Are there any serious Adverse Reactions to PEMF Therapy

The best way to handle potential adverse reactions to PEMF therapy is to be prepared for them. Due to the wide array of interactions that magnetic therapies can have within the body, it is not abnormal to experience some discomfort, especially at the beginning of treatment. Reactions are said to be more common when the whole body is being treated versus local areas.

If a reaction does occur with PEMF, is it serious?

Adverse reactions are mild and temporary in the majority of cases. If a reaction does occur, it can be managed simply by continuing the session most times. Possible reactions include: fatigue, sleep trouble, increased pain, weakness or lower energy, metallic taste, dizziness, brain fog, thirst, increased urination, warm or cold sensations, prickly feeling in the skin, colors in the visual fields, heaviness of the extremities and heart palpitations. Patients with electrical hypersensitivity and electromagnetic hypersensitivity are more prone to reactions and the discomfort level can be less tolerable but seldom does the therapy session need to be stopped. 

Magnetic therapies can improve circulation, stimulate cell and tissue repair, stimulate nerve cells, promote relaxation, affect blood pressure and heart rate, increase the absorption of drugs and nutrients, and much more. With so much happening in the body, reactions are possible and are subjective. 

What types of reactions can occur during PEMF therapy?

PEMF can cause sudden increases in circulation following the application of magnetic therapy, which can potentially cause discomfort. This increase in circulation is a desirable effect that can bring on oxidative stress in the beginning. For the best results, it is important to have proper antioxidant support in the body before starting treatment. Sudden changes in circulation can potentially aggravate the body’s inflammatory processes as well which is often presented in the skin. It is important to note if a patient is susceptible to hives as this should be considered before beginning therapy.

Additionally, when nerve cells are quickly aroused, pain may be briefly intensified due to the enhanced signal communication in the nerve. We see this more commonly in patients who have had previous fractures or scarring. PEMF applied directly to a fracture site or scar may momentarily cause discomfort in the area. 

In this situation, when a target area is treated and improved, pain in another area that may become more pronounced. This is not to be of concern but can be a normal side effect of PEMF therapy. In some circumstances, when pain arrises in a new area, this may be a sign of an unidentified issue in which case a medical evaluation is advised.

Other ways PEMF machines impact the body

Pulsed electro magnetic field therapy is known to lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate, which is considered positive in most cases. However, these results can pose a concern for patients that are:

  • Elderly
  • Frail or Weak
  • Taking blood-pressure-lowering medication or have easily altered blood pressure
  • On long-term bed rest
  • In shock 
  • Suffering from a systemic infection
  • Have non-brisk, compensatory vascular reflexes

Because patients with these conditions can become faint when rising from a seated or laying position, they should be cautionary about this and the need to allow the blood pressure and/or heart rate to stabilize when switching positions. Usually, these reactions settle with the continuation of the PEMF therapy session.


The degree of reaction will determine the approach to take with adjusting the therapy. If the reaction is intolerable, you can make some changes to your protocol. To learn more about PEMF therapy, check out Pulsed Harmonix.