Electromedicine is defined as the use of electricity in medicine.
Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields (PEMF) are used to treat non-union fractures in hospitals. PEMF has been around for about 30 years. PEMF stems from the work of Dr Robert O Becker (an orthopedic surgeon) on cell regeneration. One of his students Dr Andy Bassett went on to patent the PEMF concept. PEMF works by creating a magnetic field and passing it through the body. This induces a small current which stimulates bone growth.
The use of small electric currents was demonstrated by Dr Robert O Becker (an orthopedic surgeon) as effective at treating intractable infections eg. osteomyelitis. This approach also works on less serious infections. This now appears to be becoming more common in hospitals. A short summary of his work is found here:
Beckers book "The Body Electric" is a much more detailed summary of his work:
Doctors Kaali and Lyman patented a device which kills blood borne viruses in 1990
Dr Robert O Becker has a 1998 patent for tissue healing and regeneration using electrical stimulation:
An example of an FDA approved PEMF generator is the SomaPulse:
PEMF increases stem cell production ~400 %.
PEMF increases ATP (energy) production by 500 % if the micro current is 500 micro amps or less. N.B. More than 500 micro amps results in a decrease in ATP production.
Dr Oz shows how PEMF works:
The latest weapon in the fight against cancer are carbon nano-tubes which are inserted into a tumour. When a small current is applied it liquifies the tumour via Irreversible Electroporation (IRE)
Electric fields are now an approved FDA treatment:
Small currents when applied across a cell make the cell ion chanels more active. This has many useful medical applications like increasing the absorption of drugs/nutrients into a cell. Cancer cells are anerobic (do not use oxygen for metabolism): Increasing the movement of oxygen across the cell membrane makes cancer cells die (refer Fats: Linoleic acid).
Bob Beck PhD gives an interesting talk on the history of these devices (including electroporosis):
TENS (Transcutaneious Electrical Nerve Stimulation) stimulates muscles to contract with electrically. This can be used as a way of training muscle groups for health reasons or for sport. Health reasons include back pain where increased excercise increases blood flow which flushes away toxins and improves nutrient flow. It also increases muscle strength which stabilies the painful area.
One popular implementation of the TENS concept is the circulation booster which helps increase lymphatic drainage in the legs by muscle contraction:
Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) is the oldest therapy and is recognised as effective in severe depression. ECT today uses mains power, draws hundreds of Watts but is low current ~800 mA.
Today much better treatments exist e.g. Neurostar is FDA approved, research validated and uses Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields to treat depression:
Neuro Electric Therapy (NET) is a very new battery operated therapy which uses low voltages and currents. It is used for addiction and depression.
For more info try http://www.netdevice.net/
The Alpha-Stim is an FDA approved device that can be used for anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is popular among veterans for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder):
Oxford University has shown that a 1 mA current stimulating the parietal lobes from right to left improves mathematical ability for 6 months:
University of Sydney Professor Snyder has shown that creativity can be enhanced by low level impulses applied for 10-15 minutes:
Dr Robert Beck (Physics) was the owner of the USA's largest EEG company for many years. He designed EEG's and trained people in how to use them. Beck's talk on the history and science of electronic brain stimulation is comprehensive, well informed and extremely interesting:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI produces a very strong magnetic field which is used to detect hydrogen atoms in the body. Carbon (13) and other elements can also be used to create images of soft tissues without dangerous ionising radiation.
These are VERY expensive instruments and so access is usually limited by availability and cost.
Electro Encephalo Graph (EEG)
EEG's are used usually with multiple electrodes attached to the scalp to measure the electrical activity of the brain.
EEG's are very useful to diagnose physical brain impairment, to measure its scope and to localise the impairment. EEG's are non-intrusive, repeatable, safe, fast and relatively cheap. Interpretation is complex which is probably why they are underutilised. Usually only found within neurological or psychological specialisations.
