PEMF or Pulsed Electromagnetic field therapy uses bursts of electromagnetic radiation to heal bones and tissues and to stimulate organs. The technique has gained popularity among athletes because of its multiple benefits. Athletes strive for perfect health to reduce injuries while maintaining a heavy workout regime. Several have resorted to PEMF therapy to ensure that they are in the best physical condition possible for their sporting activities. Sports Journal says that PEMF therapy is "attractive to some athletes who are weary of the adverse effects of other products or procedures". In this article we go over the benefits of PEMF specifically for athletes. For a more in depth introduction then read our answer to "What is PEMF therapy?"
Advantages of PEMF Therapy for athletes
PEMF therapy has multiple advantages for athletes. It increases the energy level of athletes by invoking natural mechanisms, and because it is a non-invasive technique, no side effects are experienced. The use of PEMF leads to improved circulation promoting the growth of cells and the proper function of various organs of the body. People with better blood circulation are also less likely to come down with illnesses. PEMF also increases partial pressures of oxygen in the blood. This translates to quicker and a more efficient metabolism.
Besides having anti-traumatic effects, PEMF also has anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is at the root of several illnesses, as well as being ever present due to the high demand on an athletes body. PEMF also promotes the synthesis and activation of proteins and compounds in the body that increases the natural regeneration ability of the body. PEMF therapy also reduces edema. Edema is abnormal accumulation of fluid in tissues.
By preventing the hardening of muscles, PEMF therapy reduces the risk of torn ligaments and muscles. It also promotes faster healing of injuries, something that is extremely beneficial for all athletes. Athletes use PEMF to help with recovery when performing at a top level. Reduced inflammation and the increased recovery of muscles means the athlete can bounce back and maintain their optimal level of fitness and condition.
Muscles usually tend to be sore and tensed after athletic activity. PEMF therapy helps in relieving these and other effects of intensive athletic activity, including the accumulation of lactic acid. The production of lactic acid is reduced by decreasing or eliminating the need for anaerobic respiration. PEMF therapy therefore aids the athlete to recover as fast as possible from the effects of the rigorous physical activity. Athletes take two to three days to recover from competitions. However, those who use PEMF therapy can recover at a much faster rate.
Injuries are unfortunately a reality for all athletes. In fact most professional athletes either have some sort of injury or are still in recovery mode to 100% from a past injury. PEMF therapy optimizes the body's natural mechanisms of dealing with and resolving these injuries. Furthermore, PEMF therapy provides substantial pain relief to the injured athletes. There are a range of different PEMF devices available for use on different parts of the body.
There are several other advantages of PEMF therapy for sports and athletic performance. These include muscle relaxation, increased endurance, increased flexibility, better hand-eye-motor synchronization, improved motor co-ordination and decreased oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the body cannot counter the harmful effects of accumulation of free radicals. PEMF therapy promotes deeper and more restorative sleep as well as cellular repair. The technique boosts physical strength and stamina, improves motor skills.
PEMF leads to an increase in ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) in highly metabolic organs and tissues such as the brain and muscle. ATP is a molecule that has been described as the energy currency of the body. Therefore, athletes who use PEMF are less prone to fatigue and are more likely to perform at optimal levels. PEMF therapy is an invaluable solution for athletes who travel internationally as it helps to reduce jet-lag and keep the athlete in the heights of mental and physical fitness.
PEMF also improves lung capacity. Lung capacity is the maximum amount of air that the lung can hold after the deepest inspiration. A high lung capacity is very advantageous for all physical activities and people with high lung capacity also tend to have better mental ability. All in hall, a high lung capacity translates to better general health. Swimmers will find an increased lung capacity particularly beneficial because it will enable them to hold their breaths for longer periods in water, suffer less exhaustion and generally improve their swimming.
Nutrition is another issue that is of grave importance for athletes. Many athletes take nutritional supplements to ensure that they meet the recommended daily allowances for various nutrients or as directed by their nutritionist. The cells that absorb nutrients function more efficiently when an athlete is exposed to PEMF therapy.
PEMF therapy can be used in tandem with organic sulfur to ensure that athletes get the maximum nutritional value of the food they ingest. This is because sulfur and other minerals also improve absorption of nutrients and increase oxygen content in tissues and hence can work together with PEMF therapy to produce a greater effect on the body.
Helping with the mental game
PEMF is also beneficial for the mental health of athletes. Clinically, it has gained application in the management of depression, anxiety disorders and emotional imbalances. The brain is usually stimulated by the magnetic waves that are produced by PEMF therapy, and this leads to increased alertness and sharpness among athletes, as well as boosted morale, interest and enthusiasm. PEMF aids athletes to deal with the mental stress that accompanies some of the cut-throat competitions that they engage in frequently. Reducing headaches, migraines and other disorders that affect the mental ability of athletes. Overall helping athletes to be in the best mental condition with sharp focus for competitions and training.
When to use PEMF Therapy as an athlete
Athletes can use PEMF before they begin their exercise routine or during their warm up because of its ability to stimulate tissues and organs, as well as promoting the optimal physiological conditions for physical activity. In fact, the warm up exercise itself can be replaced in its entirety by PEMF therapy, because PEMF warms muscles and conditions the whole body in readiness for exertion. Or after the the workload has been done to help with the recovery process. PEMF therapy does have side effects so be sure to stop treatment if you are suffering from one of these. You will also need to take into consideration whether you are using low-level or high-level pemf devices for when to undertake therapy.
PEMF therapy is an indispensable tool for athletes because of its positive effects in boosting their performance, helping them deal with injuries and keeping their mental acuity at peak levels. Athletes who have used PEMF therapy have told of enormous success and immense benefits, and the technique has been labelled as safe to use because there are no side effects that are associated with its use. Read our beginners guide to using pemf devices for more information on how you can apply PEMF treatment to your training plan.