Magnetotherapy in practice
Magnetotherapy is a widely used physical therapy method in Western Europe. The electromagnetic field is generated by a current flowing through a coil. It accelerates microcirculation and tissue regeneration processes. Here you can readabout the diseases that can be treated with magnetotherapy. In this article, I write about how to use magnetotherapy for best results.
Key parameters of magnetotherapy
Magnetic therapy is defined by four main parameters: field strength (Gauss), frequency (Hz), duration (hours and minutes) and cycle time (DC).
The intensity of the field is still expressed in Gauss, despite the fact that the SI system uses Tesla. The magnetic intensity is an important parameter for the effectiveness of the treatment.
To give an example, the Earth’s magnetic field is 0.3-0.7 Gauss (30-70 µTesla). At the other extreme, intensities above 1000 mTesla (10 000 Gauss) can cause permanent genetic damage.
In home magnetic therapy treatments, intensities lower than 10 mTesla (100 Gauss) are used for biostimulation, regeneration treatments, while those between 10-100 mTesla (100-1000 Gauss) are used for healing treatments.
Devices suitable for medical magnetotherapy generally use low frequencies (between 1-200 Hz). The lower frequencies in this range are mainly used to treat bone and joint disorders, while the higher frequencies are used to treat soft tissue (tendons, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, nerves).
The time (duration) of each treatment depends on the lesion. Disorders of bone formation, such as prolonged fracture healing, pseudo-arthritis, osteonecrosis, usually require 6-8 hours of treatment per day (for 1-2 months). For low back pain, tendonitis and similar complaints, shorter treatment times are appropriate. 30 minutes a day for 20-30 days.
The electromagnetic field can be continuous or pulsed. The cycle time (DC) determines whether there is pulsation. If the cycle time is 100%, the magnetic field is continuous. If it is below 100%, then it is pulsating. The default cycle time in Magnum devices is 50%. This means that the magnetism and the pause are of the same length (on – off). Continuous magnetism has a more intense effect on the organs, but it may not be the better one!
Pulsation often has better results! For example: you want to drive a nail into a board. If you put the hammer on the head of the nail and keep “pushing” it, the nail will not go into the board. But if you hammer it… This example, while not entirely accurate, illustrates how the intermittent pulse is different.
When to change the set programmes?
In Magnum magnetotherapy devices, the parameters of each program are set according to medical guidelines. They usually do not need to be changed – unless your doctor recommends otherwise.
The field intensity should be changed if, for example, the area to be treated is covered with a thick bandage, plaster or other fixation. Although the magnetic field will still penetrate these, it is necessary to increase the field intensity. The frequency and cycle times for each programme are also based on medical research, so you don’t need to adjust the frequency either.
For severe bone disorders (pseudoarthritis, osteoporosis, fracture), the default treatment time for programs is set to the minimum required. In these cases, longer treatment is better. Therefore, for these, set a treatment time of several hours when you have time for longer treatment.
In general, for home use, only change the default setting on your device if your doctor specifically recommends it.
A pulsating magnetic field is created by an electric current passing through a coil. A solenoid is a metal surrounded by a series of coils. The direction of the current determines the polarity, so each solenoid has a north and a south pole. The “S” indicates the South pole of the solenoid and the “N” indicates the North pole. The field is therefore created both above and below the coil.
Knowing the poles is important for correct solenoid placement.
Solenoids placed side by side
If you place a solenoid with one of its poles on the surface of the body, its magnetic field will penetrate the body. It has an effect both under the solenoid and in its immediate surroundings. If the area to be treated is large (e.g. the spine from the neck to the waist), several solenoids are needed. If only one is available, it is necessary to treat in several steps. First on the neck, then between the shoulder blades, on the back and finally on the waist. This of course takes four times as long.
If you have more than one solenoid, you can treat a larger area at once. In this case, place each solenoid with the same pole towards the skin. This way they create a common magnetic field.
In many cases, the area to be treated is small. E.g. wrist fracture, leg fracture. In such cases, the solenoid should be placed on either side of the injured area. In this way, the magnetic field on both sides is combined, creating a larger and deeper penetration.
