Since the late 1990s, the so-called ExMI therapy (Extracorporeal Magnetic Innervation Therapy) has been in use in the USA for the treatment of dysfunctions of the lower urinary tract, in particular in the management of hyperactive-bladder symptoms, including urge incontinence, stress incontinence, or mixed-type incontinence.
The ExMI method is based on Faraday's principle of magnetic induction, in which a pulsating magnetic field is generated. Just like electrotherapy, it exerts its effect by stimulating contraction and relaxation, albeit with one small difference: not the muscle cells, but instead the nerve cells are stimulated. When the patient, fully clothed, sits down on the treatment chair, the specially constructed therapy head installed in the base of the chair focusses the magnetic impulses.
The magnetic waves then penetrate the pelvic floor to a depth of approximately eight centimetres and locally stimulate the muscles there by activating all branches of the pudendal and splanchnic nerves. With each impulse the muscles contract and relax in a way that can be felt by the patient, with the contractions corresponding to the impulse frequency of the therapy head.
The therapy chair is controlled by means of an external control unit. In this regard the programming of the NeoControl system can be varied to meet specific patient requirements by individually adjusting the duration, frequency, and strength. Studies carried out in the USA show that 20 sessions (two 20-minute sessions over a period of six weeks) are sufficient to produce a successful therapeutical outcome.
The patients, who remain seated fully clothed on the NeoControl chair for the duration of the session, experience this form of therapy as pleasant compared with conventional methods. This is where the success of the noninvasive therapy principle lies. The external contraction stimulation trains the muscles of the pelvic floor and restores their power - completely pain-free for the patient. In many cases, the reacquired perception for the location of the muscles and the restored mobility of the pelvic floor sets the stage for active pelvic-floor exercise in the first place and can correspondingly enhance the therapeutic success.
Practical experience gained in Germany confirms that the NeoControl system can bring about a substantial reduction in miction frequency in patients suffering from urge and stress incontinence. Since incontinence can also affect middle-aged women who have already had several births, this gentle method is also suited for the treatment of this group of patients.
In future, the Extracorporeal Magnetic Innervation Therapy method will be used not only for the prevention of incontinence following pregnancy, but also for the management of faecal incontinence, for the restoration of the pelvic-floor muscles of patients with MS, and also for the treatment of anorgasmy in women and erectile dysfunction in men.