As you will know if you read this blog, I underwent surgery for a complete rupture of the Achilles Tendon in my right leg on the 24th of June 2010. Yesterday, not quite 9 weeks later, Redhead Girl invited me to go for an early dinner at a local restaurant that overlooks the Thames. We walked to the restaurant and back, a distance of about four kilometres along the river. I did so unaided by crutches.
According to the doctors on staff at St. Thomas Hospital, which I saw last Tuesday, I should still be using the air-boot cast for another 3 weeks, never mind walking around unaided. So how did I do it? Do I have a mutant healing factor?
My injury, according to every single doctor I asked (and there have been more than a few) should take a minimum of 6 months to heal to full recovery, although from browsing online through many recovery diaries of people with Achilles tendon surgeries, it is quite clear that 9 months is the most common minimum period and in fact even a year or more later people are still experiencing some issues. In fact it’s quite difficult to find a recovery diary that does mention returning to full use in a reasonable time of several months.
There are a number of factors that I used for the first 5 weeks after surgery, these are detailed more specifically in my recovery diary, but they involve using skills that generally take quite a while to develop (self-hypnosis of various different types, some which cannot even be properly labelled as hypnosis), so would not be very useful to you if you have just suffered some injury that required surgery. Enter B.E.M.E.R. Technology.
Bio-Electro-Magnetic-Energy-Regulation (BEMER for short), may sound like some kind of B-movie pseudo-scientific name for a weird mad-scientist machine, but the reality is that it basically just works.
The science behind it has quite unusual origins, as the product was originally developed in Germany, a country that has a long (and very tainted) history of looking into old technology and updating it for modern use. Prof Dr Wolf A Kafka (University of Munich) affiliated to the prestigious Max Planck Institute in Germany, was the man who essentially developed it and tested it over several years. Dr. Kafka is interesting in any case if one just reads his biography. You will discover he has several degrees, his first one being in physics, and discover that he has been interested for a long time in the effects of elctro-magnetism on the physiology of living systems, including in the extreme conditions of space. Those of you that know enough to already relate German technology to space-faring ventures may be quite interested in this side-issue. But enough on the history; let me tell you the main benefits I derived from this system (the ones described after the second picture below are pretty miraculous) and provide you with a bit more information on the science behind it (links organised at the end of the post).
The main component of the BEMER system is a large mat (but see later for the really cool part) that has the relevant coils in it to produce the pulsed magnetic fields which stimulate micro-circulation, improving oxygen delivery throughout the body enough to produce some startling results (on which more in a minute).
You basically just lie on the mat for anything between a few minutes and a maximum of 20 depending on which programs you select. I personally ran it at full blast every time and a few times even did 2 sessions back to back. The mat did improve circulation for me and overall wellness I would say, though for me its main benefit was its ability to place me much easier into a type of trance that normally takes quite a while to get into. I know sceptics will scoff, but the fact is that deep hypnotic trances have been proven to help with recovery of injuries. Besides, deep hypnotic trances were used to perform surgery on people until anaesthetic was used, and though unfortunately not very many doctors were skilled in this technique, which differed considerably from present day hypnotic skills, it worked well enough that some of the people operated on at the time reported little pain during the gruelling process of having a limb sawn off. Even today it can be used in operating theatres as only one report of many cases does here in the online TIME article.
I have learnt more about these now almost completely forgotten types of trances (which differ from the modern hypnotic trances) and learnt to induce them in myself and others, and can confirm that they work wonders on all sorts of situation, that go far beyond just physical benefits. Unfortunately, in order to really gain the benefits that these types of trances can produce, a rather lengthy process of training is required, as reaching the desired level of trance can take some time. The use of the BEMER for some reason allowed me to enter a deep level of trance much faster and by the time the 20 minutes were up, I was generally in a deep state. Some people with chemical sensitivity report being irritated by the BEMER mats (see this report which is amongst the most negative I could find and still goes on to explain that positive results are achieved for others using BEMER mats).
I have to confess that I can fully believe this and even experienced a mild form of it myself, however I have to stress that my opinion on this specific facet of the use of the mat is that you will feel irritated if you do not get into the proper mental state. I hired one of these things for over a month and experimented with it at length and I can confirm that if you try to keep your mind alert, busy or essentially occupied with many thoughts, the mat can begin to make you feel antsy and a bit uncomfortable. There are no ill-side effects as far as I can discern for myself, nor can I find any lasting ill-effects in the available literature on the mats, but it is true that you will feel kind of uncomfortable on the mat if you do not allow your brain to go into a relaxed modality. There are physiological reasons for this as those of you that are familiar with the four different types of brain-wave functions will know. Although I have not measured this with an EEG obviously, the sensations is something like this:
You want to try and be in an Alpha brain state so that you might go into a Theta or even Delta state. You do not want to be in a Beta state (your normal waking state). So basically when using the mat lie back, relax and allow your mind to just go with the flow. Don’t be surprised if you fall asleep.
