Flux Health Forum

Specific uses of PEMF where I have heard generally negative feedback

From: Bob Dennis, owner of Micro-Pulse; I have a financial interest in the sale of PEMF devices, so please take that potential bias into account when considering my statements

Many people have asked me about using PEMF for certain applications where I have heard negative feedback from people who have tried it for themselves. Unlike a low-integrity marketer who will tell you anything you want to hear, I think it is important to point out known and suspected cases where PEMF is not likely to help.

First, I think it is good to retain some healthy skepticism when considering anything like PEMF. Claims are abundant and often beyond belief. On the other hand, resistance from some mainstream adherents remains strong. I think the best thing to do is consider the available information and judge for yourself whether the potential benefits outweigh the cost and risks.

My opinion: I continue to be surprised at the very small number of negative reports related to PEMF from individuals, clinicians, and in the published scientific literature. The corresponding benefits of PEMF seem to be very significant. But in at least a few areas, PEMF does not seem to confer much benefit. As far as I know, these are:

Tinnitus (ringing of the ears):
I get this question very frequently, and the best answer I can give is that during beta testing we experimented with tinnitus, and in all cases it seemed to get temporarily worse until PEMF use was discontinued. The negative effect does not seem to be permanent, but PEMF simply does not seem to help tinnitus. Several people have independently reported the same result to me when they have self-experimented with PEMF on their tinnitus. I generally advise against using PEMF with tinnitus.

Dizziness:
Dizziness is caused by many things, so I do not know if general statements should be made. However, I do not know of any cases where dizziness has been improved by PEMF, but I have heard of several cases where PEMF has caused temporary dizziness, especially when used at high power near the vestibular system of the inner ears. I advise against this use, especially if it is known to cause you a problem.

Hair growth:
I get this question all the time. This is, in my opinion, a good example of the low-integrity abuse and mis-representation of PEMF that is common on the Internet. For example, I have been offered free trips to exotic off-shore resorts to convince me to transform my technology into the next miracle hair-growth solution. To date, I have turned down this offer 31 times from different people and investment groups. The people involved seem to me to be of very low quality, and on several occasions their intention to run a scam was abundantly clear. In one case, an investor told me: “It does not have to really work, it just has to look convincing enough for people to pay for it!” I now discourage any discussions of this kind. What I believe is this: I have not heard much positive feedback about hair growth and PEMF. What I have heard is that some people have tried it (against my advice) and they report very disappointing results. I do not think it is advisable or worthwhile to try PEMF for hair growth, and I would be highly suspicious if any PEMF marketer makes claims to the contrary.

I am sure there are other applications for which PEMF is ineffective or poorly suited. Please feel free to comment if your experience is different or if you know of other ineffective uses for PEMF.


HOW TO HELP:
What we are looking for is as much information as you can share about your condition, how you used PEMF, and the results you observed. You can upload photos and documents as well as your text. The more detail you include, the better. You can come back later, edit your text to add more details, upload images, documents and test results, add helpful links, etc. Also, don’t forget to ask questions, because this will help people to share their observations and experiences that they may have forgotten to mention.

Share what worked and how you did it, but negative results are just as important as positive results!!! If you tried something that did not work well, this experience would help other people too. People respond very differently and have different levels of sensitivity, so something may work well for others, but not for you. What we need is a lot of different observations from many different people so that we can begin to see larger patterns and formulate general guidelines about what is likely to be helpful, what is likely to be wrong, which options should be explored, and which options can be avoided.

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Looking forward to this. Funny with the Tinnitus i was teaching some one how to use my machine today, shes had tinnitus for about 4 to 5 months and asked about it. I suggest no. I remember a while ago seeing a YouTube of some one using scenar to cure their tinnitus. I remember him saying it got worse before it got better and then went for good. It makes sense that there is an inflammatory component to tinnitus and that PEMF should help… However, whos going to risk that horrible, constant ringing in their ears getting possibly permanently worse? Its a tough one.

How long did you use PEMF in your beta testing Bob? Did you stop as soon as it got worse?

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We stopped as soon as it got worse. Maybe should have tried longer, but I do not want anyone to suffer more. Hard call but interesting. That is not the first time I have heard “it gets better before it gets worse”, but for other applications, and never for micro-pulse tech, at least not that I have heard.

I was looking on google scholar for articles on whether EMF exposure effects hair and found this. It’s not conclusive but it suggests that pemf at a specific frequency stopped chemo patients hair from falling out.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/pon.593

Funny you should mention that. The biggest scams I have personally encountered in the PEMF world are from men’s hair regrowth marketers, and over the past 6 or 7 years I have declined offers from 31 of them. I kind of stopped counting after a while, so that number may be a bit low.

I guarantee they will take any shred of a shadow of out-of-context scientific validation they can lay their hands on and try to turn it into the next big product for men’s hair growth. They will grab the money and dash by cover of night. They will leave a bunch of guys standing there with electrodes on their heads, wondering what just happened.

