Do magnets have healing power? Alternative practitioners have long said yes, and recent studies suggest that they may be right.
In a recent study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found magnets to be more effective than sham magnets at blocking pain caused by post-polio syndrome.
In the controlled study, 76% of patients treated with a magnet got pain relief. Only 18% treated with a sham magnet got relief.
Growing Body of Evidence
In other studies, magnets have proven effective against:
Fibromyalgia. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston showed that magnets help reduce muscle pain caused by this mysterious condition.
In the study, patients who slept on magnetic mattresses experienced greater pain relief than patients who slept on ordinary mattresses.
Diabetic neuropathy. In research conducted at New York Medical College in Valhalla, magnetic footpads were more effective than nonmagnetic footpads at relieving numbness, tingling and pain associated with this diabetes-related problem.
Evidence suggests that roughly 80% of chronic pain sufferers could benefit from magnetic therapy. ThatÌs true for virtually any form of pain.
How magnets Relieve Pain
When held against the skin, magnets relax capillary walls, thereby boosting blood flow to the painful area.
They also help prevent the muscle spasms that underlie many forms of pain-apparently by interfering with muscle contractions. And they interfere with the electrochemical reactions that take place within nerve cells, impeding their ability to transmit pain messages to the brain.
Of course, chronic pain can be controlled with aspirin and other over-the-counter and prescription painkillers. But unlike pain medications, magnets do not carry any risk of side effects.
Selecting Medical magnets
Medical magnets come in a dizzying range of shapes, sizes and strengths. They range in price from about $5 all the way to $900.
It’s usually best to start with one or more coin-shaped magnets made of the rare earth metal neodymium-boron. For most applications, these ÏneoÓ magnets work just as well as – and cost less than – other magnets. Cost: About $10 apiece.
magnetism is measured in gauss. A typical refrigerator magnet is about 10 gauss. That’s too weak to penetrate the skin-and unlikely to be helpful for anything more than a minor bruise.
Medical magnets range in strength from 450 gauss to 10,000 gauss. The higher the gauss, the better the pain relief.
Since magnets aren’t always helpful, it’s best to purchase yours from a company that offers a money-back guarantee of at least 30 days.
For a free list of magnet manufacturers and their phone, contact the North American Academy of magnetic Therapy.
Putting magnets to Work
The magnet should be affixed to the skin directly over the painful area. Some people use ordinary adhesive bandages to affix the magnets. But Transpore – a paper tape made by 3M – works better. It holds well, and it doesn’t pull the hairs from the skin when its removed.
If the magnet fails to provide relief within a few days, reposition the magnet over the nearest acupuncture point. To locate these points on the body, consult a book on acupuncture.
If repositioning the magnet fails to bring relief within 30 days, odds are it’s not going to work. Switch to another type of magnet…or speak with your doctor about using painkilling medication or another conventional approach.
Aching feet. magnetic insoles can relieve foot pain and the achy feeling in the legs after you’ve been standing all day.
Arthritis. If pain is limited to your fingers, a neo magnet taped to the affected joint should do e trick. Or-you can wear a magnetic wristband.
For fibromyalgia or for arthritis pain throughout the body, a magnetic mattress is usually best. If the $900 cost is too much for you, opt for a magnetic pad, which will usually cost between three to five hundred dollars.