Flux Health Forum

Thoughts on Pain and Inflammation

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

My primary motivation for developing ICES-PEMF, which has become the core technology for Micro-Pulse, is that I was suffering very severe, crippling chronic lower back pain from a long series of injuries to my back. I have a lot of direct, personal experience with PEMF and pain. This is really what I designed the Micro-Pulse system for, so I have much more to contribute about this topic than the other uses of PEMF.

At its worst in ~ 2007, the only treatments that gave me any relief were chiropractic, inversion, and opioids. All combined, on a good day I could manage my pain from a 10 down to a 6 or 7. But sometimes these did not help, and I spent a lot of time in a spiral of increasing desperation.

At that time, I was developing a commercial cell-processing PEMF system based on the PEMF system I had developed for NASA in 1996-97. One night, at 1:00AM, in blinding pain and out of sheer desperation, I strapped the clunky commercial PEMF coil from the system I was building onto my lower back. Within 14 minutes the pain had subsided and I had the most profound lower back “self-adjustment” I had ever experienced. The cracking sounds were clearly audible, and my spine settled into a wonderful, pain-free alignment. This lasted about 2-3 days, and the pain slowly returned as my spine went out of alignment over time. I reapplied this crude PEMF again, a large and cumbersome commercial system that was abut the size of a microwave oven, and again my back realigned itself and the pain quickly dissipated.

With PEMF, my pain immediately went down to a 2 or 3, and progressively continued over the course of months to reduce down to zero pain with daily use. I discontinued the use of opioids but continue to use PEMF on my lower back every day.

As a result of these very moving experiences, and getting my life back again, I decided the world needed a reliable, affordable, portable PEMF system. So, I spent several years designing and refining the system, and testing it on my own back. Without PEMF, my pain would return in a matter of days, so I could easily test what was working, and what was not, and this allowed me to refine the design down to the Micro-Pulse technology I offer today.

Since then I have talked to many PEMF experts and several thousand people who use PEMF, including over 150 clinicians. I have run a number of scientific experiments and collected a lot of anecdotal data.

Based on all of this, I will tell you what I believe is true:

Properly used, PEMF seems to help significantly reduce pain about 93.5% of the time (based on my informal polling). About 6% or 7% of people do not respond, and I do not know why.

The most important parameter for PEMF is waveform shape, not gauss or frequency. It requires some calculus and physics to understand why this is so.

At least 95% of the “information” you read about PEMF on the Internet is just marketing gibberish.

Nonetheless, most PEMF systems do seem to work pretty well. But the scientific truth is that no one knows why PEMF works at the biophysical (molecular) level.

For pain, especially localized pain, Micro-Pulse ICES-PEMF can be applied locally by simply placing the coils directly over the painful area and using the system for as long as possible, every day.

I do not think PEMF simply masks pain.

Simply masking pain would, by common sense, only tend to make the cause of the pain get worse. This is the trend we see that results from the use of “pain blocking” drugs and devices.

Pain is a signal from the body that something is wrong. Blocking or ignoring it is foolish, and will only lead to more pain in the future. PEMF seems to act to reduce pain at its source. I hypothesize scientifically that this involves reduced inflammation which enhances tissue recovery.

You do need to experiment a little bit to find the best intensity level and coil placement. Usually medium to high level intensities work best for most people, but they do not need and will not respond as fast to maximum intensity in most cases. Properly designed, PEMF does not require a lot of power or “Gauss”. It requires mainly a properly-shaped waveform.

If it works for you, and you continue to use ICES-PEMF even after the pain has subsided for another 2 weeks, it turns out that in about 80% of cases the pain never returns. So, about 20% of people (myself included) need to keep using ICES-PEMF daily to keep the pain at bay.

Different people respond differently. There is no such thing as one secret or correct “frequency”. The model A9 uses a pulse pattern that seems to work well for almost everyone, but you can experiment with the model M1 if you want to try different pulse patterns work better for you. I did a blinded beta-test of pulse patterns for use on pain. Different individuals varied only by about 10 - 15%. Most patterns worked pretty well, and the differences were individual, not systematic. So you can experiment to see what works best for you.

To provide the most help for other people, you might respond and comment with the type and location of your pain, the severity and duration, other things you tried that helped (or not). Then include which PEMF system you used, how you used it, and the results you observed.

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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Thanks for creating the forum and sharing your story. I’m looking forward to hearing from the community.

