Healing with Magnets
Magnetic therapy involves the effect of a magnet’s magnetic field on the physical body. The energy of magnets may:
- Increase blood circulation, which also would improve healing as more oxygenated blood would be circulating through the body
- Stimulate enzyme activity, which would also speed healing
- Reduce inflammation by enlarging the diameter of blood vessels
- Reduce pain by effecting pain receptors and possibly stimulating endorphin production
- Restore the body’s electrical balance and pH balance
How is all of this possible?
We have positively and negatively charged ions coursing through our veins and the human body is surrounded by an electromagnetic field. Known as prana in ancient India, Qi in ancient China, and the astral light in Jewish mystical teachings, people have always been aware of the human energy field. In the past century scientists all over the world, from Semyon Kirlian in Russia to Dr. Robert Becker of Upstate Medical School, have been able to study and identify this phenomena. That the magnetic field of a strong magnet may have some impact on the physical body via the human energy field and the electrical charges within our bodies may be possible based on this ancient and now modern science. But, what has research shown about the effectiveness of magnetic therapy? Does magnetic therapy work?
Magnets are said to possibly be beneficial for many conditions, including:
- Migraine headaches
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sports injuries
They are ideally suited for people suffering from chronic pain and inflammation who are looking for an alternative to drugs or invasive treatment. According to Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone by Dr. Linda Page, a study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 1997 showed that patients who experienced post-polio pain benefited from magnets. More studies done at John Hopkins, Yale, and NYU have supported the benefits of magnets for pain related to tendonitis, arthritis, and venous ulcers. Another more recent National Institutes of Health clinical trial did show that magnetic therapy may have mild benefits for sufferers of back pain.
Despite the positive results for the effectiveness of magnetic therapy there have been plenty of clinical trials which have shown that magnets do not work. The New York College of Podiatric Medicine tried to find out if magnets could help patients suffering from heel pain — no positive effects were reported. Research done at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Prescott, Arizona found that magnetic therapy did not work for back pain. Research on the effects of magnets and blood flow has shown that in healthy people magnetic therapy does not increase circulation.
Are Magnets Beneficial for Healing?
So, does magnetic therapy work? Should you try magnets to relieve pain and improve healing? According to scientific research there is just not enough evidence to support the claims of magnet manufacturers. As they are generally safe for use (do not use if pregnant, or in the presence of pacemakers, insulin pumps, and automatic defibrillators) the only negative side effect of choosing to try magnets is the cost. A cheap magnet with a small magnetic field is unlikely to yield benefits. A strong magnet from a trusted source may be beneficial for some people.
If you are considering using magnetic therapy talk to your doctor, research the manufacturer of where you are planning on purchasing your magnet, and make sure you are using them properly. Many people have reported pain relief and other positive benefits. While clinical trials may not yield conclusive evidence, they may be beneficial in some cases.
Alvino, Gloria. “The Human Energy Field.” https://twm.co.nz/energ.html
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine https://nccam.nih.gov/health/magnet/magnetsforpain.htm
Balch, Phyllis A. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Page, Linda. “Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone.” Eleventh Edition (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
photo by Kakila
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