regulatory issues and market conditions imply that only the most successful and well-organised manufacturers will survive the next few years. Those offering high-intensity PEMF machines to home users are likely to be especially vulnerable.
11. Finding a Good Source
When you buy most consumer products, you don’t need to rely on the distributor to train you on how to use and get the best results from them.
It’s different with PEMF. Here you’re buying a fairly expensive technology intended to become a central point in your bid to stay healthy and enjoy the best possible quality of life.
These objectives are so broad, and individual, that you’ll almost always benefit (even if you’re a doctor!) from advice and training that go far beyond what you’ll find in any user manual. This is the least you should expect from whoever you order through, and without this, it’s very doubtful you’ll get anywhere near the full value from your system.
So the value you gain from your PEMF device is greatly improved by:
- Having a consultation with an experienced therapist, someone who has probably tackled your issues and lifestyle before.
- Understanding how this technology interacts with your body and how you can benefit from it well beyond the most obvious uses.
- Problem-solving in case it doesn’t go as planned and standard protocols need to be adjusted.
- Getting advice on the potential remedies and other technologies that work best alongside it.
Choose carefully, check them out, ask about their background, and their approach to PEMF.