By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Did you know that your body and its countless systems naturally operate first and foremost electrically?
Your heart beats by virtue of electrical impulses, and nerve impulses make possible your voluntary and involuntary movements. Your trillions of cells march to the beat of particular frequencies as they constantly transmit and receive energy in communication with the extra-cellular environment around them. Naturally occurring electric fields regulate the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of them, as well as regulate cell division and healing.
Even your thoughts resonate to particular frequencies and affect your overall “energy,” or state of pulsation.
You are a bioelectrical being!
Over the past few decades, a new breed of therapy has emerged on the alternative medicine front that attempts to address the bioelectrical you.
We refer to it as electroceuticals.
It involves non-invasive applications that facilitate, utilize, and transmit forms of electromagnetic energy into and throughout bodily tissue that help normalize physiological functioning and the ability of the body to heal. Such applications include heat, electricity, sound waves, magnetism, and even the very Earth’s natural subtle surface charge.
It’s All About Cellular “Energy”
What happens down at the cellular level affects what happens to you – the sum total of all your cells. So you want your cells functioning optimally. You want them well nourished, oxygenated, and otherwise in a state of environmental balance or equilibrium. Healthy cells pulsate effortlessly and at higher frequencies than do unhealthy cells, and produce the energy to satisfy their metabolic demands.
Your cells thrive and hum in a natural and supportive environment. Disrupted pulsation occurs when cells contract in response to unhealthy metabolic, environmental, or emotional stimuli. Efficiency becomes compromised and, because cells here and there affect cells elsewhere, a domino reaction occurs. Your health suffers as a result.
Nutrient deficiencies are metabolic factors that can cause your cells to pulsate at lower frequencies. Cells lacking important raw materials like CoQ10, carnitine, or magnesium, for example, expend more adenosine triphosphate – ATP, the cellular fuel – than they can generate, and, over time, pulsation slows.
Environmental toxins hinder cellular pulsation by generating excess free radicals that destroy cellular structures through a process called oxidative stress. Electropollutants such as fluorescent lights and common electrical emissions from wiring, appliances, and cell phones (EMFs) bombard cells with man-made electrical signals that have the potential to disrupt natural cellular rhythms.
Emotional stress is another disruptor. As the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has grown, we are increasingly understanding the physiology associated with emotions. We see, for instance, how stress causes disruption in cellular function, and can set the stage for inflammation and multiple diseases.
Restoring Natural Cellular Pulsation via “X-ceuticals”
More than a hundred years ago, the pharmaceuticals industry began to take shape around the goal of developing and selling synthetic chemical drugs to reduce symptoms of various disorders. Today, this approach dominates the so-called Western medicine model.
And while yes, symptoms are often reduced, side effects are the price you typical play. All drugs cause side effects, either major or minor. They are often toxic to mitochondria, the structures inside cells that produce cellular energy, and can also lead to nutritional deficiencies. In my field of cardiology, medication usage is imperative, particularly in crisis situations. But outside of emergencies and crises, I always preferred to first apply natural alternatives in my clinical practice, such as mind-body techniques, exercise, nutritional therapies, and relationship work that could often achieve good results without negative side effects.
During recent decades, the use of nutraceuticals – vitamin, mineral, herbal, and other nutritional supplements – has been the focus of increased research and growing usage among health professionals. With supplements, we have a wide variety of tools with which to address metabolic, nutritional, and environmental deficits, as well as free radical stress; here, we provide cells with antioxidants and other nutrients necessary for metabolic efficiency. Nutraceutical therapies are extremely safe, without the usual side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs, and offer preventive-minded doctors options with which to combat, slow down, and even reverse the course of many conditions (be careful, though, to avoid “mega-dosing”).
Most recently, we have started targeting cellular dysfunction with electroceutical interventions, even more subtle and direct. Through heat, electricity (microcurrents), and magnetism, we can send impulses through the skin to re-activate cell surface receptors that have lost function due to injury or the abovementioned factors. These impulses create antioxidant, healing effects.
Like nutraceuticals, electroceuticals may also assist the body by regenerating the ATP supply and thus, through improved cellular bioenergetics, ultimately facilitate healing.
When used together, electroceuticals and nutraceuticals can produce profound therapeutic results for a variety of musculoskeletal and nervous system conditions. Many health professionals use them in this synergistic way.
Electroceutical applications vary according to the particular medium and frequency of energy transmission. They are founded on the idea that everything we know of oscillates to a particular frequency, and that exposing injured or sick cells to therapeutic frequencies can help restore them to balanced vibrational states.
