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The Case For Magnets
Magnet Information

The following references are for the purpose of providing you with sources of information regarding the uses of magnetic products. Magnetic products are considered to be an unproven remedy. Although magnetic products and the study of them are generally dismissed by the scientific community, thousands wear them every day. As you meet someone wearing magnets, ask them about the product. That may be some of the best first-hand information you can get!

Magnetic products should not be worn next to a watch, because it may drain the battery. Do not use magnet products during pregnancy, or if you have an electrical implant such as a pacemaker. Consult with your doctor if you have any questions and continue with regular medical care.

Magnets have been used in different cultures over the years by those who believe magnets worn on the body promote good health. One theory is that magnet therapy may be beneficial by affecting the circulation of the blood in the body. Increased circulation is beneficial because the body gets more of the nutrients from the blood. Magnetic Bracelets like these are found on our site at 

...Magnets have become the latest craze in alternative medicine -- though federal regulators said there's not enough evidence to show they can help with any specific ailment....

Magnets have been touted for centuries for their healing purposes. In ancient times, lodestones, which possess magnetic polarity and attract iron, were said to have therapeutic powers. Cleopatra supposedly wore a magnet on her face to maintain a youthful appearance. An advertisement in Harper's Magazine in the late 1800s offered magnetic belts and insoles as a cure for sleeplessness, hysteria, and indigestion

Promoters and researchers who think magnets work aren't quite sure how they do. Some say they speed blood flow. Others say they scramble pain signals sent to the brain., or they talk of pulling cells in some sort of equilibrium....

...The study most often cited in support of magnets is from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston., where researchers tested one brand of magnets on 50 people with post-polio pain and concluded they helped provide relief. Neither the patients nor the researchers knew which magnets were real and which were placebos.

"Based on our study, there is no question on the efficacy of magnets for the control of pain in the population we studied, "said Carlos Vallbona, who conducted the study. But before broad conclusions can be drawn, he said, the study has to be repeated in other settings....

Justin Blum - Washington Post Staff Writer - Monday April 19, 1999; Page B01 

Magnets have been used therapeutically to relieve pain and discomfort for thousands of years, perhaps longer than acupuncture, which is over two thousand years old. The first reported therapeutic use of magnets involved the grinding up of a naturally occurring material called magnetite and the application of this in poultice from to uncomfortable areas of the body.

Magnetite makes for a relatively weak magnet by today’s standards. But since the earth’s naturally occurring magnetic field was far higher in the past (2 to 3 gauss as opposed to 1⁄2 gauss today), magnetite crystals may have been stronger at one point in time. Still, this is a weak field by today’s standards, as one can easily buy a magnet with an internal gauss strength of 10,000 (1 tesla) or more. Such high exposures do not appear in any way detrimental; at worst, they seem harmless and at best they appear to help a variety of conditions.

Exposure to the earth’s magnetic field plays an essential role in our health, a fact clearly demonstrated when the first astronauts returned to earth sick. Their illness was soon attributed to a lack of magnetism in outer space and the problem was subsequently resolved when NASA placed magnets in their space suits and spaceships.

It has been since discovered that in the absence of a magnetic field, the energy level of atoms diminishes. Necessary nutrients become depolarized and unusable. If this condition is permitted to continue, the body can become imbalanced and function improperly. By restoring balance to an organism, biomagnetic therapy can alleviate a number of health conditions……

…..To understand how magnets work to alleviate pain, it may help to look at pain mechanisms in the body. Pain is transmitted along nerve cells as an electric signal. While quiescent, the nerve has a small charge of about –70 mV. A pain signal depolarizes a cell. Magnets appear to raise the depolarization, in effect, blocking the pain. Furthermore, the ability of the nerve to send pain is slowed by a magnetic field. These phenomena can aid in the relief of pain throughout the body.

Pain relief may be enhanced when a magnet’s negative pole is placed over certain acupuncture meridians. Research and clinical experience show that magnets increase energy (qi) along these points. The combination of therapies works synergistically, so that their combined effects are greater than the sum of their effects would be if they were used separately. In addition, acupuncturists like magnets because they are painless and allow the treatment to continue long after a visit.

Null, Gary  Phd. Healing With Magnets; pp 19-21; Copyright 1998; Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc.


