Alternative health magnetic therapy, magnetic bracelets and various other magnet-containing products are advertised often on TV and in magazines.
They rely on the power of an alternative healing method known as magnetic therapy.
Does magnetic therapy really work ??
I spent some time really researching this subject.
I, personally, have had a fair amount of pain relief, when wearing a wrist or knee or elbow brace of magnets.
And so have many, many other people.
There is a lot of controversy on this subject!
It is a HUGE business now, the advertisements for bracelets and necklaces and anklets and shoe inserts and head bands, and even dog collars, professing to relieve your aches and pains.
But does magnetic therapy really work to relieve pain?
I actually found the background of using magnets for therapy pretty interesting.
A little history lesson:
Back in the 16th century in Switzerland, a man with a very long name, but was known as Paracelsus, born in 1493, was a very well known alchemist, scientist, researcher and mineralogist. He was said to have gained his knowledge of healing from “witches, gypsies, and sorcerers”, and was credited with ‘curing the incurable’. Paracelsus was constantly in conflict with the medical profession with his unorthodox methods of healing people that others could not heal.
At an early age, he had an advanced knowledge of the scientific principles of magnetism. He was grinding lodestone, a type of ore that could attract iron, into a powder, making it into a salve, and applying it to the bodies of sick people, with “miraculous results”. Paracelsus was always being run out of town for some indiscretion or another.
Jumping to 1799, Dr Franz Mesmer (from which ‘mesmerize’ was coined) opened up a ‘Magnetic Healing Salon’ in Paris, where he would wave a magnetic rod over a patient’s head to heal them of various afflictions. He coined this term ‘animal magnetism’.
Over to Ben Franklin, commissioned to do a double-blind study, and animal magnetism was ‘proven’ to be no more than a placebo.
But this still did not faze the many who were cured of headaches and other maladies by magnet therapy.
Magnets were not talked about much until an 1890’s Sears Catalog carried shoe inserts that cured sore feet.
At the same time, Dr Daniel Palmer opened his School of Magnetic Cure, but soon found that his patients improved also without magnets, just the laying on of hands. He then created a School of Chiropractic Therapy, claiming that each organ in the body is tuned to a particular electro-magnetic wavelength. At this point, the American Medical Association named him a 20th century charlatan.
This quieted down things for another hundred years!
We are now back to a resurgence of magnets and titanium devices, claiming to heal our pain, at the tune of a billion dollars a year.
Magnetic Therapy Products are now Everywhere.
Who Is Right?
Science has not validated the claims of the many believers!
These are the claims that are made, and then the research that I have found.
One claim is that blood contains iron and that magnets promote healing by increasing blood flow.
It has been proven that strong magnets actually Repel blood as blood is diamagnetic (magnetized 180 degrees to the source). Normal blood flow is highly pressure driven, and the effect of magnets is too small to actually change the flow. You can prove this to yourself by putting a therapeutic magnet in your palm. Your skin would become pink and warm if the blood flow actually increased from the alternative health magnetic therapy.
Another claim is that magnets can decrease swelling and in turn, pain, by lining up the water molecules in our bodies. If this were true, an MRI scan magnet, which generates enormous amounts of magnetic pull, has not been shown to have this affect on our bodies. If it did, there would be many (more) warnings when getting an MRI.
Some claim that magnets can alter the way that our nerves and nerve cells conduct electricity. This has also been disproven.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (part of the National Institute of Health), after reviewing massive amounts of scientific literature on the subject of magnets and health, concluded that “the majority of rigorous trials… have found no effect on pain”.
They do stress, however, that there are many variables of alternative health magnetic therapy still to be studied, such as type of magnet, strength, frequency of use, etc.
I say, if alternative health magnetic therapy helps to reduce your pain or inflammation, then it works!
Please be aware of a few precautions though.
If you are pregnant, magnetic therapy is not recommended, as it has not been researched enough.
If you have a pacemaker, insulin pump, brain stimulator, or some other kind of electrical implant, Do Not Use!
And don’t wear continually, short periods of time are best.
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