Magnet therapy represents one of the cheapest and most widely available forms of energy therapy.
One of the problems that face professionals and companies who are involved in marketing and researching magnetic therapy is that the scientific evidence to date has generally been of fairly poor quality and often contradictory in its finding’s.
In order to portray magnet therapy as a credible and effective therapeutic approach we need to:
- Distinguish between the facts and the theories related to magnet therapy.
- Provide testimonial evidence from professionals, celebrities and the general public
- Provide details of past, current and future research work.
Magnetic therapy is not
- A miracle or magic bullet
- The answer to every illness & condition
- To be used by persons who are pregnant, wearing pacemakers, defibrillators, insulin pumps or other electro-insulin devices should not use magnetic therapy
- To be used when a diagnosis has not been established
- To replace certain medications needed for infections, diabetes or heart disease for example.
Magnet therpay is
- Safe, with no side effects. The World Health Organization published a study in 1987 that essentially laid to rest the notion that magnets in the strengths commonly used for therapeutic uses have any detrimental effect on the human body.
- Profitable. Sales for magnetic therapy products in 1999 reached $5 billion worldwide, including $1.9 billion in Europe according to Nikken, the World’s leader in the MLM of biomagnetics.
- Popular. Used by an estimated 35 million customers in 22 countries use magnet therapy products, this equates to 1 in 7 Japanese, 1 in 200 American and 1 in 10,000 European households.
- Growing. The fastest growing market is Europe, with the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden providing the top 3 growing markets (Nikken UK Ltd)
- Affordable. Most static magnet therapy products retail for £9.00 to £40.00.
- Non-invasive. Magnets are applied either directly to the skin or near to the skin in a neoprene or similar wrap.
- Anecdotally effective. There are thousands of testimonials available from patients who have used magnet therapy to treat a wide range of conditions.
- Used and recommended by professionals. Doctors, nurses, complementary health practitioners
- Used and recommended by the general public.
- Used and recommended by sports personalities. Many senior pro golfers use and endorse magnet therapy to treat sports related conditions.
- Recorded in the history of most civilisations. The first usage is noted in Chinese writings (approx. 2000 B.C) on the use of magnetism with acupuncture. Ancient Hindu, Egyptian, Persian and Tibetan writings refer to the use of a lodestone. Cleopatra is said to have worn a lodestone on her forehead to forestall ageing.
- Used by pioneering physicians such as Paracelsus. The idea that magnetic therapy could be used to treat disease began in the early 16th century with the Swiss physician, philosopher, and alchemist Paracelsus, who used magnets to treat epilepsy, diarrhoea, and haemorrhage. Charles Mackay, in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841), says of Paracelsus that “his claim to be the first of the magnetisers can scarcely be challenged.”
Properties of Magnets – FACT
- Magnetic poles are always found in pairs. No matter how many times a magnet is cut there is always a North (-) pole, and a South (+) pole.
- The two poles are attracted to their opposites (North to South, South to North).
- Gauss refers to the designated strength of a magnetic field of energy. Surface gauss depends on thickness and size of the magnet. The Earth’s natural surface gauss is approximately 0.5 gauss. Gauss strength diminishes the further the distance from the magnetic field.
- Rare earth magnets such as Neodymium-Iron-Boron have permanent magnetic capabilities and are far more advanced than rubber and plastic magnets. Their characteristics and properties are stronger and very distinctive.
- With its permanence, high energy and depth of penetration, Neodymium leads the field of magnetism in pain therapy. Due to its power, Neodymium permits a much smaller and more manageable magnet to be applied to the parts of the body requiring magnetic energy.
- Ferrite-ceramic magnets tend to diffuse the magnetic energy they emit, they are of value in mattress pads and throws.
Main research projects to date- FACT
Although medical doctors and researchers remain sceptical as to the effectiveness of magnetic therapy, recent research studies from major universities and medical colleges have shown the benefits of static magnets fields in relieving pain
The Office of Alternative Medicine of the National Institute of Health, Washington, D.C., awarded a million dollar grant in 1997 for the study of what has been, until now, largely an Eastern and European phenomenon. Medical use of magnets is a reimbursable medical expense in over 50 countries worldwide.
Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Carlos Valbona in 1997 published a double-blind randomised controlled study of 50 patients who suffered from muscular or arthritis joint pain. 76% of the patients that were treated using permanent magnets, reported a significant decrease in arthritic joint and muscle pain vs. only 19% of placebo patients.
New York Medical College Dr. Michael Weintraub, a clinical professor of neurology at New York Medical College, released a study in 1999 that showed he had significantly reduced the foot pain that afflicts millions of diabetics. Using magnetic insoles, nine out of ten diabetics reported a decrease in painful burning sensations, numbness and tingling vs. only a 22% improvement in the placebo group.
Vanderbilt University Medical Centre found that between 80-90% of patients with pain related to sports injuries and accidents found relief after magnet treatments.