The Eyeport is a training system for vision. However in doing so it can also improve brain function (the eyes are connected directly to the brain). The unit uses alternating flashes of red and blue LED's and glasses with red/blue lenses. The different coloured lenses mean that each eye perceives the LED's at a slightly different frequency... and this provides a very effective basis for exercising the eyes. The speed is increased as the training progresses. People with a known brain dysfunction or measurable problems with hand/eye co-ordination are the ones most likely to benefit from these training techniques:
Light is electro magnetic radiation i.e. the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Lack of sunlight results in VitD deficiency and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)... a type of depression. A simple way to improve the indoor environment is to use a source of light that approximates natural light: Full spectrum lighting is cheap and easy to fit.
Triphosphor (top) v's a full spectrum light (bottom). Notice that the spectrum is continuous in one but has big gaps in the other.
Spectrum of sunlight: Note the spectrum is continuous and relatively smooth.
Triphosphor fluorescent: Note the jagged nature of the spectrum and many missing colours.
Full spectrum lighting: note that the spectrum is continuous and all colours are present.
Full spectrum lighting allows you to colour match and is a much more pleasant reading light (visual acuity is higher).
CRI (Colour Rendering Index) determines how close to natural light a globe is. A normal globe found in the home will have a CRI of ~60. A good globe is one with a CRI of 96-98. For more information about full spectrum lighting try Viva-Lite:
NB. If you desire both energy efficiency and no flicker then the new T5 lights meet both these requirements. T5 lights come standard with electronic ballasts which operate at 20,000 Hz. At this higher frequency there is no perceptible flicker and the tube puts out more light. Magnetic ballasts are normally found with the older T8 tubes and operate at only 50Hz. Flicker is visible at that lower frequency.
Negative ions are molecules that have an extra electron (a negative charge -). Postive ions are missing an electron (positively charged +). Neutral molecules have just the right amount of electrons (no charge).
In the air only small negative ions are highly mobile.
It is these small negative ions that have the greatest biological activity. In particular it is negative ions of oxygen that are most desirable.
Negative ions occur naturally in the environment. Negative ions are generated primarily by electrical activity in the atmosphere: Negative ions are much higher after a storm. Negative ions are higher outside than they are inside a building. Negative ions increase as altitude increases.
Negative ions are virtually nil in a car because the metal forms a faraday cage (the outside of a car is positively charged). In offices equipment such as photocopiers are positively charged and remove negative ions from the air.
Negative ions help to remove dust, bacteria and other pollutants from the air: positively charged particles are removed when they come in contact with a negatively charged ion. Thus negative ions are very useful in limiting the spread of airborne diseases. Negative ions help increase attention span (it is why air after a storm feels refreshing).
For all these reasons low negative ion concentrations are one of the causes of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
Thus increasing negative ion concentrations has many positive effects.
Most ionisers put out very small amounts of negative ions. The only ioniser that puts out large amounts of negative ions is the Elanra (an Australian product):
Negative ions can be felt most easily on the mucous membranes e.g. lips. However cheap detectors consisting of a metal plate, capacitor (to collect charge) and an LED (to discharge the power) are all it takes to carry out a rough estimate of negative ion output (the more the light flashes the stronger the output). NB. Tandy electronics includes one of these very simple testing units when you buy one of their cheap negative ion generators.
Further reading: Charles Wallach. The Ion Controversy, 1983
Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF)
EMF can be a hazard and reducing exposure can have positive health outcomes.
There are 3 major electromagnetic effects which are hazardous:
1) Radio Frequency (RF)... non-heating effects
2) Induction (charging effects)
3) Microwaves (heating effects)
Microwaves are considered to occur at frequencies between ~300 Mhz and 300 Ghz (wavelength ~1 mm - 1 meter) and are considered to be non-ionising (do not remove electrons).Microwave ovens which use microwaves to heat (excite electrons to a higher orbit) operate between ~915 Mhz (industrial) and ~2.45 Ghz (home).
It is claimed that exposure to small amounts of microwave radiation is not harmful yet thermography shows that mobile phones heat the side of the head. Other research shows this heating results in changed activity within the cells.