Light is a form of electromagnetic energy we tend to take for granted unless we work the night shift or live in Alaska. The fact is that light plays a subtle, but significant, role in regulating metabolism. It can influence your circadian rhythms, the internal “biological clocks” that regulate your daily cycle of biological processes.
Changes related to light exposure and traveling across time zones can affect your “natural rhythms” by altering enzymatic and hormonal activity. While short term effects, such as jet lag, leave us feeling “a bit out of whack,” longer term disruption of circadian rhythms can lead to sleep and depressive disorders, and has even been linked to the development of metabolic syndrome and cancer.
The issue of sunlight deficiency is well known, particularly in the form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This depressive condition relates to longer nights and shorter days that can cause the “winter blues.” Light therapy, where patients are exposed to daily doses of artificial high intensity light, has been documented to ease the symptoms of SAD.
Light emitting diode (LED) light therapy features particular wavelengths of light that are used by health professionals and spa operators to address a wide variety of conditions such as SAD, wound healing, muscle pain, jaw joint (TMJ) pain, psoriasis, acne, and aging skin.
Grounding or Earthing
The simplest, most accessible, and most natural electroceutical around is the very planet we live on.
Mother Earth has a great little healing secret that is “coming out of the closet” these days, and it is the fact that omnipresent throughout the surface of the Earth is a natural, gentle electric charge which naturally discharges and prevents chronic inflammation in the body. All you have to do is stand, sit, or walk barefoot outdoors, on grass, soil, sand, or concrete. I strongly urge you to do it whenever you can, whenever the weather and conditions permit. Alternatively, you can utilize commercially-available Earthing systems indoors, when you are sitting, working, or sleeping. Such systems, including conductive sheets, mats, and bands, are connected to the Earth with a wire attached to a ground rod placed in the soil outdoors or to the ground port (third hole) of a grounded wall outlet.
Maintaining contact with the ground allows your body to naturally receive and become charged with free electrons, sub-atomic particles that are present in a virtually unlimited quantity throughout the Earth’s surface. When “grounded,” you automatically absorb these electrons, which in turn quickly reduce electrical imbalances in the body and the oxidative free radicals involved in chronic inflammation and multiple diseases. The body’s natural electrical state is restored.
Contact with the Earth, whether outside or inside, yields major benefits. In addition to reduced inflammation and pain, people report sleeping better, feeling better, and even looking better. If you want to know more about this remarkable and overlooked aspect of Nature, and how to connect with it, I suggest reading the book I co-authored in 2010 and which has now been translated into more than a dozen languages: Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever!
Typically heated to temperatures of 140 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, saunas help us by sweating out toxins that have accumulated in our fat cells. Such detoxification ultimately improves cellular function.
This type of sauna takes conventional sweating to another level.
A conventional sauna heats the air around our bodies. Far-infrared sauna directly penetrates the body with infrared heat, a type of electromagnetic radiation. Sunlight similarly warms the body in this manner. But because it is so much more directly and efficiently absorbed, and because it may also improve circulation, infrared heat is considered superior to conventional heat for the treatment of pain.
In addition to detoxification, far-infrared heat also can be used to help reduce inflammation and temporarily reduce muscle and joint pain. Studies have shown that infrared therapy increases nitric oxide production within endothelial cells that line arterial walls. Nitric oxide helps dilate arteries to promote better blood flow. Thus, infrared therapy may also be useful to help treat hypertension, heart failure, and erectile dysfunction.
If you can’t put an infrared sauna in your home or access one at a spa, you may want to try alternate infrared therapies such as portable infrared heat lamps, heating pads, and body wraps.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF)
The use of magnets to treat body pain and stiffness goes back to the ancient Egyptians. Early Chinese healers are also believed to have used magnets to correct Qi (thought to be the life energy of the body) imbalances.
In modern times, magnet therapy has made use of everyday objects such as jewelry, shoes, and chair and bed pads, said to help lessen pain and swelling, improve circulation, and increase tissue oxygenation.
The most powerful level of healing in this field utilizes pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). Here, the concept uses an external conductor (device) to establish a magnetic field that drives cellular ionic flows. Such dynamism is necessary to sustain the flow of ions across cell membranes, and enhances the ability of nutrients to get into cells and wastes to get out.
Static magnets will not likely heal injured tissues because they cannot generate such dynamism.
PEMF therapy has been shown to enhance tissue healing and is useful for treating acute injuries as well as inflammatory conditions.
