PEMF vs. Laser Therapy: 5 Differences

Have you ever wondered, "what are the differences between PEMF therapy and laser therapy?" This is a common question asked by many people new to the hands-on healing modalities. 

While both PEMF and laser therapy treatments are considered safe, they have been shown to be effective in a unique way. Sometimes, the two terms are often used interchangeably in the bodywork community, but there is actually quite a bit of difference between them. 

Here's everything you need to know about PEMF vs. Laser Therapy, its benefits, and its most common applications.

How PEMF Works

PEMF stands for Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy. It is a non-invasive, drug-free approach to managing pain and other conditions. PEMF therapy uses a machine to deliver pulsed electromagnetic fields to the body. These fields are similar to the Earth's natural magnetic field.

PEMF therapy devices have been used for decades to treat a variety of conditions. It is most commonly used to relieve pain, but it can also be used to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and speed up healing.

PEMF therapy is thought to work by stimulating cells and tissues in the body. The magnetic fields can penetrate deep into the body, reaching cells that other therapies cannot. The fields also help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

PEMF therapy is safe and effective for most people. There are no known side effects. The therapy is non-invasive and does not require the use of drugs.

The Basics of Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is a type of treatment that uses a focused beam of light to treat various conditions. The light from the laser can be used to stimulate the production of new cells, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.

Laser devices are used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heel pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Trigger finger
  • Wounds

Laser therapy is a pain-free treatment that can provide relief for a variety of conditions. Laser therapy is also a drug-free treatment option that does not require surgery or recovery time.

Most people experience no side effects from laser therapy treatments. However, some people may experience temporary redness or swelling at the treatment site. During the treatment, you will feel a warm sensation on the skin as the laser is applied.

Which is Better, PEMF or Laser Therapy?

To know which treatment would be better for your specific case, we first need to know the exact differences between these two: 

1. PEMF therapy uses magnetic fields, while laser therapy uses light.

While both PEMF therapy and laser therapy use electromagnetic energy to help heal the body, they do so in different ways. 

PEMF therapy uses magnetic fields to stimulate cells and improve circulation, while laser therapy uses light to help reduce inflammation and pain. Each therapy has its own benefits, and which one is right for you will depend on your individual needs.

2. PEMF therapy is FDA-approved, while laser therapy is not.

The FDA does not approve or disapprove of therapies, per se. Rather, the FDA regulates the marketing of therapies. So, if a therapy is not FDA-approved, that doesn't necessarily mean it's ineffective or dangerous. It just means that the company marketing the therapy has not submitted it to the FDA for approval. 

Now, with that said, there are some therapies that are not FDA-approved because they are experimental or investigational. These therapies have not yet been proven to be safe and effective, and so the FDA has not given them the green light to be marketed. 

PEMF therapy is FDA-approved, which means it's mostly safe, and you can take it without any worries. However, that doesn't mean laser therapy is not worth considering. Just be sure to do your research and consult with your physician to see if it's right for you.

3. PEMF therapy is non-invasive, while laser therapy may be invasive.

PEMF therapy and laser therapy are both effective treatments for pain relief, but they differ in terms of invasiveness. 

PEMF therapy is non-invasive, meaning it does not require any needles or incisions. Laser therapy, on the other hand, maybe invasive (sometimes), as it involves the use of a laser to target the pain. 

While both therapies are effective, PEMF therapy may be the better option for those who want to avoid any invasiveness.

4. PEMF therapy is covered by insurance, while laser therapy may not be.

If you're considering either laser therapy or PEMF therapy to help with a chronic condition, you may be wondering which one is covered by insurance. The answer is that PEMF therapy is typically covered by insurance, while laser therapy may not be.

PEMF therapy is an FDA-approved treatment for a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. As such, most insurance companies will cover at least a portion of the cost of PEMF therapy.

Laser therapy, on the other hand, is not yet FDA-approved for any specific condition. While it is sometimes used as a treatment for pain, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to show that it is effective. As a result, insurance companies are not required to cover the cost of laser therapy.

5. PEMF takes less time, while laser therapy may take a long time.

PEMF therapy usually requires a shorter treatment time than laser therapy. This is because PEMF therapy uses magnetic fields (and has a large focal point) to stimulate healing, while laser therapy uses light energy (and has a small focal point).

Laser therapy may require a longer treatment time because it takes a while for the light energy to penetrate the skin and reach the target area. 

So, which therapy is right for you? That really depends on your individual situation and what your goals are. If you need a quick and easy therapy that doesn't require a long-time commitment, PEMF therapy may be a good option. However, if you're looking for a more effective therapy for a specific area of your body, laser therapy may be a better choice.


Although both PEMF and laser therapy show promise as treatments for pain relief, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages, more research is needed to determine their efficacy. 

PEMF therapy is a non-invasive, drug-free treatment with no known side effects, making it a potentially attractive option for pain relief. Laser therapy is more expensive, requires more training, and may not be covered by insurance, but it may be more effective for deep tissue pain and more targeted treatment. 

Ultimately, the decision of which therapy to use should be made by a healthcare provider after considering the individual's needs and preferences.