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I have a lot of neck pain and pain from arthritis. I have been able to get off all opioids using the M1 and C 5.

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This is a great idea!
I am sure I will have a great deal to share.
I am working on a nursing dissertation focused on the Micro-Pulse to treat pain.
The results are amazing!!
More to follow…

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May I ask what settings you are using,? I too have constant neck pain and pain in both wrists from RA. I refuse to use drugs and mostly take Curcumin and CBD oils, Results vary. I believe the ICES will help if I can find the right settings. Started with Schumann 1, now am trying A9. Any suggestions welcome.

I’ll be vey interested in what you are seeing. I, too, am an RN (not that that matters) : )

I use the Omni 8 protocol at a level 10 setting. Hope this helps.

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@ Rose. thanks! trying Omni 8 now!
I tried The Schumann 1 at first its little effect, then the B5-CS and did not really get relief in my wrists. Hope the Omni 8 will do the trick.

What I do (and what I have learned from talking to hundreds of people about their usage patterns for pain) is basically this:

For pain, usually I start with Omni8 or Schumann 4. I may also use B5-C5 or A9, or even Alpha wave. The perceived need for precise frequencies or pulse patterns is the psychological product of PEMF marketing fraud. It has no scientific basis.

I usually switch patterns every few days because, based on my experience, my research, many anecdotal and clinical reports, and my understanding of what is happening with PEMF, it is far more important to change the pulse pattern occasionally than it is to try to find one perfect pattern. This makes a lot of physiological sense and is supported by hundreds of anecdotal & clinical reports from long-time users.

Changing the pulse pattern from time to time seems to prevent habituation, and many people (including myself) find that ICES-PEMF remains effective for many years without any need to increase power. In fact, most people decrease intensity and frequency of use over time while continuing to get the same benefit.

To be effective, the ultra-low power ICES-PEMF initially needs to be used for several hours every day, and usually at medium/high (not full) power intensity. Just a few minutes at very high power and only occasionally is generally not sufficient. But the improvements when used correctly seem to build over time.

Most people respond to this pattern of daily low-intensity use. By my records of anecdotal reports it appears that 93.5% of people see a very dramatic improvement within 2-3 weeks (sometimes much less) if used every day for several hours at moderate intensity.

That means there is about a 6% to 7% chance that you may not see any benefit, so keep that in mind. Realistically, there is no such thing as one technology that does all things for all people 100% of the time.

Another thing to try is changing coil placement. Sometimes the location of pain is not the same as the location of the injury causing the pain. Most people need to try 3 or 4 different coil placement strategies before they find the one that works best for them. Every person and every injury is different, so it does take some experimenting to find the best coil placement for each individual case. But most people find it within 3 or 4 attempts.

That, in a nutshell, is what I have learned over the past decade developing & experimenting with ICES-PEMF and using it on myself daily.

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Thanks Bob! I’ll try that. I purchased the straps with pockets, shown on the website and wear the smaller one on my wrist for a few hours then switch to the other wrist. I have the larger strap That I use for my dog, ( I have a German Shorthaired pointe who occasionally starts to drop his paw (buckles it) reminiscent of a previous GSP who developed Degenerative Myelopathy . It started like this so I am hoping to prevent any progression. I was encouraged by the video of the dachshund on your site. Wish I had HAD the M~1 for our other dog 15 years ago, He eventually needed wheels, I have become somewhat a PEMF/ ICES junkie. I also have an ONDAMED that I have used to help our older GSP go from lame to running in@48-60 hours (strained ACL) but, the ICES is so portable that it is my go to device now. THANK YOU!!!

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Thanks. I also wish I had the M1 or any other form of ICES-PEMF 15 years ago… actually 35 years ago in my case.

Basically, I only really started using the first version of the ICES-PEMF technology when I had developed it sufficiently for practical use about 10 years ago. I had suffered with frequent back pain issues for many years, and I am pretty sure that if I had used ICES-PEMF on these problems when they first appeared, I could have prevented the long, slow progression of my back pain into the chronic crippling condition that it developed into, and I could have minimized the effects of specific injuries such as the injury to my back during a fire rescue response when I was a firefighter. Without years of accumulated unhealed injuries prior to that, I am confident that I could have recovered from it and the many other small injuries over the years.

I just want to make sure this technology is available to my children and grandchildren, so they do not have to helplessly watch themselves slip into chronic pain and disability when they could easily cut that process short and prevent its progression.

I really hope it helps you the same way.

