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Bioelectromagnetic medicine.

The following Preface was kindly provided by Professor Rosch:


A Brief Historical Perspective: According to The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine, our oldest extant medical text, magnetic stones (lodestones) applied to acupuncture points were used to relieve pain and other complaints 40 centuries ago. The Vedas, religious scriptures of the Hindus also believed to be several thousand years old, similarly allude to the therapeutic powers of ashmana and siktavati (instruments of stone). The Greeks referred to these as lapus-vivas (live-stones) and Hippocrates purportedly used them to cure sterility. Egyptian physicians ascribed a variety of benefits to magnetic stones, as did early Buddhists. Tibetan monks still place bar magnets on the skull to improve the concentration and learning ability of novitiates in accordance with an age-old protocol.

In the early 1500s, the Swiss physician and alchemist Paracelsus became convinced that magnetism could restore the body's vitality and used magnets to promote healing, treat epilepsy, diarrhea and certain types of hemorrhage. Lodestones were ground up to make powders that could be applied as magnetic salves or ingested to provide energy and stop bleeding. Such practices became very popular but were debunked in 1600 by William Gilbert in De Magnete. By the middle 1700s, more powerful carbon-steel magnets had become available in Europe and there was heightened interest in their curative powers. Franz Anton Mesmer quickly became famous for his miraculous cures of everything from deafness to paralysis. In his 1775 report On the Medicinal Uses of the Magnet, he vividly described how he had restored health to a patient with uncontrollable seizures and numerous other nervous system complaints by feeding her iron filings and applying specially shaped magnets over affected organs. He later claimed that the healing force actually resided in his own "animal magnetism" (magnetisomum animalem). This was hailed as a new force analogous to Newton's gravity and people from all over Europe waited in long lines to be treated in his Paris salon. French physicians considered him to be a hoax and convinced Louis XVI to establish an unbiased commission consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Antoine Lavoisier and Dr. J. I Guillotin to investigate Mesmer's claims. They observed blindfolded patients who were exposed to very strong magnets and asked to describe their responses when fake objects were unknowingly substituted. The commission concluded in 1784 that magnetic healing was entirely due to the belief of the patient (placebo effect) and the power of suggestion (hypnosis). We still refer to hypnotism as "mesmerism."

Although Mesmer was thoroughly discredited, magnet therapy flourished in the U.S. and permanent magnet sales soared after the Civil War, particularly in the newly industrialized Western farm belts. Magnets, magnetic salves and liniments were dispensed by traveling magnetic healers and were readily available at food and grain stores. By the turn of the century, mail order catalogues offered magnetic soles for boots (profitable at 18 cents a pair) as well as magnetic rings, belts, caps, girdles and apparel that could cure anything from menstrual cramps to baldness and impotence. The king of magnetic healers was Dr. C. J. Thacher, whose Chicago's Magnetic Company in the 1920s promised "health without the use of medicine." His mail-order pamphlet explained that the energy responsible for life comes from the magnetic force of the sun, which is conducted through the rich iron content of the blood. Disease resulted when stressful lifestyles and environmental factors interfered with these healing forces. However, "magnetism properly applied will cure every curable disease no matter what the cause." The most efficient way to expedite this alleged ability of iron in the blood to transmit healing magnetic energy was by wearing magnetic clothing, and almost every conceivable garment was available. A complete costume, which promised "full and complete protection of all the vital organs of the body," contained 700 magnets!

It is not clear when electricity was first used to treat illness but electric catfish native to the Nile are portrayed in Egyptian murals several thousand years old suggesting medical applications. The Roman physician Scribonius Largus used a live torpedo fish to treat a patient with gout and wrote in 46 AD that headaches an d other pains could be cured by standing in shallow water near these electric fish. The powerful South American electric eel was introduced to Europe in 1750 and people flocked to be treated with its "natural electricity". Around the same time, the invention of the Leyden jar had dramatically demonstrated the ability of a stored electrical charge to produce muscle contractions and shocks. The publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in 1818 stimulated interest in electricity as the source of life. Since Galvani had shown that limbs or body parts would jump when electrical shocks were administered to animal and human cadavers it was believed that electricity could bring the dead to life. Various "reanimation" chairs and devices were constructed; some of which may possibly have acted as pacemakers or defibrillators in the rare cases that responded. An induction coil with sponge-tipped electrodes was used in 1853 to successfully treat abnormal heart rhythms and angina. Over the next few decades, as batteries were progressively improved and electricity from generating stations became available, all sorts of "medical coils" were developed with diverse curative claims.



By the early 1900s, electrotherapeutics was viewed as a legitimate medical specialty much like the growing fields of radiology and radium therapy and medical textbooks devoted chapters to the use of magnetism and electricity. Devices were devised to diagnose and treat anemia, hysteria, convulsions, insomnia, migraine, neuralgia, arthritis, fatigue and all types of pain. Some were based on the proposition that each organ or individual was "tuned" to a specific electromagnetic wave length whose application could energize or rejuvenate them. The most popular were the dynamiser and oscilloclast devised by Albert Abrams, a physician who was described by the American Medical Association in 1925 as the "dean of twentieth century charlatans." The dyanimizer was said to be so sensitive it could not only diagnose a disease from a drop of blood, photograph or handwriting sample but also pinpoint its location in the body. The oscilloclast was then simply set to the vibratory rate of the disease to be treated and the treatment was likened to shattering a wineglass by sound vibrations. A decade later, Wilhelm Reich claimed he had discovered a universal cosmic and biological energy called orgone that permeated the universe. He constructed an orgone accumulator box he claimed could collect and accumulate orgone obtained from the atmosphere. Sitting in the accumulator would not only restore and promote health and vitality but was an effective treatment for cancer. The FDA sued and convicted him for fraud and the court ordered his books and research burned and his equipment destroyed. Although Abrams died in prison in 1957, he still has fervent followers who believe in his theories and devices judging from various web sites. Other contraptions made similar extravagant but worthless claims so it is not surprising that all bioelectromagnetic approaches came to be regarded as fraudulent, A more detailed discussion of the above is available elsewhere. (1) Unfortunately, this included legitimate research and it is not unlikely that in some instances, the baby was thrown out with the bath water. One example may be Harold Saxton Burr, whose theory of "L fields" of life showed great potential for the diagnosis of cancer and the treatment of different disorders. His research results using the comparatively crude devices that were available over a half century ago are now being intensively reinvestigated and confirmed with more sophisticated technology. In recent years, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positive emission tomography (PET scanning) have emerged as superior diagnostic aids. Cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators and other implantable electromedical devices have saved countless lives or eased the suffering of patients with Parkinson's disease and other debilitating disorders. The FDA has also approved specific electromagnetic devices to promote the healing of bone fractures that have failed to unite despite other interventions and this procedure has proven successful and safe in hundreds of thousands of patients over the past few decades. More recently, electromagnetic therapies for the treatment of urinary incontinence and sports injuries and treatment of liver and kidney tumors have also been approved. Other approaches for the treatment of osteoarthritis, pain, tinnitus and other indications have satisfied criteria for efficacy and safety that have led to their approval in European and other countries that may allow them to be available in the U.S. under the "globalization" and "harmonization" provisions of the 1997 FDA Modernization Act.


Permanent magnet and electromagnetic therapies are now riding the crest of a tidal wave of interest in "alternative" and "complementary" medicine. Unfortunately, charlatans, entrepreneurs and misguided zealots with worthless devices and unfounded claims still abound. It is essential to distinguish these from authentic approaches and products. As a result, we have tried to separate the wheat from the chaff in this book by restricting contributions to evidence based medicine supported by references in peer-reviewed publications and to provide the reader with tools and skills to evaluate the legitimacy of devices and claims. In addition to a lengthy history of quackery and fraud, another criticism that has hampered wider acceptance of bioelectromagnetic approaches is the inability to identify the mechanisms of action responsible for any benefits. We have therefore attempted to identify concepts and theories that attempt to explain the mechanisms responsible for mediating the diverse benefits of bioelectromagnetic therapies and in some instances, how they may relate to ancient concepts of subtle energies in the body that are also found in nature. How weak environmental electromagnetic energies as well as those generated internally can produce non thermal biologic effects is not clear since the absence of detectable heat exchange would appear to violate the laws of thermodynamics.


In addition, our current concept of how communication takes place in the body is at a chemical/molecular level as we visualize small peptide and other messengers fitting into specific receptor sites on cell walls much like keys opening certain locks. Such physical structural matching that could only occur on a random collision basis cannot explain the myriad instantaneous and automatic reactions such as those thatoccur in "fight or flight" responses to severe stress. As will be seen, there is an emerging paradigm of cellular communication at a physical/atomic level that may provide some answers and also provide insights into widely acknowledged but poorly understood phenomena such as the placebo effect, the power of prayer and a firm faith, telepathic communication, the benefits of acupuncture, homeopathy, therapeutic touch, various bodywork and massage therapies, Kirlian and other low level imaging procedures.

Another issue that has caused wariness about bioelectromagnetic therapies are safety concerns about possible increased risk of certain malignancies and birth defects resulting from proximity to high power lines, cell phones, microwave ovens and electric blankets. It is not surprising that electromagnetic fields, like many other therapies can be two-edged swords. For example, all the modalities we use to treat cancer, including radiation, chemotherapy and hormonal interventions can also cause cancer. Such effects may depend upon dosage, duration of exposure, genetic and other influences. It is not likely that any clear conclusion about adverse electromagnetic effects can be reached until more information has been obtained from long term studies that focus on these factors. For this reason, we have refrained from participating in this debate other than to devote a chapter on the importance of dosimetry and to emphasize that no such adverse effects have been observed or seem likely in the therapies presented in this book. Indeed, those that have been proposed and implemented by Demetrio Sodi Pallares and Bjorn Nordenstrom confirmed by others have shown stunning success in treating various malignancies. Many of the chapters in this book are based on presentations at the annual International Congress on Stress over the past decade or so and additional information on these events can be obtained at

We have also attempted in this book to trace the origin and development of various therapies, such as TENS and vagal nerve stimulation by pioneers in the field such as Norman Shealy, Donlin Long and Jacob Zabara. Kirk Jeffrey has contributed a similar chapter on the evolution of cardiac pacemakers. We have made a concerted effort to include prominent scientists whose research may not be well known in the U.S. When initially approached to serve as editor for this book, I explained that this was not my field of expertise and asked Marko Markov, a distinguished physicist to serve as co-editor. He is also much more familiar with relevant advances in Eastern Europe, Russia and I am grateful for his careful review of all chapters and for those he has attracted from these countries as well as his own contributions. I am also indebted to Russell Dekker for expediting this work by promising to publish it within six months of receipt of all approved manuscripts. Multi-authored books of this nature often take two years or more before they are available, during which time some of the material may be out of date or important advances have been made that could not be included. With regard to the latter, unlike many large publishing houses, Dekker is a family owned business and has been able to cut through the red tape by making space for late breaking developments that occurred well past the deadline for receipt of submissions, such as radiofrequency coblation nuceloplasty for disc disease. I would also like to thank all the authors for their cooperation in responding so promptly to various time urgent requests for revisions that were necessary to adhere to this very accelerated publication schedule.

The above is a brief summary of why Tthis book is needed and how it was assembled. I believe it is particularly appropriate to conclude with the following quotation.

