How PEMF Therapy Can Help Boost Your Mental Wellness
With all of the disruptions to daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health conditions are on the rise. Isolation, grieving for lost loved ones, fear, anger, and a sudden loss of income have all contributed to a rise in depression and anxiety. Furthermore, those who have recovered from COVID-19 may have also experienced the neurological and mental complications of the virus, including delirium, agitation and trouble with memory and concentration.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, depression already affected about 193 million people globally. During the pandemic, this number has jumped to a staggering 246 million people (and rising).
At the same time, the World Health Organization reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or stopped mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide. These include disruptions in access to counseling, medications, and school and workplace mental health services. If you want to protect your mental health, it is more important than ever to supplement any professional therapy and prescribed medical treatments with healthy at-home habits like exercising, eating well, and practicing mindfulness.
Regularly using a pulsed electromagnetic frequency (PEMF) therapy device is another step you can take to help promote mental wellness, and can be easily integrated with other treatments and habits. For over 50 years, PEMF has been used for a wide-variety of therapeutic purposes, including memory loss and depression.
Mental wellness practices (including PEMF therapy) can be used by anyone wanting to boost their mood. But when it comes to people living with depression and anxiety; having simple, easily accessible ways to quickly alleviate symptoms is especially important during these turbulent times.
How do I know if I have depression or anxiety?
It’s normal to feel sad or nervous sometimes, or to have the occasional bad days. Depression and anxiety are different, in that these feelings last for a long time or make it difficult to function normally. While an official diagnosis of depression or anxiety requires an evaluation by a medical professional, recognizing the symptoms can be the first step to getting help where it is needed.
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities that you normally find enjoyable, such as sex, hobbies or sports
- Anger and irritability
- Sleep disturbances (sleeping too much or getting too little sleep)
- Lack of energy where even small tasks seem to require a large effort
- Changes in appetite and/or weight
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Trouble with memory, concentration or making decisions
- Unexplained physical ailments like back pain or headaches
Unlike a bad mood, the symptoms of depression are usually significant enough to interfere with work, school, social activities, and relationships. Whereas sadness, disappointment, and anger are all normal human reactions to difficult life events; depression may even cause people to feel miserable with no obvious reason why.
Just as occasional sadness doesn’t mean you are depressed, feeling anxious at times is a normal part of life and is not necessarily a sign of clinical anxiety. What makes clinical anxiety different is the length and intensity of the emotion you are experiencing. Clinical anxiety often doesn’t go away on its own, and may intensify over time to the point of interfering with day-to-day life.
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Feeling nervous and restless
- Having feelings of panic, or impending danger
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
- Trouble sleeping
- Wanting to avoid the things that trigger anxiety
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking about anything other than the current worry
In anxiety, the fight-or-flight centers of the nervous system become activated and stay activated even when there is no immediate danger present. When the fight-or-flight response is triggered, stress hormones create changes in the body. The resulting mental alertness, sweating, and quickened heart rate may help save your life if you are being chased by a dangerous animal. But these mental and physical changes can actually interfere with your quality of life if they happen when you’re not in serious danger (such as while driving, sitting at your desk, or shopping for groceries).
Here’s What You Can Do to Protect Your Mental Health at Home:
Close contact may not be possible, but it can still help to talk regularly with trusted friends and family who you know will listen to you if you have any issues. If friends and family are not available, you may also consider talking to your doctor, a therapist, or calling a support line.
Check Your Self-Talk
Recognizing negative self-talk and flipping the statements into more positive ones can be empowering and create resilience in difficult situations. Positive self-talk and optimism can be effective stress-management tools which ward off anxiety and can lead to a better overall quality of life. Some of the benefits of positive self-talk include less stress, better physical health, increased vitality, and greater life satisfaction.
Journaling is a great way to keep track of your emotions, but if you’re not the journaling type, even writing a list of tasks for the day and checking them off as you go can provide you with a sense of accomplishment. Deep breathing exercises, yoga or stretching, and listening to guided meditations are other good means of slowing down so that you can become aware of your emotions, while also relieving stress.
Look After Your Body
Exercising, eating nutritious foods, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and getting a good night’s sleep are all essential for healthy brain function. PEMF therapy is a great addition for looking after both body and mind, as it can make exercise easier by alleviating pain. A PEMF mat can easily be incorporated into gentle yoga, stretching, meditation, and even used to improve sleep.
