Bioeletromagnetics (BEM) is an emerging science that studies how living organisms interact with electromagnetic (EM) fields. Electrical phenomena are found in all living organisms, and electrical currents in the body can produce magnetic fields that extend outside the body. Those that extend outside the body can be influenced by external magnetic and EM fields. Changes in the bodys natural fields may produce physical and behavioral changes.
Endogenous (internal) fields are distinguished from exogenous (external) fields. The latter can be natural, such as the earths geomagnetic field, or artificial, such as power lines, transformers, appliances, radio transmitters, or medical devices. Oscillating nonionizing EM fields in the extremely low frequency (ELF) range can have vigorous biological effects that may be beneficial. Changes in the field configuration and exposure pattern of low-level EM fields can produce specific biological responses, and certain frequencies have specific effects on body tissues.
The mechanism by which EM fields produce biological effects is under increasing study. At the cutting edge of BEM research is the question of how endogenous EM fields change with consciousness. Nonionizing BEM medical applications are classified according to whether they are thermal or nonthermal in biological tissue. Thermal applications of nonionizing radiation include radio frequency (RF) hyperthermia, laser and RF surgery, and RF diathermy.
The most important BEM modalities in alternative medicine are nonthermal applications of nonionizing radiation. Major new applications of nonthermal, nonionizing EM fields are bone repair, nerve stimulation, wound healing, treatment of osteoarthritis, electroacupuncture, tissue regeneration, and immune system stimulation.
In the study of other alternative medical treatments, BEM offers a unified conceptual framework that may help explain how diagnostic and therapeutic techniques such as acupuncture and homeopathy may produce results that are hard to understand from a more conventional viewpoint.
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