The following are reported effects of magnets – THEORY
- Improved circulation to the extremities
- Bone fractures heal up to 40% faster
- Oxygen absorption from the lung increases
- Greater resistance to infection and colds
- Speeds recovery of torn muscles, ligaments and tendons
- Reduces bruising and swelling
- Helps alleviate pain and improve mobility in arthritic joints
- Reduces cramps and chilblains
- Normalisation of blood pressure
- Improved scar healing after operation
- Encourages and improves the quality of sleep
- Acceleration of nerve regeneration and functional recovery
How magnets work – Theory
There is still much research and debate about how magnets work. Different theories have been cited by different manufacturers but none have proven conclusive.
Conventional theories on how static magnets work include:
- There is a consensus that increased blood flow to the area influenced by the magnetic field is one of the primary results of magnetic treatment. This has been observed in both thermographic and nuclear medicine studies as reported in professional journals.
- The movement of magnetic fields through muscles and joints or other tissue has been found to trigger incremental capillary blood flow. This in turn flushes toxins and inflammatory agents out of the tissue. There is evidence of a pain blocking mechanism in nerve fibers when subjected to magnetic fields.
- When a magnet is applied to the body muscles lengthen and relax, magnetic waves pass through the tissue and secondary currents are induced. When those currents clash with magnetic waves they produce impacting heat on the electrons in the body cells. These impacting heats are very effective in the reduction of muscle swelling and pain
- There is also significant evidence of a pain blocking mechanism in nerve fibers themselves when subjected to magnetic fields. Researchers have been able to shift the resting potential (thereby raising the required stimulus to pain) of nerve cells in the laboratory by 25% using the NORSO Dynamag® technology.
- They can affect nerve signals. High strength magnets can cause anaesthesia, through a principle in physics called the Hall effect. Dr. Robert Becker (author of Body Electric) put salamanders to sleep before surgery with electromagnetics more safely than anaesthetics.
I’ll summarise my theory and knowledge of how magnets work.
Electricity – FACTS
- Electricity arises within the body on a large scale by the movement of charged ions such as sodium, potassium across cell membranes.
- This electricity has been widely studied by a number of different scientists including physiologists, electrobiologists and neurophysiologists.
- Doctors and scientists have been measuring the body’s electrical field’s for over 75 years, for example we can measure the electricity of the heart using an ECG (electrocardiogram) and that of the brain using a EEG (electroencephaologram).
- The basic laws of physics state that when an electric current flows through a conductor (tissues) a magnetic field is created in the surrounding space.
Magnetic fields – FACTS
- All living organisms have a biomagnetic field around them.
- These fields change from moment to moment in relation to events taking place inside the body
- During health, cells vibrate with their own characteristic electromagnetic frequency. During disease, a cell’s electromagnetic vibration changes.
- We have been able to measure and study these biomagnetic fields using specialist quantum devices (such as the SQUID magnetometer) for over 30 years.
- Measurement of these biomagnetic fields are more accurate than classical electrical diagnostic tools such as the ECG.
- These biomagnetic fields constantly interact with and are influenced by our electromagnetic environment.
The Electromagnetic Environment – FACTS
- We can divide the effects of the electromagnetic environment into protective and detrimental effects on the human body.
- Physicists have documented that the protective powers of the Earths magnetic fields may have degraded 50 percent over the past 1000 years, with a full 5 per cent decline recorded in the last 100 years.
- Coupled with a decline in this ‘protective’ electromagnetic fields, the electromagnetic pollution of televisions, computers, mobile phones and the natural radiation from sun spots, moon phases, solar and geomagnetic storms can cause an imbalance in the body’s magnetic energy (normal vibratory cycle 7.96 cycles per second) leading to illness and disease.
- In the last decade, evidence has rapidly accumulated that supports the hypothesis that exogenous electric / electromagnetic fields and low energy nonionising radiation can influence and modulate the properties of biological systems. There is increasing amount of evidence linking the effects of electromagnetic pollution with certain diseases, such as leukaemia. Whether there is a direct causal relationship or diseases result from a weakening of the body’s ability to heal itself is yet to be determined.
- The effects of this decline in the magnetic field on human health was realised when early cosmonauts experienced bone-calcium loss and muscle cramps when in space above the earth’s magnetic field for an extended time. When artificial magnetic fields were placed in the space capsule, the astronauts maintained their health to a much greater degree.
- One of the most convincing research findings emerged from Japan in the 1950s when Dr. Kyochi Nakagawa named a condition called Magnetic Field Deficiency Syndrome. This condition was characterised by lack of energy, general aches and pains, frequent headaches, dizziness, etc. These symptoms resemble Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was noted that many buildings in modern Japanese cities are constructed with iron and steel girders in their infrastructures and that such metals appear to have a magnetic shielding effect in that they block the penetration of the normal background magnetism of the Earth’s magnetic field into the buildings interiors.
- The symptoms of Magnetic Field Deficiency Syndrome were alleviated by the external application of a magnetic field to the human body. It appears that a certain minimal exposure to the geomagnetic field is critical to maintaining health.
My theory is that applying static magnets activates the body’s natural healing mechanisms by helping cells to regain their natural electromagnetic field.
Quite Simple Really!
Dr Mark Atkinson MBBS BsC (HONS) FRIPHH FCMA is a medical doctor, practitioner of integrated medicine and Vice President of the Complementary Medical Association. He specialises in the integrated treatment of chronic conditions such as arthritis and chronic fatigue by providing his clients with safe, effective and scientifically validated strategies designed to support the body’s natural healing processes.