The recent application of magnetic stimulation in rehabilitation is often said to solve key drawbacks of the established electrical method. Magnetic fields cause less pain, allow principally a better penetration of inhomogeneous biologic tissue and do not require skin contact. However, in most studies the evoked muscle force has been disappointing. In this paper, a comparison of a classical round circular geometry, a commercial muscle-stimulation coil and a novel design is presented, with special emphasis on the physical field properties. These systems show markedly different force responses for the same magnetic energy and highlight the enormous potential of different coil geometries. The new design resulted in a slope of the force recruiting curve being more than two and a half times higher than the other coils. The data were analyzed with respect to the underlying physical causes and field conditions. After a parameter-extraction approach, the results for the three coils span a two-dimensional space with clearly distinguishable degrees of freedom, which can be manipulated nearly separately and reflect the two main features of a field; the peak amplitude and its decay with the distance.
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