RIFE Therapy vs PEMF Therapy

Electromagnetic therapy is all the rage across social media and health boards, but the complexities of types, brands, and specs within the industry can be quite confusing.

One of the main forks in the road you’ll come across is the difference between pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, also known as PEMF devices, and RIFE therapy, which is sometimes referred to as radionics devices.

To ensure your expectations are met and that you make the best overall medical device purchase, you should begin with understanding the differences between these two therapy options, what you stand to gain from each, and what claims scientific research supports.

Despite falling under the same main heading and having many similarities, both options are very distinct and have their own set of pros and cons.

The medical community and research continues to debate the benefits associated with both pulsed electromagnetic therapy and radionics devices.

In this guide, we will break down those main differences so that you can make the most informed decision possible when selecting an electromagnetic therapy device.

You’ll learn the purpose of both therapies, supporting data, benefits, and differences.

Our goal is to always provide you with unbiased, factual information so that you can easily decipher brand-specific info and balance marketing propaganda with untainted data.


What’s The Key Difference Between These Electromagnetic Therapy Options?

The most distinguishing difference is in operation.

While pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is designed to bathe cells in positive energy, frequency generator devices are designed more like a torpedo’s search and destroy function.

Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is the more popular and well known of the two therapies.

This is due to brand innovation and well-known influencers using and supporting the devices.

Of course, frequency generators and ray machines shouldn’t be overlooked just because they haven’t hit the same mark of mainstream popularity just yet.

The most critical point to understand is that these two types of devices are interlinked based on both being electromagnetic therapy, but they have a very different operation, purpose, and benefits.


What’s A Frequency Generator/Ray Machine?

A brilliant scientist named Raymond Royal Rife (RRR) is the inventor of the earliest models of this device.

He, like Einstein and Thomas Edison, was often dismissed and belittled by his professional peers and the medical community.

Today, however, his work is the foundation for many holistic practitioners.

He discovered that bacteria responded to specific radio frequencies.

According to RRR, those radio frequencies were able to deactivate targeted bacteria.

He recorded how particular viruses and pathogens responded to specific frequencies.

His discovery of pathogen response to radio waves led him to apply the knowledge/application to specific areas of human health and wellbeing.

Amazingly, this scientist did all this within the confines of basic microscope technology.

In other words, he didn’t have the modern microscopic sophistication that’s available to today’s scientists.

So, what did this savvy inventor do? He created his own microscope, of course.

Powerful optics were necessary to clearly observe the impact the waves had on pathogens and human cells.

With his equipment, RRR was able to record how various species of bacteria were disabled via his machine, which was named a frequency generator.

Today, similar devices are called ray machines.

In 1930, RRR documented that the best way to engage this treatment was brief exposure to specified radio frequencies several times per week.

Of course, this era only enabled a small number of these expensive devices to be manufactured and put into practice.

It meant that confirmation of his data was limited, too.

As such, many medical professionals and researchers dismissed or doubted the validity of his claims.

To many, RRR’s machine was another snake oil proposition.

Naysayers didn’t deter him, though.

Like other mocked and belittled great minds, he defended his work by simply continuing forward.

Today, naturopathic medical professionals and holistic doctors commonly use devices based on RRR’s original design, but, as a therapy, it still hasn’t been accepted by the mainstream medical community in the same way as other electromagnetic devices.


How Do The Rife Devices Work?

We now know that RRR’s claims are based on a phenomenon called sympathetic resonance.

It occurs when a vibrating object is placed in close proximity to another object.

The ‘other’ object naturally begins to vibrate in response.

Think about how ultrasonic waves break apart kidney stones or glassware induced resonance exists due to sound waves.

The machine emits radio frequencies, which occur in waves.

The waves create a sympathetic resonance in the nearby pathogen.

The result? Pathogen death.

RRR couldn’t fully explain the above, or he couldn’t conclusively say that sympathetic resonance was the key.

In fact, onlookers in the medical field often hypothesized that it was the added energy that boosted the immune system and therefore helped enable it to naturally fight off pathogens.

Sympathetic resonance was RRR’s most viable hypothesis, but scientific availability at the time didn’t allow him to prove it.

Modern science now makes it clear how these machines work.

RRR’s ultimate goal was to provide a cure for cancer.

He firmly believed that the main culprit behind cancer was none other than bacteria.

His objective was to apply the radio frequencies produced by his machine to cancer patients, which he believed would thus eliminate the pathogen-causing cancer agent.

Sadly, none of this can be substantiated even by modern scientific abilities.

RRR’s machines faded into oblivion, but the technology behind it remained.

Today, brands are basing their models off the original frequent generators created by RRR, which thus explains the namesake.

Modem devices are more diverse in construction, however.

They range from pad-based applications to hand-held devices.

While some are independent devices that merely emit radio waves as you sit beside it, others may use energy plasma lamps or high-voltage implementation.

The premise remains the same, however.

The basic function remains destroying pathogens within the human body.

While science can neither prove nor disprove RRR’s theories, many natural medicine practitioners firmly believe in this technology as a pathogen and disease eliminator.


What Is Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy?

Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy uses different technology for a different purpose, but there are some overlaps with frequency generators and ray machines machines.

Instead of destroying cellular material, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy focuses on healing and re-energizing it.

The devices use pulses of electromagnetic energy delivered via specific frequencies to assist in cellular healing, rejuvenation, repair, and well-being.

The end goal is to reduce disease-related symptoms caused by cellular dysfunction and disease.

From arthritis and inflammation to bone damage and depression, this therapy is aimed at any ailment that centers upon cellular function.

The kicker here is that almost any ailment and health facet begins at the cellular level, meaning the devices are almost unlimited in application.

To be clear, pulsed EMF therapy doesn’t destroy any pathogens, which is the primary objective of RIFE therapy.

