Magnetic therapy has long been used around the world to speed the healing of broken bones and soft-tissue injuries, though in the US, the practice is believed to be nonsensical and ineffective for medical purposes.
Several major studies in favor of magnets, however, have sparked new American interest and set the stage for medical pioneers in this country who have discovered the power and benefits of magnets in their practices.
Magnetic therapy has already proven effective at treating slow-healing fractures and arthritic knees and necks. Studies also suggest that regular use of magnets may reverse osteoporosis, prevent heart disease, slow tumor growth and boost mental function in some Alzheimer’s patients. People reportedly also sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed after a night on a magnetic mattress.
Evidence suggests that magnetic therapy is safe. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines routinely expose patients to magnetic fields as high as 15,000 gauss – with no negative effects. Therefore, it’s highly likely that a medical magnet rated at 200 to 800 gauss poses little threat.
How Do Magnets Work?
Studies have demonstrated quite clearly that when placed directly on the skin, a simple, handheld magnet works by:
Increasing blood flow – It stimulates cellular activity through the so-called “Hall effect,” which is general heating of the magnetized area. Some scientists think magnets improve the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, which could also stimulate blood flow to the affected area.
Diminishing pain – This occurs via a combination of the Hall effect and possibly some stabilizing influence on the autonomic nervous system.
Speeding up the process of healing – It does so by boosting the body’s synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the “fuel” that fires cellular processes, and by enhancing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
Effective Medical Uses
Arthritis – Magnetic therapy helps relieve arthritis pain and slows the deterioration of cartilage inside arthritic joints. For this effect, sleep on a magnetic mattress pad or wrap a flexible, magnetic bandage around the affected joint. To prolong the beneficial effects when using a magnetic mattress pad, remove it one or two days out of the week, every two to four weeks.
Headaches and Back Pain – When it comes to chronic headaches and jaw pain, magnetic pillow liners appear to be an effective treatment. People with chronic back pain have gotten significant relief from sleeping on magnetic mattresses and/or using magnetic seat cushions.
Soft Tissue Inflammation – Tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and other tendon or ligament problems heal faster when wrapped in magnetic bandages. In most cases, the magnet is wrapped into place over the affected area – and left in place until the pain subsides.
Broken Bones – In some hospitals, powerful electromagnets are being used to speed healing of stubborn bone fractures. Magnetic therapy also seems to promote regeneration of spinal disk tissue.
Asthma – Regular use of magnets helps prevent the severe allergic reaction in the lungs that is characteristic of bronchial asthma.
Putting Magnets to Work
The benefits of magnetic therapy are often apparent within the first hour of treatment. In others, three or four days of steady treatment are required. For maximum benefit, place magnets as close to the body as possible. The strength of the magnetic field abates with distance. A variety of magnetic devices is now available, including mattress pads, seat cushions, pillow liners, magnet-studded bandages and simple handheld magnets. Though very effective at minimizing pain and speeding healing, consult your doctor before putting these or any other medical device to use.