It seems possible to me that hair growth could either be stimulated or reduced by PEMF. It could go either way. I don’t think this has been well studied, so I have no Idea whether this has any potential.

But the exceptionally low integrity of people making devices and therapies in this field… eck, I don’t even want to talk about it. But I can say one thing for certain, that I know 100% about PEMF: I will never have anything to do with that specific application.

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Do you know if they used it on the ears themselves or if they used it on the vagal nerve.

Vagal nerve stimulation sometimes does help. I am wondering if they lowered the power to get rid of the clicking and focused on the vagal nerve, instead of the ear, if that might help.

Researchers at UT Dallas are combining sound and vagal nerve stimulation to treat tinnitus. A study involving 10 patients found the treatment helped in half of the group. The tinnitus device is already approved in Europe. They combine it with sound and that is delivered through an earbud. People can probably get that device, but the ICES, I would think could stimulate the vagal nerve just as well.

I am not sure which sound they combined it with, but someone could read the study and try to figure that out if they have the issue.

Also, I would recommend ear plugs maybe for someone who has that type of issue when they use the device near their head or shoulders.

But there are a lot of mechanisms where it might help tinnitus.

Muscle relaxation, pain relief and relieving depression and stress relief often help it. Also, stimulating the brain with TMS sometimes has changed peoples perceptions of it and brought relief that way.

I also wonder about stimulating the cochlear nerve. That is my internal question which I wonder because of it being the brain waiting for a signal from the cochlear nerve. I wonder if there is a way to do brain plasticity for it.

“If the auditory pathways or circuits in the brain don’t receive the signals they’re expecting from the cochlea, the brain in effect “turns up the gain” on those pathways in an effort to detect the signal — in much the same way that you turn up the volume on a car radio when you’re trying to find a station’s signal. The resulting electrical noise takes the form of tinnitus — a sound that is high-pitched if hearing loss is in the high-frequency range and low-pitched if it’s in the low-frequency range. This kind of tinnitus resembles phantom limb pain in an amputee — the brain is producing abnormal nerve signals to compensate for missing input.”

I am not sure if that makes sense.

I just see it as there are probably ways for people who have tinnitus to try things, which might bring some relief.

Even if they have to put in ear plugs and lower the power of the device and move it to a further away part of the vagal nerve or to the brain.

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I guess the part that doesn’t make sense to me is that studies have shown things like exercise or taking things like pycnogenol help tinnitus by improving blood circulation to the ear. PEMF should do that if it is anywhere near the head.

Okay, I say all of that and know that you have heard adverse reactions, so I am just adding my two cents, but I am not the scientist. I am just a self-hacker with brain problems.

Infections can cause tinnitus and PEMF can help with infections.

TMJ can cause tinnitus and PEMF can help with TMJ…

You are so much more intelligent than I am and you will have to tell me whether playing with the alpha, gamma, delta, theta is what they are doing in

Also, there is anecdotal evidence on-line.

This one sound legit. Really legit.

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They were trying ICES directly on their ears, not vagal nerve. I don’t know, but tinnitus may arise from many different underlying causes, so it is possible that sometimes ICES-PEMF will help, and sometimes it will not. But I do not know.

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I find Dr. Begley’s trying to heal balance problems and having decades old tinnitus accidentally go away compelling.

I am grateful that you are caution oriented. I just see so many potential mechanisms where your device might be able to heal people.

But I hear your caution.

There is a PubMed article on PEMF and tinnitus and there are more anecdotal healing testimonials online, so I just feel like people with tinnitus need to hear it from that side.

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Bob,

I am wondering if the vertigo and dizziness would have been from calcium. You understand how that all works better than I do, but, years ago, I got vertigo and so did nearly everybody around me and it was from being low in magnesium. People were using things like antacids and taking calcium supplements and didn’t have enough magnesium.

I also do want to challenge you on the hair loss issue and I am going to call it “hair loss” rather than “regrowing hair” because you are going to talk people out of trying it and I am going to ask “Are there any potential mechanisms?” And I am going to say that there are various reasons people lose hair, too. Yes, I appreciate you saying that there aren’t big testimonials on hair regrowth, but microcirculation might help at some level.

Also, regrowth might be more like regrowing cartilage, where it might take years to know if it actually worked.

The concept that a lesser man would have taken that offer and you didn’t go for the money 31 times! If you had, I might not be able to heal my brain.

Of course, a lot of balding people might be healing their brains as a side effect, but I agree with your not wanting to promote that industry, but I want to know if there might be mechanisms for something positive to happen. Slower hair loss even.

I guess what I am thinking is that you are so turned off by the way people market products and exaggerate claims that you might be closed to potential mechanisms.