By: Kim Sharp

Magnetic therapy dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians. Magnets have long been believed to have healing powers associated with muscle pain and stiffness. Chinese healers as early as 200 B.C. were said to use magnetic lodestones on the body to correct unhealthy imbalances in the flow of qi, or energy. The ancient Chinese medical text known as The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine describes this procedure. The Vedas, or ancient Hindu scriptures, also mention the treatment of diseases with lodestones. The word "lodestone" or leading stone, came from the use of these stones as compasses. The word "magnet" probably stems from the Greek Magnes lithos, or "stone from Magnesia," a region of Greece rich in magnetic stones. The Greek phrase later became magneta in Latin.

Sir William Gilbert's 1600 treatise, De Magnete, was the first scholarly attempt to explain the nature of magnetism and how it differed from the attractive force of static electricity. Gilbert allegedly used magnets to relieve the arthritic pains of Queen Elizabeth I. Contemporary American interest in magnetic therapy began in the 1990s, as several professional golfers and football players offered testimony that the devices seemed to cure their nagging aches and injuries.

Many centuries ago, the earth was surrounded by a much stronger magnetic field than it is today. Over the past 155 years, scientists have been studying the decline of this magnetic field and the effects it has had on human health. When the first cosmonauts and astronauts were going into space, physicians noted that they experienced bone calcium loss and muscle cramps when they were out of the Earth's magnetic field for any extended period of time. After this discovery was made, artifical magnetic fields were placed in the space capsules…

…There are two theories that are used to explain magnetic therapy. One theory maintains that magnets produce a slight electrical current. When magnets are applied to a painful area of the body, the nerves in that area are stimulated, thus releasing the body's natural painkillers. The other theory maintains that when magnets are applied to a painful area of the body, all the cells in that area react to increase blood circulation, ion exchange, and oxygen flow to the area. Magnetic fields attract and repel charged particles in the bloodstream, increasing blood flow and producing heat. Increased oxygen in the tissues and blood stream is thought to make a considerable difference in the speed of healing.
There are no special preparations for using magnetic therapy other than purchasing a product that is specific for the painful area being treated. Products available in a range of prices include necklaces and bracelets; knee, back, shoulder and wrist braces; mattress pads; gloves; shoe inserts; and more.
The primary precaution involved with magnetic therapy is to recognize the expense of this therapy. Magnets have become big business; they can be found in mail-order catalogs and stores ranging from upscale department stores to specialty stores. As is the case with many popular self-administered therapies, many far-fetched claims are being made about the effectiveness of magnetic therapy. Consumers should adopt a "let the buyer beware" approach to magnetic therapy. Persons who are interested in this form of treatment should try out a small, inexpensive item to see if it works for them before investing in the more expensive products.

There are very few side effects from using magnetic therapy. Generally, patients using this therapy find that it either works for them or it does not. Patients using transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of depression reported mild headache as their only side effect.

Magnetic therapy is becoming more and more widely accepted as an alternative method of pain relief. Since the late 1950s, hundreds of studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of magnetic therapy. In 1997, a group of physicians at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas studied the use of magnetic therapy in 50 patients who had developed polio earlier in life. These patients had muscle and joint pain that standard treatments failed to manage. In this study, 29 of the patients wore a magnet taped over a trouble spot, and 21 others wore a nonmagnetic device. Neither the researchers nor the patients were told which treatment they were receiving (magnetic or nonmagnetic). As is the case with most studies involving a placebo, some of the patients responded to the nonmagnetic therapy, but 75% of those using the magnetic therapy reported feeling much better.

In another study at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, a neurologist tested magnetic therapy on a group of 19 men and women complaining of moderate to severe burning, tingling, or numbness in their feet. Their problems were caused by diabetes or other conditions present such as alcoholism. This group of patients wore a magnetic insole inside one of their socks or shoes for 24 hours a day over a two-month period, except while bathing. They wore a nonmagnetic insert in their other sock or shoe. Then for two months they wore magnetic inserts on both feet. By the end of the study, nine out of ten of the diabetic patients reported relief, while only three of nine nondiabetic patients reported relief. The neurologist in charge of the study believes that this study opens the door to additional research into magnetic therapy for diabetic patients. He plans a larger follow-up study in the near future.

As of 2000, a federally funded study is underway at the University of Virginia. This study is evaluating the effectiveness of magnetic mattress pads in easing the muscle pain, stiffness and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia.

Magnetic therapy is also being studied in the treatment of depression in patients with bipolar disorder. A procedure called repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation has shown promise in treating this condition. In this particular study, patients with depression had a lower relapse rate than did those using electroconvulsive therapy. Unlike electroconvulsive therapy, patients using magnetic therapy did not suffer from seizures, memory lapses, or impaired thinking.Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine.

Gale Group, 2001


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