The debate is complicated because:
- The microwave spectrum is fairly broad.
- The output levels of mobile phones can vary dramatically (2W GSM & 200mW CDMA/3G).
- Other wireless devices like routers and cordless phones (50mW) use less power but you may be exposed to them for longer periods.
- The proximity of the device to your head/body determines exposure
- Testing is usually carried out using a constant signal but it has recently been discovered that a varying signal (like that of a mobile phone) is more dangerous
Mobile phone microwave radiation is now limited to an Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of 1.6 W/Kg N.B. Most smart phones output at the highest level while many of the cheapest phones have the lowest output levels.
A good summary of SAR ratings is found here:
Radio Frequency (RF)
RF occurs in the kHz range (the am band of the radio). RF is generated when AC power is dirty: AC power should be a pure sine wave. If the wave is not clean then dV/dT (change in voltage over change in time) increases and your power lines create Radio Frequency (RF) radiation in a range which is biologically harmful.
The relationship between dirty power and RF is linear. It can result in headaches or difficulty concentrating in the short term... and can result in more serious health consequences in the long term. The simplest and cheapest way to measure EMF is usually by measuring the dirty power with a GS meter which plugs into the power line and measures dV/dT (change in voltage over time). A slightly more complicated and expensive method is to use a handheld meter. Oscilloscopes can also be used (as above) but are the most expensive method (and not as portable).
Variable motors such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners are a common source of interference which creates EMF. Other common sources of EMF include Compact Fluorescents Lamps (CFL's) and light dimming switches. Fortunately it is possible to add filters to your power lines to reduce EMF.
For more info try http://www.magdahavas.com/
An EMF filter is just a 20uF motor run capacitor (motor start capacitor also works) with a 2W 27 KOhm resistor (1W works fine) across the terminals to discharge the capacitor.
Induction is mainly a problem in the ELF (Extra Low Frequency) range. It occurs when a wave passes through a stationary object: it results in a current being generated. This is the principle magneto's and alternators are based on. In fact all our power is generated this way. What few people know is when you sit near electrical equipment (AC 50-60 Hz) the sine wave that passes down the power lines also radiates out into the surroundings (unless the cables are shielded)... and your body charges up. It is common for a person sitting near AC electrical equipment to be charged up to 6-10V although depending on how much equipment you are surrounded by you can charge up to 20-50V. Your cell potential is ~25 mV normally (<20 mV when sick and ~50 mV when healing). When standing in the garden in bare feet your voltage will be around 0.03 V (30 mV). Thus the induced charge is 2 or 3 orders of magnitude higher than the normal around electrical equipment or power lines. That includes the power lines running behind the wall!!!
This helps explain why many people can't sleep in bed... as they're often surrounded by electrical equipment and their charge is equal to or sometimes even higher than during the day.
Measuring this charge is simple. Just use a normal multi-meter (must be sensitive enough) set to AC Volts (in the 0-20 V range). Anand has created an excellent range of video's to show you how to measure induced charges in your body:
Fortunately it's very easy to neutralise your charge. Just by grounding yourself (aka earthing) you will reduce your charge to ~0.3 V. This is most simply achieved by connecting a conductive mat to the earth wire on your power. You should also remove as much electrical equipment from around your bed as you can... and try to position the bed so that power lines do not pass near to it. This can also be done with the work area.
A less obvious benefit of earthing yourself is that the earth provides a ready source of electrons. This can have a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
Overall decreasing these charges in your body improves concentration and makes sleep more restful.
NB. This effect does not occur with DC equipment.
Power Factor Correction
If you're wasting power it also results in increasing amounts of EMF.
Another way to reduce EMF is to correct your power factor (it's meant to be 1). The savings in power are often around 1/3 and that also adds up to a signficant saving on your power bill:
It is now known that dirty power can make electronic power meters read incorrectly. Errors of up to +582 % have been measured. Refer Static Energy Meter Errors Caused by Conducted Electromagnetic Interference IEEE Leferink 2016