Monday, March 13, 2006

Magnetic Therapy - does it work?


In the United Kingdom the Health authorities have given approval to a form of magnetic wrap used in the treatment of leg ulcers. In clinical trials the leg wrap showed a greater than 60% success rate and doctors are allowed to prescribe this treatment.

There are several theories as how magnetic therapy works. Some people believe magnets improve circulation by attracting the iron in blood. As a result it improves circulation and increases the oxygen supply in the affected muscle and tissue to improve the healing process.

Doctors at Imperial College London administered intense magnetic pulse stimulation (similar to strength of an MRI scan) to people suffering from partial damage to their spinal cord. The form of therapy led to improved muscle and limb movement, and increased ability to feel sensations.

Some people believe magnets reduce negative energy in the body while others believe they encourage healthy tissue to generate minute electrical currents which provide a stimulus to promote the healing process.

There are a significant number of people using magnetic therapy to treat joint pains, sports injuries, backache, muscle soreness and many other ailments with lots of anecdotal evidence as to the success of the various forms of treatment.

In addition to the increasing number of people using magnetic therapy treatments it is becoming more widely used to treat animals, particularly for those with ailments like arthritis. Many animal owners often report claims of remarkable improvement.


Lack of good controlled studies carried out with the same disciplines as those normally carried out when testing new drugs is probably the single biggest factor working against the proponents of magnetic therapy. And even where double-blind studies have been carried out results have often been questioned due to anomalies found in the control groups.

Studies carried out into benefits of magnetic insoles compared to placebo insoles (of aluminium foil) showed no significant benefit of the magnetic insoles compared to the placebo.

The claim that magnets increase circulation is questioned on several fronts. Not least, if the circulation increase was of any significance the skin area under the magnet would become red. Tests involving measuring blood flow when an area of the body subjected to a high magnetic field found no increase in blood flow.
Other randomized studies with chronic back pain sufferers showed no significant improvement in pain or mobility when treatment with magnetic therapy was compared with a placebo treatment.

In the US there has been a significant number of successful legal claims by federal and state administrations brought against companies selling magnetic products which claim to bring relief to people suffering from ailments like sciatica, herniated discs, asthma, bronchitis, cataracts, chronic fatigue syndrome, colitis, diverticulitis, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and many more health conditions.

In Conclusion

There is little scientific evidence to verify that magnets placed about the body can help relieve pain or cure any disease. Many magnetic products are embedded in bandage type supports with Velcro fastenings – could it be that the bandage effect itself helps improve the blood circulation and that in itself helps the healing process?

Many magnetic bracelets are copper, could it be that absorbsion of copper through the skin plays a significant part in helping people who suffer from copper deficiency

There are many users of magnetic products who swear by them – and if the product itself is inexpensive and it might be worth a try too see if it works for you. If it does, even if it is a placebo effect, who cares. If it doesn’t work for you move on to something else either conventional or alternative.

This information contained in this article should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. You should always consult with your health care professional especially relating to the suitability of alternative treatments on all health matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention