Thousands of years ago when magnets were first discovered, people believed in their healing powers; in fact, in the 19th century prior to chiropractors, magnetic healer D.D. Palmer helped people’s aches and pains before founding chiropractic care. Ever since, magnetic healing has been a popular path of alternate care, even developing into a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Magnet therapy, or magnotherapy, uses static magnetic fields as a source of alternative medicine. Those who practice magnet therapy believe when using permanent magnets on certain parts of the body, their magnetostatic fields have health benefits.
Interestingly enough though, scientific research does not actually support the claims of magnetic healing powers in therapy, stating that most of the claims made my magnetic marketing are unsupported, completely false, or exaggerated and misleading.
The idea behind magnotherapy is that the magnetic part of your blood is drawn to the magnet, changing and directing the blood flow away from the source or pain. While hemoglobin in the blood has a weak diamagnetic or paramagnetic charge, when magnetic therapy is used, the magnitude is not strong enough to measurably impact the flow of blood.
With magnetic therapy, permanent static magnets are used in products like jewelry, body straps for wrists, ankles, and knees, mattresses, blankets, creams, and supplements. The claim is that magnets can improve blood flow, which is a common cause of pain in many underlying health issues, when in scientific reality, blood flow and tissue oxygenation is unaffected by the application.
While these applications are considered safe, the issues lie in the significance and efficacy of the treatment itself.
So how do patients report reduction of aches and pains with magnetic therapy? Is there a placebo effect? And if there’s a placebo effect that works, can we say that magnetic therapy can still be useful, even if it is not substantiated in medical or scientific proof?
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