Immediate and Safe Symptom Relief
If you have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, you should always consult with a medical professional when it comes to your treatment and medication. However, numerous studies have demonstrated that PEMF therapy is safe to use and substantially more effective than placebo treatments. PEMF therapy makes an excellent at-home addition to your professional treatment plan, as it can help enhance the benefits to your mental wellness.
Using electromagnetic fields to treat mental health conditions may seem unconventional, but research has shown that the therapy is not only effective, but fast-acting. A study conducted at McLean hospital (a Harvard Medical School affiliate) showed that after a single 20-minute exposure to low-field magnetic stimulation, individuals with depression and bipolar disorder showed an immediate and substantial improvement in their mood. For comparison, most medications for depression take 4 to 6 weeks before a mood change can be detected.
Another study showed that after 8 weeks of treatment with transcranial PEMF (T-PEMF), around 70% of patients showed a reduction in depression symptoms. What’s even more impressive is that every participant in the study had treatment-resistant depression, meaning that they had not achieved relief from symptoms with standard psychotherapy and medication interventions.
How PEMF Works to Improve Mental Health
PEMF has been used therapeutically for many conditions including pain, bone and wound healing, the treatment of certain cancers, memory loss, and depression. Still, it is only recently that scientists have been better able to explain just how it works.
In one of the most well-researched uses for PEMF, bone and cartilage repair, we know that PEMF works on a cellular level to help signal cell production, that it produces an anti-inflammatory reaction, and plays a role in hormonal responses. Because PEMF works on a cellular level and not on a specific body part or system, it makes sense that PEMF could have a significant positive impact on healing our brain and nervous system as well, just as PEMF does for muscle and bone.
Here is what we are finding out from recent studies on just how PEMF may be working to improve mood and mental functioning:
- Free radicals are unstable atoms or molecules that damage cells. A 2020 study showed that low-level magnetic fields (such as PEMF) may manipulate the chemistry of flavoproteins, which are involved in DNA repair and the removal of free radicals. This explains how magnetic fields may influence DNA repair and have antioxidant effects. But what do antioxidants have to do with mental health?
Antioxidants protect against the neuronal damage caused by oxidative stress in the brain, which may result in the remission of depression and anxiety symptoms. There is a lot of research on how oxidative stress and inflammation in the nervous system correlates with mental health conditions. Research also shows that antidepressants can facilitate antioxidant effects, which may be part of why they work to treat depression.
- A review of studies on PubMed concluded that PEMF is likely effective at treating depression by influencing brain activity and connectivity.
- A study on mice showed that prolonged exposure to PEMFs promoted molecular changes in abnormal brain circuits and helped to correct function. Notably, the results also showed that the PEMF treatment did not change healthy brain function.
- Another study on rats showed that PEMF (at 1 Hz) could improve the deficits in brain functions caused by depression by increasing the expression of specific proteins.
The Future of Mental Wellness
As the effects of the global pandemic play out over the next few years, the population will face many never-before-seen challenges, and mental health conditions like depression and anxiety will continue to rise. Living mentally well will require a proactive approach, and simple, easily accessible methods to boost mental health that can be safely applied at home.
Following medical treatment plans, maintaining social support, practicing mindfulness activities and taking care of your body are all important steps you can take to maintain or improve your mental health. For those wanting a safe, simple way to maximize the positive results of those healthy habits; incorporating PEMF therapy (such as by using a PEMF mat) is a smart choice.
Research into PEMF indicates that it can play a role in improving depression and anxiety symptoms through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, increasing brain connectivity, healing abnormal brain circuits, and increasing the expression of proteins that improve brain function.
Not only can PEMF therapy directly improve brain function, it helps to improve sleep quality and reduce chronic pain, which can lead to improvements in mental wellbeing. Additionally, a PEMF therapy mat can be used while performing gentle yoga or stretching, or while listening to guided meditations; further enhancing the benefits of those healthy practices.
For those with anxiety and depression, a PEMF therapy device can be a great addition to your healing toolbox. For everyone else, PEMF devices can be used as a preventative measure and regularly used as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Life can be overwhelming right now, and most of it is outside of any one person’s control. So, focus on controlling what you can: your breathing, your daily habits, and your self-care practices.
Because your health is your wealth! And you have to take care of yourself.