Achieving a coherent magnetic field is only possible if the coils are properly positioned! The figure shows the polarity. The two solenoids should be as parallel as possible, opposite each other, otherwise the two fields will not be connected (and the effect will remain somewhat weaker)
Before you put the solenoid on, the first thing you should do is check the polarity. This will determine how it should be placed and what kind of treatment it is suitable for.
Magnetic treatments can be done lying down. But solenoids can be fixed with Velcro tape. So you can even treat while working in the office.
Like all physical therapy methods, the effects of magnetotherapy are not “immediate”. The meaning of biostimulation is: stimulation of biological-physiological processes. For example, the healing of a broken bone is a process that takes months. A cut will close in a few days, but the scar will reach its final strength in 90-100 days.
Biostimulation treatments at regular intervals and over a long period of time (weeks) help and speed up these processes, but do not shorten them to a few days! Magnetotherapy is used to treat bones, joints and ligaments, which are particularly slow to heal, so patience and perseverance are required.
I will list some conditions and the general treatment principles, frequency and treatment times associated with them. Ask your doctor for a personalised treatment protocol. If you do not get one from him, follow the general suggestions below. You will find the necessary treatment programmes in the Magnum magnetotherapy models, but not all of them. Check the program list before you buy to see if the device is right for your needs.
GENERAL TISSUE REGENERATION
This treatment is commonly used for large area abnormalities such as neuropathy. The main cause of this condition is damage to nerves, receptors and insufficient regeneration. The programme can also be used to support the immune system in general and as a preventive measure. For example, starting 2-3 weeks before the “season” helps to increase the “strength” of the immune system. It helps to prevent spring-autumn flu or respiratory allergies.
General protocol: 6-8 hours a day for 12 weeks
Fracture treatment programs can be used from the first day after injury. The magnetic field penetrates the plaster and plastic brace. However, the thickness of the plaster increases the distance between the solenoids and the bone. It is therefore recommended to increase the magnetic field intensity by 50-60%.
Opposite placement of the solenoids is important! The coils should be placed above the fracture. If you have more than one solenoid, you can use both to create a more intense magnetic field. It is particularly useful if the diameter of the area to be treated is large, such as above the femur and tibia.
General protocol: 8 hours a day for 30 days
Used when bone deficiency has been diagnosed by X-ray or MRI. Also applicable in case of insufficient bone blood supply. This condition is usually caused by injury, but can be caused by long-term corticosteroid use or excessive alcohol consumption.
General protocol: 8 hours a day for 5 months
Usually used for bone bruising and periosteal damage. The injury causes an abnormal accumulation of fluid around the bone. The main cause of this condition is a strong and blunt impact. The second most common cause of bone oedema is wear of the articular cartilage.
General protocol: 8 hours a day for 30 days
Delayed fracture consolidation
Used in cases where the fracture is not healing properly. This is the case in people with osteoporosis or vascular/metabolic changes. Less commonly, it may also be caused by inadequate fixation – if the broken bone ends can move. You should place the solenoids opposite each other if possible. The daily duration of treatment can vary from a few hours to 10-12 hours.
General protocol: 3-8 hours a day for 30 days
Recommended when fracture healing exceeds nine months. For this reason, the patient has often undergone surgery and/or received synthesis devices (plates, screws or external fixators). These can make it difficult to position and fix the solenoids properly. Therefore, consultation with the treating physician is essential. An individual fitting plan may be required, taking the situation into account.
General protocol: 8 hours a day for 5 months
Magnetic therapy is recommended for progressive (gradual) weakening of the bone structure. Bone tissue is vital for supporting the body. Bone structure undergoes continuous changes throughout our lives. In osteoporosis, this bone remodelling mechanism is distorted, resulting in structural weakening of the bone.
The pulsed electromagnetic field activates the bone-building processes. It restores the balance between the activity of osteoblasts (the cells responsible for bone formation) and osteoclasts (the cells responsible for bone breakdown).
To treat larger areas, it may be useful to use MAT 100 or TotalBody mats (optional accessories).