"In the decade to come, it is safe to predict, bioelectromagnetics will assume a therapeutic importance equal to, or greater than, that of pharmacology and surgery today. With proper interdisciplinary effort, significant inroads can be made in controlling the ravages of cancer, some forms of heart disease, arthritis, hormonal disorders, and neurological scourges such as Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injury, and multiple sclerosis. This prediction is not pie-in-the-sky. Pilot studies and biological mechanisms already described in primordial terms, form a rational basis for such a statement."--J. Andrew L. Bassett, 1992

Andy Bassett was one of the early advocates of the use of electromagnetic fields for uniting fractures that refused to heal. Unfortunately, he died before he could see that his prophecy would come true well ahead of schedule. In many respects, this book is a tribute to him and other pioneers like Bob Becker, Abe Liboff, Bjorn Nordenstrom and Ross Adey who recognized the vast potential of bioelectromagnetic medicine and have helped to put it on a solid scientific footing. I am particularly delighted that we were able to obtain contributions from most of these trailblazers.



EP (Exceptional Parent) Magazine continues its series of articles on Alternative Medicine that covers the following areas: bioelectromagnetic therapy, chiropractic, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, acupuncture, and several others. EP (Exceptional Parent) Magazine has a responsibility to report on both conventional and alternative therapies for a variety of developmental disabilities. The inclusion of any particular treatment is not an endorsement of the efficacy of the modality but merely presented for educational and informational purposes. We have always been proponents of the following axioms: discuss with your managing physician and healthcare team any therapies you are considering before undertaking them; acquire and study the evidence that supports any treatment, make informed decisions and carefully evaluate the benefits of the treatment using accepted metrics that can be tracked, weighed and compared.


By Paul J. Rosch, MD, and Marko S. Markov Ph.D. eds.


Marcel Dekker New York, Basel, 2004

Hard Cover 850 pages Illustrated

ISBN: 0-8247-4700


(1.) Lawrence R, Rosch PJ, Plowden J. Magnet Therapy, 1998; Prima Press, Rocklin, CA.



Paul J. Rosch, MD, FACP--who is in the process of assembling a second edition or sequel to "Bioelectromagnetic Medicine"--is Chairman of the Board The American Institute of Stress, Yonkers, New York, and Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York. He is also honorary vice president of the International Stress Management Association, a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners, an emeritus member of the Endocrine Society and the Bioelectromagnetics Society, and Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Royal Society of Medicine, among other organizations. Dr. Rosch is the recipient of many awards, including the Outstanding Physician's Award of the New York State Medical Society (1979), the I. M. Sechenov Award of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (1993), and the Innovation Award (2003) from the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine. He received his post graduate medical training at John Hopkins Hospital and Walter Reed Army Hospital and Institute of Research and is the author of numerous professional publications.

Mr. Marko Markov, Ph.D. Biophysics serves as President of Research International Buffalo Office in New York. Mr. Markov serves as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board at Nura Life Sciences Corp. Mr. Markov has held academic positions at National College of Natural Medicine; Erie Community College; Mount Sinai Medical Center; Oakland University; Sofia University; and, the Institute of Physics at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He has held editorial posts at the Journal of Modern Physics, Journal of Electro-and Magnetobiology, and Journal Bioelectromagnetic Biology and Medicine. Mr. Markov has served as an invited professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Oakland University, Moscow University, and many other institutions. He has lectured at 76 international meetings, conducted 282 presentations, published 170 papers, co-authored 8 books, including Bioelectromagnetic Medicine, an 850 page book with 50 chapters written by 86 of the most respected scientists working in electromagnetic field therapy. Mr. Markov holds numerous patents regarding magnetic fields. He earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics, M.S. Physics, and B.S. Physics from Sofia University. He obtained the status of Research Fellow at Moscow University in 1980. He is fluent in English, Russian, and Bulgarian.

Edited by: Paul J. Rosch (1)

Marko S. Markov (2)

(1) The American Institute of Stress, Yonkers, New York, U.S.A., and New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York, U.S.A.

(2) Research International, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.
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Author:Rosch, Paul J.; Markov, Marko S.
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2013
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