Rife machines and cancer

Rife machines produce low electromagnetic energy waves. These waves are similar to radio waves. Supporters of the treatment claim that the Rife machine can treat different conditions including cancer. There is no reliable evidence that the Rife machine works as a cure for cancer.


  • Rife machines use electromagnetic frequency.
  • Supporters of the machine claim that by using a frequency that is similar to the frequency of cancer cells it can cure cancer.
  • There is no reliable evidence to use it as a treatment for cancer.

What is the Rife machine?

Royal Raymond Rife developed the Rife machine in the 1920s. He was an American scientist. The machine is also called a Rife frequency generator.

The Rife machine and other types of similar machines produce low energy waves. These waves are also called radio frequency electromagnetic fields. They have low energy compared to x-rays or radiotherapy which has high energy. The use of low energy waves as a treatment is less common, but there is some research on it.

Why people with cancer use it

Rife and his supporters say that all medical conditions have an electromagnetic frequency. Rife treatment works by finding the frequency of the condition. An impulse of the same frequency is then used to kill or disable diseased cells.

Many websites are claiming the Rife machine can cure cancer. Most of these claims are personal accounts. They don’t have any scientific research to back them up.

How you have it

The Rife machine delivers the low energy electrical energy usually through your hands or feet. This might be electrical pads that you put on either your feet or hands or hand held plasma tubes. These attach to the machine, which produces electrical impulses. You use it for a few minutes a day, several times a week.

Side effects

Supporters of the Rife machine say there aren’t any side effects. But there have been some reports of electrical shocks and rashes.

Research into Rife machines as a cancer treatment

Before doctors can use a new treatment, it goes through a long process of development. During this process, the researchers test to check that it works. They make sure that it doesn’t do any harm, and that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

The Rife machine hasn't been through the usual process of scientific testing. There are studies that looked at low energy waves as a treatment for cancer. They used machines that work in the same way as the Rife machine. Some of these studies were in the laboratory.

One study was on a small number of people with advanced cancer. They had a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma. Researchers found that the low frequency waves affected cancer cells. It did not affect normal cells. But this research is still at an experimental stage, and it’s not clear exactly how it could work. And importantly the electromagnetic frequencies used in this research were not the same as those of Rife machines.

Despite the evidence that low energy waves might kill cancer cells, we need more research. Only then can doctors use low energy waves to try to cure cancer. 

What a Rife machine costs

Rife machines can be costly. They can range from hundreds to thousands of pounds. Do not believe information on the internet that is not backed up by research.

A word of caution

It is understandable that you might want to try anything if you think it might help treat or cure your cancer. Only you can decide whether to use an alternative cancer therapy such as a Rife machine.

You could harm your health if you stop your cancer treatment for an unproven treatment.

Many websites promote the Rife machine as a cure for cancer. But no reputable scientific cancer organisations support any of these claims.

  • Mechanisms and therapeutic effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in oncology
    M Vadalà and others
    Cancer Medicine, 2016. Volume 5, Issue 11, Pages 3128-3139

  • Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields affect proliferation and mitochondrial activity of human cancer cell lines
    M Destefanis and others
    International Journal of Radiation Biology, 2015. Volume 91, Issue 12

  • Targeted treatment of cancer with radiofrequency electromagnetic fields amplitude-modulated at tumor-specific frequencies
    J Zimmerman and others
    Chinese Journal of Cancer. 2013 November; 32(11):573-81

  • Cancer cell proliferation is inhibited by specific modulation frequencies
    JW Zimmerman
    British Journal of Cancer, 2012, 106, pages 307–313

  • Treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with very low levels of amplitude-modulated electromagnetic fields
    F Costa and others
    British Journal of Cancer. 2011 August 23;105(5):640-8

  • We looked at many websites when creating this information but they are advertising Rife machines or treatments and they make misleading claims. So we have not included these references or links on the site.

Last reviewed: 
13 Jun 2022
Next review due: 
13 Jun 2025

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