The effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) on rat sciatic nerve regeneration after a crush lesion were determined. The rats were placed between a pair of Helmholtz coils and exposed to PEMF of frequency 2 Hz and magnetic flux density of 0.3 mT. A 4 h/day treatment for 3-6 days increased the rate of nerve regeneration by 22%. This stimulatory effect was independent of the orientation of the coils. Exposure times of 1 h/day-10 h/day were equally effective in stimulating nerve regeneration. Rats exposed to PEMF for 4 h/day for 7 days before crush, followed by 3 days after crush without PEMF, also showed significantly increased regeneration. This pre-exposure 'conditioning' effect suggests that PEMF influences regeneration indirectly.