Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) therapy is a treatment strategy which relies upon electromagnetic fields targeting the body at the cell level. Meanwhile, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy uses a low-voltage electric current to relieve symptomatic pain by exciting sensory nerves and stimulating the pain gating mechanism. Even though PEMF devices and TENS units are closely related, they differ significantly.
As the name implies, PEMF devices use electromagnetic fields created by means of a copper coil. These magnetic fields are applied to the entire body with the purpose of improving the repair and health of cells, tissues and whole body. In contrast, TENS units make use of a low-voltage electric current that stimulates the nerves.
PEMF devices and TENS units also vary in their range of clinical applications. Although TENS units are exceptionally effective at handling symptomatic pain, they can't influence the recovery and healing process in any way other than pain relief. Conversely, clinicians are able to use PEMF to enhance the repair of damaged cells, stimulate healing of nerves, decrease inflammation, and also improve the function of our cells.
Patient’s suffering from non-union of fractures may also use a PEMF device to alleviate pain and accelerate the recovery process, whereas a TENS unit will only have the ability to lessen the pain. Since a PEMF treatment relies upon electromagnetic fields, they do not require direct contact with skin. PEMF therapy can be applied while wearing light clothes, which makes them a more suitable alternative. PEMF devices can also target a larger area of the body at once in comparison to the coverage capacity of TENS electrodes which need to be removed from one area of the body to another.
The TakeawayAlthough many individuals believe PEMF devices and TENS units to be in similar, they utilize very different mechanisms of action to accomplish their therapeutic outcomes and differ considerably in their application. TENS units are primarily useful in pain management, while PEMF devices can facilitate healing while relieving pain.