General protocol: 8-10 hours a day for 12 weeks
Joint cartilage wear, Arthritis, Back pain
General protocol: 30 minutes a day for 6 weeks
General protocol: 15-40 minutes a day for 3 weeks
General protocol: 20-45 minutes a day for 3 weeks
Algodystrophy / Sudeck’s syndrome
For algodystrophy syndrome, magnetotherapy can be used even if the limb is immobilised in a plaster cast. It can also be used for microtrauma of the foot, upper leg, wrist and hand. In these cases, the first phase is characterised by oedema, redness, heat and intense pain, especially during exercise on the affected limb.
General protocol: 4-6 hours daily for 4-8 weeks
Hip and knee replacement
Magnetotherapy supports regeneration (recovery) after implant placement. It enhances prosthesis incorporation and the formation of strong surrounding bone tissue. The medical literature recommends a minimum of 3-4 hours of treatment per day, but your doctor may recommend a different application time.
General protocol: 3-4 hours daily for 60 days
To be used after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction or cartilage cleaning. Pulsed magnetic therapy can be started from the first days after surgery. It reduces pain, edema and inflammation and speeds up healing.
General protocol: 4-6 hours daily for 60 days
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Magnetotherapy can be used as soon as the first symptoms are noticed. The greatest improvement is seen at this early stage. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a lesion caused by compression of the median nerve. The nerve runs from the forearm through a canal called the carpal tunnel and up to the fingers. Magnetotherapy helps to reduce pain, reduce inflammation and improve mobility of the hand and fingers.
General protocol: 30 minutes a day for at least 15 days.
If necessary, this cycle can be repeated
Tendinitis, tennis elbow
General protocol: 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 3 weeks
Rotator cuff disorders
General protocol: 3-8 hours per day, 4 weeks
For tendonitis, tennis elbow, rotator cuff disorders, solenoids should be placed over the painful area, preferably opposite each other. In the acute phase, magnetotherapy can be used in combination with other physiotherapies and medication prescribed by the doctor, and in the sub-acute phase as a stand-alone treatment.
Treatment accessories and their use
There are a variety of solenoids available for Magnum magnetotherapy devices. These can be used for different treatments. You should choose based on the area or condition you need to treat.
Magnum flexible solenoid, standard
One (or two for some appliances) 30×10 cm flexible solenoid is supplied by default.
There are 2 coils of opposite polarity. Therefore, use it specifically to treat fractures, inflammations, injuries of the arm and leg bones, hand, foot, wrist, elbow, shoulder, ankle, knee, hip. It should be applied like a blood pressure cuff, i.e. it should be placed around the area to be treated. This design ensures that the two solenoids are placed opposite each other on the bone or joint. This way the magnetic fields are linked.
Magnum flexible solenoid, large
Optionally available with a 40×15 cm flexible solenoid for large area handling.
There are 4 coils with the same polarity. Therefore specifically suitable for the treatment of the spine, pelvis, hip or longitudinal fracture of the femur. This cuff should not be applied in a circular manner, but should be laid along the spine, for example. The coils create a magnetic field with a large surface area but not too deep.
SingleSoft is suitable for small area management. It contains a single magnetic coil in a soft sponge. The smooth side of the case is the south (S) pole, the north (N) is the opposite side where the strap fastener is located.
Its size is 12x12cm, i.e. it can be ideal for the neck, wrist, hand, shoulder area.
Magnum Soft4 solenoid
Contains 4 coils in soft sponge bags. The smooth side of the case is the south (S) pole of the coil, the north (N) side is the opposite side where the strap retainer is located.
The size is 25x25cm, making it ideal for back, waist, pelvis, hips. It can be a good solution when placed under the affected part of the body e.g. tennis elbow, epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis. It can be used at work or at the desk.
Magnum Pocket Pro solenoid
Contains 2 coils in a zip-lock removable textile case. The case clearly indicates the south (S) and north (N) poles. Suitable for smaller areas. If you have more than one Pocket Pro, you can place them next to each other with the same pole (for treating larger areas) or opposite each other, e.g. for treating fractures or joint injuries.