The medical benefits of using the mat were not as pronounced or clear to me, but this I suspect is because I was already doing my own low-tech version of it with my own trances and self-hypnosis. Where the machine came into its own though was when using the little box that produces a small field that you can locate precisely in a specific body area due to its small size.
In the above image you can see the BEMER control unit, which is used for both the mat as well as the small unit, the tiny box on the left of the control unit. This little guy has a footprint a little smaller than a beer mat and as such I was able to locate it precisely on my foot in various places.
Now here is the really astonishing part of the BEMER system.
I have trained in Karate for many years prior to my starting Systema, and as a result I have some accumulated injuries in various parts of my body. One of these is my right foot, which suffered repeated impactions of both the first and second joints of the large toe. These injuries are at least 15 years old and in some cases probably more. The scar tissue in these areas is considerable and the thickness of my right foot on the second and first joints is noticeably more than the left foot. You can see this for yourself in the picture below.
The result is that the accumulated scar tissue and deformed cartilage of the joints makes the recovery of the right foot a little bit more painful than it needs to be. It feels as if I have a small hockey puck embedded under my right foot and this gets quite painful when walking barefoot around the house. also, it makes the physiotherapy uncomfortable as squeezing my toes results in pain in the first joint and flexing them pain in the second joint.
Out of pure curiosity I placed the little BEMER box directly on the joints of the foot and zapped them for some 20 minutes.
Miracle. The joints now bend in both directions and in the case of the first joint with complete absence of pain. Now it needs to be said that this joint has irritated me from time to time for the last 15 years. Several times through the day I need to “click” my toe on the right foot in order to relieve pressure on the joint. Well, since I used the little BEMER box on it a couple of weeks ago I have no more such discomfort. It has also improved the pain level of the second joint dramatically. And this is for injuries that are well over a decade old.
It has also produced some amazing results on the whole surgical area where the Achilles tendon repair took place. The whole calf muscle there is atrophied and the scar tissue internally, which embodies permanent internal stitches as well, is quite evident. The tendon and related scar tissue and traumatised muscle in the immediate vicinity of the tendon make the right leg’s Achilles tendon appear to be 2 to 3 times the size of the one in the left side. Furthermore, the are has been stiff and painful after even just short walks. Once I discovered the use of the little box however I have zapped any stiff area repeatedly with the little machine. It produces a localised heat in the affected area which I am not sure if it’s just from the improved oxygenation and capillary action but reminds me very much of a kind of “heat” that I am familiar with when some injured part of my body heals while I sleep. Certain injured areas get extremely hot when I sleep and this is my body’s way of repairing itself. A practice that is not unique to me, though I think my body performs this task very efficiently and probably above the normal level by quite a bit. I do not know the reason for this but I suspect my metabolism, which generally is quite a bit faster than average, may have something to do with it. In any case, being able to produce such results on command and as often as you want in the day makes a big difference to my healing rate.
Combining the BEMER machine with my own exercises and some daily walking means that my recovery rate is well ahead of schedule. In clinical studies this machine has had an 84% reported positive improvement on the recovery of surgical wounds, something I only discovered after I found out about the BEMER system. Had I known of it before I would have used it from day one after the surgery.
So if you have some kind of operation that needs to be performed, I would seriously look into hiring one of these mats for a while. And just in case you are wondering, no, I did not get any discount for writing this, nor am I on any kind of commission or anything of the sort. I have zero affiliation with BEMER technology anywhere in the world, so my review of it is purely based on my personal experience and provided here for no other reason that I think it is useful and more people should know about it.
The system also has several studies that seem to support quite marked improvements in serious conditions, amongst the more well studied being MS, which I have worked on with hypnosis personally for some clients and can attest to both it being a severe and terrible disease as well as the fact that it did respond very well to hypnosis in the clients I treated. The BEMER may be an option for sufferers of this disease as well as fibromyalgia and many other ailments. A more complete report on different diseases and effects is to be found in the links below.
USEFUL BEMER LINKS:
1. To hire, buy or use BEMER technology in the UK: BEMER Health Centre
- This is where I went and if you are a tea aficionado and ask nicely Kathy might let you sample one of the many special teas she also sells.
2. Some research studies can be found here: Best Collection of Papers
- Most interesting from the link above is the PDF file you can download from the second link (http://www.bemer.co.za/dls/AFB-eng.pdf) you may have to experiment though because I could only download the pdf but not view it online, so it’s best to go to the index link (the one labelled Best Collection of Papers above) and then right click on the pdfs and save them to your hard drive, or at least, that’s what worked best for me.
3. A mostly negative review of BEMER system
- Still shows improvement for many people, just not as much for some
4. Links to two different studies on the positive effects of the BEMER on MS sufferers.
5. A collection of results on different things, including the effect on poisoned chickens! (It saved them from this cruel experiment apparently!)
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