According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) magnetic therapy is used to reduce pain and treat ailments in various parts of the body 1. Promoters say magnetic rings, bracelets and other magnetic apparatus work because certain cells and tissues in the body emit electromagnetic impulses. Theoretically, when disease or injury hampers their flow, magnetic energy can rectify the imbalance and reestablish health. Magnetic therapy has been marketed as being effective to alleviate migraine headaches, repair broken bones, improve circulation and even cure cancer. However the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says magnets have no medicinal value.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Health Effect of Magnets
Magnetic therapy involves the use of fine metal magnets that are often fixed on bracelets or necklaces. The magnets are worn for varying amounts of time depending on the particular ailment receiving the therapy. The length of treatment can range from a few hours to several weeks. The ACS notes the majority of magnets sold are called static or constant magnets because the magnetic field is stationary.
- Magnetic therapy involves the use of fine metal magnets that are often fixed on bracelets or necklaces.
Magnetic bracelets are thought to have therapeutic value because of their possible influence over blood flow at the wrist arteries. It is thought that the magnetism emitting from the bracelet increases electrical conductivity of the blood and increases the amount of ions (atoms that carry a charge of electricity). The ionization process is believed to improve the efficiency of blood flow.
Supporters of magnetic bracelets and other types of magnetic therapy maintain the healing powers of magnets can speed up metabolism and produce a less acidic atmosphere in the body. The ACS says many proponents of magnets believe cancer cells cannot live in environment where acid is low, so magnetic therapy can therefore stop the spread of tumors. Proponents also maintain magnetic fields can adjust nerve impulses, reduce fatty deposits on artery walls, and even modify the thinking process to boost emotional well-being.
- Magnetic bracelets are thought to have therapeutic value because of their possible influence over blood flow at the wrist arteries.
- Supporters of magnetic bracelets and other types of magnetic therapy maintain the healing powers of magnets can speed up metabolism and produce a less acidic atmosphere in the body.
The Benefits of Magnetic Rings
British Researchers at the University of York conducting a randomized placebo-controlled trial concluded that arthritis sufferers may not find any more pain relief from wearing copper bracelets or magnetic wrist straps than those wearing demagnetized bands 2. The trial involved 70 participants over age 50, 65 of whom completed the study. The findings were reported in the October, 2009 issue of "PLoS One."
- British Researchers at the University of York conducting a randomized placebo-controlled trial concluded that arthritis sufferers may not find any more pain relief from wearing copper bracelets or magnetic wrist straps than those wearing demagnetized bands 2.
- The trial involved 70 participants over age 50, 65 of whom completed the study.
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- American Cancer Society
- PLoS One: Copper Bracelets and Magnetic Wrist Straps for Rheumatoid Arthritis – Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Effects: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Crossover Trial
- Magnetic Bracelet.UK
- Bausell RB. Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2007.
- Weiner RS. Pain Management: A Practical Guide for Clinicians, Sixth Edition. CRS Press: Boca Raton, FL; 2002.
- Arndt M. Bloomberg News. Florsheim Shoes' Magnetic Appeal. July 3, 2000.
- Justia Patents. Dynamic magnetic device and method, and components thereof. Feb 13, 2002.
- Yuksel C, Ankarali S, Yuksel NA. The use of neodymium magnets in healthcare and their effects on health. North Clin Istanb. 2018;5(3):268-273. doi:10.14744/nci.2017.00483
- Winemiller MH, Billow RG, Laskowski ER, Harmsen WS. Effect of magnetic vs sham-magnetic insoles on nonspecific foot pain in the workplace: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Mayo Clin Proc. 2005;80(9):1138-45. doi:10.4065/80.9.1138
- Jonas WB. Reframing placebo in research and practice. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, B, Biol Sci. 2011;366(1572):1896-904. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0405
- Weintraub MI, Wolfe GI, Barohn RA, et al. Static magnetic field therapy for symptomatic diabetic neuropathy: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003;84(5):736-46. doi:10.1016/s0003-9993(03)00106-0
- Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Decisions Complaint in the Matter of Magnetic Therapeutic Technologies, Inc., et al. 1999.
- Winemiller MH, Billow RG, Laskowski ER, Harmsen WS. Effect of magnetic vs sham-magnetic insoles on plantar heel pain: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2003;290(11):1474-8. doi:10.1001/jama.290.11.1474
- Riskowski J, Dufour AB, Hannan MT. Arthritis, foot pain and shoe wear: current musculoskeletal research on feet. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2011;23(2):148-55. doi:10.1097/BOR.0b013e3283422cf5
- Basford JR. A historical perspective of the popular use of electric and magnetic therapy. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001;82:1261-9.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Magnets. Updated February 2013.
Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.