You can attach them with Velcro straps.
Three types of mattress are available. The smallest is the MAT 100 mattress. Its size is 70×45 cm. It contains 4 coils with textile cover and “memory foam”. This means that you can treat it by placing it on a chair or armchair and sitting on it. Ideal for treating e.g. thigh bones, hips, pelvis, lower back, back, shoulder and neck. Also excellent for long treatments lasting several hours!
These large mats are recommended for long treatments lasting several hours, when the whole body or a large part of it needs to be treated at the same time. For example, osteoporosis, multiple arthritis, spinal disorders, allergies, immune strengthening, circulatory improvement or sleep improvement.
The TotalBody mattress has a total size of 70×180 cm. It can be placed on the bed, under the sheets, so you can even treat yourself while you sleep. The mattress consists of 4 smaller units.
For Total Body 200, only 2 of the 4 mattress units have magnetic coils. This allows you to create multiple distributions by varying the mattress elements.
How to choose from the Magnum magnetotherapy machine models
The main differences between the devices are the number of treatment channels, the intensity of the magnetic field and the number of treatment programs.
Number of treatment channels
Only one magnetic actuator can be connected to the Magnum L. Buy it if you are treating a single-sided problem. For example, you want to stimulate the healing of a fracture in your wrist or elbow.
The Magnum XL, 2500, XL Pro and 3000 Pro operate two channels simultaneously. With the 3000 Pro, it is possible to run different programmes on the two channels (for example, a bone fracture on one output and an arthritis programme on the other). This is important if, for example, you are treating two patients at the same time or sharing a treatment with your partner. With the Magnum XL, 2500, XL Pro, it is possible to operate two operators at the same time, but only with the same programme. So, for example, if you have inflammation in both knees, you can treat them at the same time.
The Magnum 3500 Pro has four channels, so you can treat up to four channels at the same time. In 2+2 mode, you can set different programs on outputs 1-2 and 3-4, meaning you can treat two patients and up to 2 full-body mats at the same time.
I mentioned above that intensities lower than 100 Gauss are used for biostimulation and regeneration treatments, while those between 100-1000 Gauss are used for healing treatments. Consequently, higher intensity results in a stronger healing effect. The higher the magnetic field intensity of a device, the higher its price. You have to find a compromise between the complaint and your budget.
Just because the magnetic intensity is low does not mean that the device is not effective! With a lower intensity device, more treatment will be needed for improvement and healing. It’s like driving a car: if you drive slower, it takes more time to reach the finish line. But you will get there
Number of treatment programmes
The more expensive a device, the more programs it provides. Treatment programs are created based on medical experience and guidelines. A different frequency, intensity and treatment time is required for a minor inflammation (e.g. a wrist) than for an Achilles tendon or even a fracture of the femoral neck or osteoarthritis.
If a device has a small number of programs, they can be used for “general” treatment, such as general fracture treatment. In more expensive devices, several programs are broken down, i.e. separate programs are available for fractures of the wrist, humerus, tibia or femur, etc.
You don’t necessarily need the device with the most programmes! But the one that suits your current needs. That could be the Magnum L. Magnum XL and XL pro also offer rehabilitation and beauty-wellness programmes. The Magnum 2500, 3000 Pro and 3500 Pro can be suitable not only for home treatments, but also for physiotherapy treatments.
Comparing Magnum devices
|Magnum device version||L||XL||2500||XL Pro||3000 Pro||3500 Pro|
|number of channels||1||2||2||2||2||4|
|simultaneously treating multiple patients||no||not||no||no||Yes 1+1 battle.||Yes, 2+2 buckles.|
|Intensity per channel (Gauss)||120||140||160||200||200||200|
|max. magnetic intensity (Gauss)||120||280||320||400||400||800|
|connect mattress||no||yes||yes||yes||yes||two at a time|
I write my blog articles based on decades of medical and medical technology experience.
Healing work and therapeutic methods are constantly changing and evolving. Medical devices designed for personal use provide a new range of treatments for the doctor and the patient.
In my articles I describe these new devices and their applications.
I hope to help you maintain or regain your health.