From those suffering from chronic illness to professional athletes to weekend warriors, people are using magnets to successfully relieve pain. They are taping them to their shoulders, wrapping them around their backs, walking on magnetic insoles and sleeping on magnetic mattress pads.
How can magnets ease pain? Some contend that magnetic fields attract and repel charged particles in the blood, creating movement and heat and causing the blood vessels to dilate. Others theorize that negative magnetic fields normalize the disturbed metabolic functions in the cells that cause pain such as swelling, excessive acidity and lack of oxygen. And then there are the naysayers who don’t believe magnets can do a thing to relieve pain. They are met with the thousands who enjoy pain-free living and attribute it all to magnets.
Magnetic healing was first mentioned in 200 B.C. by a Greek physician and has been used consistently throughout history to ease muscle and joint aches. Cleopatra supposedly wore a magnet on her face to retain the beauty of her youth.
While medical community may still be in disagreement as to exactly what gives magnets their ability to ease pain, there are research stats to prove that they do.
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Dr. Carlos Vallbona, the former chairman of the department of community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, was once skeptical about the pain-relieving power of magnets before he conducted his own study at the university. He tested 50 patients who were experiencing pain from post-polio syndrome. All subjects were asked to rate their pain (from 0-10, 10 being worst) at the beginning of the test and then again after receiving just one 45-minute treatment with either a magnet or placebo.
For those who received treatment with a magnet, their average pain level scores dropped to 4.4 from an original score of 9.6. Those treated with the placebo had an average score of 8.4 after treatment, down from 9.5. These impressive results got the attention of self-professed disbelievers like Dr. William Jarvis, professor of public health and preventative medicine at Loma Linda University and President of the National Council Against Health Fraud. He said in an interview that the Baylor study results “changed his mind” about magnetic therapy.
And what about all those athletes that swear by magnets? Ronnie Lott of the Oakland raiders and Chi Chi Rodriguez of the Senior P.G.A. Tour swear by the power of magnetic healing. “I was willing to try anything within league limits to relieve pain during my playing days,” says Lott. “But believe me, I would not have kept using magnets if they didn’t work.”
Magnets are non-invasive, low-cost and side-effect free way to stop the cycle of chronic pain. And for those who suffer from this relentless discomfort, that may be just the risk-free ticket!
1. Altman, Lawrence K., M.D. “Study on Using Magnets to Treat Pain Surprises Skeptics.” New York Times, December 9, 1997.
2. The Burton Goldberg Group. Alternative Medicine – The Definitive Guide. California: Future Medicine Publishing, Inc. 1997.
3. Condor, Bob. “Doctors are Paying New Heed to Magnet Therapy.” The Boston Sunday Globe. March 22, 1998.
This article also published by Health Resource in the CFIDS & FM Health Resource Email Bulletin on October 15, 1999.