I am not closed to any Idea or opinion. However, I am a conservative scientist by nature, I do not feel that I should ever give false hope to anyone, and I can tell a scam when I hear one. When almost every hair-loss discussion starts with a statement such as “It doesn’t even have to really work, it just needs to sound sciency and believable…”, well, then, I feel an obligation to call B.S. when I see it. Whether or not PEMF helps with hair loss, I simply do not know, but I can tell you that every single person that has approached me to develop a product in this area is a very low-integrity scammer, and I will not work with them on anything. Since hair loss is a matter of cosmetics and self image and may be treatable by other means, I prefer to spend my time and energy working to solve problems of crippling, soul-crushing, life-destroying, otherwise untreatable chronic pain and injury. That is my priority.

It is not that I have dismissed this entirely out-of-hand though. There is a basis for my current opinion on the matter:

A scientific colleague of mine tried ICES-PEMF for mesh syndrome, and noticed that he also experienced some hair loss. This might have been due to mechanical effects (rubbing) from the coils, or it may have been due to a molecular mechanism (which I do not understand, but as he explained it to me) involving RANKL:

He told me that there was, in his opinion, a theoretical mechanism that may result in hair loss.

I do not fully understand this, but I certainly do not feel that I should recommend ICES-PEMF to prevent hair loss either. So, I will just stick to my scientific and technical priorities.

Okay, so it isn’t just that you don’t like their double blind study. You know people who have experienced hair loss.

That helps me understand why you are posting it the way you are doing.

Yes, I hate the scams, too.

I was more looking at that study on the Biomag page and seeing that they are saying:

This double-blind randomized trial vs. placebo in healthy male and female volunteers demonstrates the positive biological effect of a pulsed electromagnetic field in combination with essential oils on hair loss and hair regrowth = Alopecia and magnetic therapy effects. The trial lasted 26 weeks and was performed in accordance with the regular treatment schedule. Mean hair count comparisons within the groups significantly favour the treatment group, which exhibited a reduction in hair loss in 83 % of the volunteers and more than a 20% hair count increase over the baseline in 53 % of the patients.

But you are saying that instead of increasing hair count, they were having hair loss.

Mainly, what I am saying is: “I do not know”.

Secondarily, I am saying: “I have no direct experience with hair loss.” So once again, I simply do not know.

This is not an area where I have a lot of knowledge or any direct personal experience.

Theoretically and anecdotally, it could go either way.

Also, this area is rife with scammers, as I have pointed out many times.

Finally, as I have already pointed out, a single double-blind study can still be irreproducible. I do not put a lot of faith in individual peer-reviewed papers or single studies because careful recent analysis has shown in many areas of health and medicine, these studies can not be reproduced, their findings are not reliable, and they fail the test of time about 75% to 90% of the time. Only when a study has been replicated several times, independently, should you begin to believe it.

I am not saying disbelieve it out-of-hand. I am saying it is best to maintain a reasonable level of healthy skepticism.

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I appreciate healthy skepticism and I agree, science itself has been misused by con artist after con artist after con artist.

Yes, we want to have reproducible studies.

It just helps me that you have heard of a negative example.

@Bob This is fascinating!! I have been noting slightly increased hair loss since using the ICES more regularly and overnight – and not using it on my head. And with RA, TNF/RANKL is clearly relevant to the disease process.

But was he saying hair loss accompanied positive changes in his disease process/symptoms? Or did he stop because the hair loss and other signs indicated increased TNF/RANKL?

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@DrKaren, Yes, the improvement to his mesh problem was dramatic, so he did not stop. He tells me he may be the only person in medical history to recover from a mesh reaction that severe and advanced. So far as I know, he continues to use it. He recently purchased 4 or 5 more systems.

But he noted a small amount of hair loss on his lower abdomen, near his mesh implant. He mentioned this during our discussion of possible mechanisms of action.

Compared to the typical outcome from an advanced mesh reaction leading to multi-organ failure and a gruesome, horrific, prolonged death, I presume he considered the minor amount of hair loss on his abdomen to be fairly unimportant.

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Just to be complete: I have heard both negative and positive reports about the effect of ICES-PEMF on hair loss, pretty much equal numbers both ways. My very limited understanding of the mechanisms of hair loss does not shed light on this ambiguity, and the negative reports I have heard are both highly credible and theoretically tenable.

BIASES:

My revulsion toward scammers undoubtedly applies a negative bias to my opinion.

I am also aware of the extreme positive bias toward profit, and it would be all too easy for me to fabricate a plausible argument in favor of the use of ICES-PEMF for hair loss. Scumbag scammers are attracted to this application precisely because it is potentially very lucrative. I could easily dazzle people with my ostensible brilliance, why it must work and why everyone needs to buy it.

But that is counter to my basic nature. So, I remain in that gray zone of biased uncertainty, and therefore I offer only very cautious opinions.

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Your honest and scientific approach is much appreciated.

Separately, it is so sad that far more people (including males seem) more interested and willing to spend/invest allot more money on hair regrowth , than on something far more meaningful like cancer or autism.

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