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Bob , any thoughts on pemf effects on internal scar tissue? Can it remodel internal scar tissue. Any thoughts.

I suspect it may be helpful. But all attempts I have made to try to put together a research project on that topic have not come to pass. This is an area dominated by academic research, usually in Plastic Surgery departments. Developing research collaborations in that culture is exceedingly difficult.
Anecdotally, people tell me they get reduced inflammation and swelling near their internal scarring. They often tell me it is helpful. But honestly, I do not know for sure.

I am going to be lending mine to a person who is struggling to move and will go homeless again if they can’t work.

I am interested that it is Schumann 4 rather than Schumann 5 that you mention.

I want to just set it to a setting so all the person has to do is turn it on and off because I know that they won’t be able to see the words and, though I bought the M-1 with so many of the protocols in mind based on PubMed studies, protocols won’t mean anything to this person. On and off is the only thing that will matter.

I am explaining all of that because I am choosing between Omni 8 and Schumann 4 or even Schumann 5. Habituation is what is going through my mind.

Do you have concepts about how long it takes to start having it?

I am not giving it to them for months. I have done that and people had said they would try it and never did, so I am just going to give it for 2 or 3 weeks, but want to make sure it is a setting, which has enough variety within it.

I am going to say that I don’t emotionally like Omni 8. How’s that for a psychological answer? I find the ticking more annoying with it. I don’t mind it when it is on my ankle, but hate it when it is on my shoulder.

That brings out a good point. When I say there is no “special secret frequency”, what I mean is that there is not just one, special frequency or pattern that always works for a specific application for all people. Individual variation is significant. And some people find certain patterns soothing, while other people find the same pattern irritating, therefore they prefer a different pulse pattern. I attribute this to human diversity, not to a fundamental and universal property of any particular PEMF pattern.

The general trend I see with people is that, for most people, for most applications related to pain, inflammation, or peripheral nerve issues, the pattern “Omni8” works well, and many people like it too. They quickly become accustomed to the clicking and occasional buzzing, and many people tell me these sounds give them reassurance that it is doing something. But some people find this irritating.

This general trend seems to be true for all of the patterns on M1: various different patterns work more or less the same as far as their intended purpose, to reduce pain for example, but some people simply like some patterns more than others. There are no hard and fast rules, but in general, most people seem to find the Omni8 effective for them, and they like it, so they use it. Some people do not like the zipping sounds created by some of the higher frequency bursts, so they prefer a pattern without those bursts, such as Schumann 3 or 4. Schumann 5 includes higher frequencies than Schumann 1 - 4, so some people like it, others find it more irritating.

But the one trend I do tend to see is that, for people with very severe inflammation and pain issues, they care less about subtle feelings and more about just regaining basic function again. In these cases, the most widely used pattern is Omni8. That is why we set it as the default pattern for most of our Micro-Pulse ICES devices.

So, if you have to pick one pattern for a person who is in real, severe distress, I would try Omni8.

As far as habituation is concerned, what I observe is that, for PEMF, this is a slow process of desensitization to the stimulation that happens over a period usually of weeks to months. But if you introduce at least some variation into the pulse pattern, the body does not seem to habituate, and in fact the responsiveness of the body to PEMF can tend to get better over a period of months or years.

So, we generally include at least some variation in all of our pulse patterns to minimize habituation. This is true for all pulse patterns except the “fixed frequency” protocols such as 1 pps, 2 pps, etc.

As a result, no one has ever reported to me that their ICES-PEMF device becomes less effective over time, unless the device is malfunctioning and needs repairs or a new set of coils.

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Okay, that is helpful. I will give it on Omni8.

Let me try to understand this, you already have put the variety in all of your patterns to deal with that problem and because of your having done that, the body gets more and more responsive, instead of desensitizing.

You have done the work for us and we just need to turn it on.

That sounds good to me.

I guess I should say, “Thank you” then.

That is correct. All of the ICES-PEMF patterns have variation built-in to them to mitigate habituation and to accommodate individual variation.

Even the original A9a?

The original A9 used the original A9 pulse pattern which was somewhat different than the newer Omni8 pattern, but the original A9 pattern also included variation in the pulse pattern every 10 minutes or so.

We make continual improvements to all of our systems, so we upgraded all A9 systems about 2 years ago to use the newer Omni8 protocol, which most people in our beta testing liked slightly more than the original A9 pattern. The difference was small, but enough to make an improvement.

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