Instead, this therapy offers a variety of electromagnetic waves in various frequencies, wave lengths, and intensities.

Most brands use low-frequency, low-amplitude signals to offer calming and relaxing results.

Meanwhile, the RIFE-type products use higher, more intense frequencies.

The most common benefit and documented scientific result of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is improved circulation.

While this may sound singular, do keep in mind that circulation is a critical component in an array of pathologies.

Circulation is also assistive in carrying the cellular benefits delivered by the electromagnetic device to other areas of the body.


Deciding Between These Two Therapies

With any electromagnetic device, you’ll want to carefully consider why you’re using it and your expectations for results.

Is your objective to heal or destroy?

Let’s say that you’ve recently been diagnosed with a severe disease and want to rid your body of unwanted pathogens.

In this case, you’re likely looking for a device to rid certain cells beyond repair.

The frequency generator tech would likely be best suited to your needs and expectations.

However, if you hope to bolster cellular function in order to reduce inflammation and mitigate the impact of aging, injury, or disease, then pulsed electromagnetic field therapy may be your best option.

Our advise is to always consult your physician before making any electromagnetic device purchase.

He/she will know your existing pathologies, risk factors for disease, and other extenuating circumstances that will impact your health device decisions.

Your physician should be able to pair each device’s operation and benefits with your particular health situation to offer the most comprehensive and viable selection.


Pulsed EMF Benefits

While devices based on RRR’s tech are not highly established in medical research, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is flush with data concerning specific configurations and their benefits.

The past three decades have involved extensive scientific research from independent sources on the therapy as a whole.

As new data emerges, more and more researchers are seeking out answers to specific questions on specific diseases and benefits based on specific configurations, such as low-intensity pulsed EMF effect on seizures, cancer, pain, headaches, and so on.

In total, this tech has been the subject of over 2,000 published studies.

That’s a claim to fame that few at-home medical devices can tout.

If you’d like a comprehensive breakdown of device specs, we offer several very comprehensive guides on wavelength, frequency, and intensity.

In general, however, here are some of the benefits PEMF therapy offers to the consumer:



This is perhaps one of the most comprehensively studied benefits.

Devices stimulate cellular energy and vitality via frequencies, wave forms, and intensities.

The end result is circulation enhancement.

One 2004 study showed widening of arteriolar diameters (vasodilation) after using pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (1).

Vasodilation is a huge benefit in a number of diseases and health risks.



Many consumers are excited to learn that this device can help migraine sufferers ease the frequency, intensity, and pain of headaches.

A 1999 study showed that participants using pulsed EMF devices suffered fewer migraines and less symptoms (2).


Soft Tissue

Like circulation, soft-tissue healing and pulsed EMF has extensive research backing health benefit claims.

Early research yielded inconclusive results.

However scientists have now discovered that specific waveforms stimulate more expedient healing processes (3).


Broken Bones

An array of studies have found this therapy highly assistive in fracture healing.

This is particularly true amongst nonunion fracture injuries.

Multiple studies have expounded upon a very successful 1999 study with empirical evidence showing electromagnetic pulse stimulation enhanced bone healing (4).


Athletic Performance

Numerous studies have documented how athletes and pulsed EMF are a match made in heaven.

From improved workout performance and increased circulation to speedier recovery times and tissue repair, this therapy has been shown to offer multiple benefits.

Imagine a strenuous workout whereby your device then stimulates your body’s cells to adjust and repair.

Amazing, right?

With device use, athletes report less exercise-related pain and better injury avoidance.

How? Cellular oxygenation.

The specs of the device also offer a natural energy production source so that exercisers can raise intensity and frequency of their workout without the energy sap that depletes muscles and soft tissues of the materials they need to thrive.



This device can support symptom reduction with depression.

Mental health disorders are notorious for being difficult to treat.

Medication adjustments alone can wreck havoc on your well-being.

A 2000 animal study showed a decrease in depressive behaviors and mood improvement when using this therapy (5).



Range of motion is an issue in multiple disease processes, including arthritis and strokes.

Research on these devices has shown that pulsed EMF can drastically reduce ROM pain and increase motor function (6).


Nerve Damage

Studies have show that this therapy can activate nerves to mitigate nerve damage.

A 1993 study proved the therapy highly affective in assisting sciatica-related nerve pain (7).

The study showed how devices using PEMF stimulated the nerves to regenerate nerve tissue.


Generalized Pain

This therapy has a long history as a pain reliever.

Back in 1993, a study showed that even short exposures to low-frequency pulsed EMF devices could reduce pain (8).



Having sleeping difficulties?

This therapy can stimulate your hypothalamus to improve your sleep patterns and restfulness.

It’s even been shown to boost the quality of your slow-sleep wave.


Arthritis Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers know how resistant the condition can be to treatment.

A 1998 study looked at how pulsed EMF impacted arthritis, and the results were quite remarkable (9).

Subjects showed less inflammation and pain.


Diabetic Nerve Pain

DPN, or diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN) is a common diabetic complication that causes severe nerve pain in the arms and legs.

A 2003 study showed that therapy application to DPN resulted in less nerve pain and improved nerve cell function (10).

Of course, these are just 12 of the many health areas PEMF therapy has been documented within. Check out our other guides to learn more.


Which Therapy is Right For You?

Clearly, pulsed electromagnetic therapy has the research to back its claims.

Frequency generator technology remains a work in progress in terms of supportive scientific data and mainstreaming the devices.

As you can see, both devices have different goals and benefits.

So, the best course in your selection is to examine your individual needs and expectations.

Do you want to build, enhance, and improve cellular function, or do you need to destroy bacteria and pathogens causing your health to suffer?

In making your selection, don’t forget to speak with your healthcare team about your electromagnetic therapy device options.