The first PEMF studies involved placing electromagnets on either side of a fracture site to promote re-union of bone tissue. Researchers soon discovered that PEMF not only could stimulate healing in other tissues such as ligaments, nerves, capillaries, and skin, but that healing frequencies are particular to each tissue. PEMF therapies evolved into various technologies, including microcurrent therapy, through which electricity is transmitted directly into tissues; microcurrent technology is sometimes referred to as bioelectrical-stimulation, or “electro-stim.”
Various PEMF devices have received direct or indirect FDA approval to be marketed to secondarily treat a wide range of clinical conditions. These devices are utilized primarily by health practitioners who learn how to apply the most effective therapeutic frequencies for individual patients.
Ondamed is perhaps the best known PEMF device, combining VAS biofeedback with microcurrent technology. Other prominent devices include the Electro Acuscope and Myopulse. Using cellular electrical stimulation therapies based on missile guidance chip technology, these machines send specific frequencies of minute electric impulses to the cells of injured tissues. They have been found beneficial for treating arthritis, injuries, chronic pain issues, as well as connective and nerve tissue.
BioAcoustic therapy is a sound healing modality based on the theory that, in order to maintain a state of health, all the body’s cells cooperatively resonate to a full range of frequencies.
The strategy here involves vocal profiling, or analysis of sound waves produced during vocalization, to determine areas of imbalance or stress within the body, and the subsequent creation of a personalized sound formula. Based on a person’s emotional and physical responses to sounds presented, a Human BioAcoustics practitioner will program a series of specific sounds into a therapeutic device for the person to use at home.
Sharry Edwards, founder of Human BioAcoustics, describes BioAcoustic therapy as a cross between biofeedback and music therapy, with regard to combinations of sounds. Practitioners use this approach to help clients with a variety of issues, including macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, headaches, muscle stress, brain trauma, weight and nutritional problems.
Putting the “Physics” Back in “Physicians”
As we learn more about how electromagnetic energy resonates with the body, it becomes increasingly clear that “energy medicine” is not just a new age gimmick. Rather, it is establishing itself as a leading application within alternative medicine. Electroceuticals are emerging as valuable tools to prevent and reduce inflammation and boost the body’s capability to heal itself.
Just as nutraceuticals do, electroceuticals influence the body at a microscopic level, changing the efficiency with which cells function and interact. Electroceuticals have the potential to serve as significant adjuncts supporting conventional medical treatments of serious disease, but also offer substantial benefits as a primary tool – both preventively and therapeutically.
Compromised cell pulsation does not result in disease overnight, nor do electroceutical therapies immediately “cure” diseases. But they help restore states of healthy function and pulsation, giving the body a better fighting chance against disease and injury, and a return to normalcy.
Physicians who explore medicine through “a physics lens,” i.e. beyond gross anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology, can better understand the potential of electroceuticals.
Integration of electroceutical and nutraceutical therapies into conventional medical practice can open up a whole new dimension of healing. It requires looking outside a traditional medical doctor’s education and recognizing that just because we didn’t learn it in school, doesn’t mean it’s not a viable and effective alternative.
That’s what I did in my cardiology practice for many years. I integrated alternatives, including nutritional and electroceutical methods, along with conventional methods. The results were extraordinary, and I know it gave many of my patients better health and quality of life.
References and Resources:
- Emergence of Pharmaceutical Science and Industry: 1870 – 1930. Chemical & Engineering News. Accessed March 2, 2015 at http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/83/8325/8325emergence.html
- Oschman J, Kessler WD. Energy medicine and anti-aging: from fundamentals to new breakthroughs. Explore, 2008; 17 (6).
- Oshman. J. Energy medicine and longevity: cellular-electrical biofeedback combined with frequency specific healing. Anti-Aging Medical News. Winter 2007 Official Show Handbook.
- Far Infrared Sauna – High Tech Health, Inc.
- Laycock, DC. Static magnetism versus pulsed magnetic therapy in medical and veterinary use
- Electro Acuscope and Myopulse – The Thorpe Institute of Integrated Medicine
- Human BioAcoustic Therapy – Sound Health Alternatives Inc
- Desan PH, et al. A controlled trial of the Lightbook light emitting diode (LED) light therapy device for treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). BMC Psychiatry, 2007; 7:38. Published online at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1971065/?tool=pubmed
- Shirani A, St. Louis E. Illuminating rationale and uses for light therapy. J Clin Sleep Med. 2009 April 15; 5(2): 155–163. Published online at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2670336/
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