Magnetic fields are all around us and a major part of everyday life. They¬†add greatly to the quality of modern living. The sunlight, which makes life possible, is an electromagnetic field; everything that generates, transmits or uses electricity produces electric and magnetic fields and, of course, the television companies send out their product as electromagnetic radiation.
Some alternative medicine sources state that magnetic fields generated by small permanent magnets could actually improve your health and benefit to your overall well being. Magnet therapy or magnotherapy is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine practice involving the use of static magnetic fields. Practitioners claim that subjecting certain parts of the body to magnetostatic fields produced by permanent magnets has beneficial health effects.
Products include magnetic bracelets and jewelry, magnetic straps, shoe insoles, mattresses, magnetic blankets (blankets with magnets woven into the material), magnetic creams, magnetic supplements, plasters/patches and water that has been “magnetized”. Application is usually performed by the patient.
Fig 1. Magnetic straps ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Fig 2. Magnetic bracelet
Fig 3. Magnetic insole
Due to the variety of electromagnetic fields that naturally occur within the body, there is interest in magnet therapy for medical conditions. For example, nervous system transmissions and related muscle contractions are associated with magnetic activity. The heart generates the largest magnetic field in the body. Several other activities in the body are associated with magnetic activity. ‚Ä®‚Ä®At one time it was thought that abnormal magnetic fields in the body might result in certain disease states and that magnets could play a role in making these magnetic fields normal again.‚Ä®‚Ä®You may hear that magnets attract the iron in red blood cells, resulting in increased circulation. But this is wrong. The iron in blood cells is not in a magnetic form. However, magnets, in theory, could have an effect on other charged molecules in the blood and other parts of the body.
No scientific evidence has been provided as to these magnets could actually benefit your health and in some cases, these magnets could actually pose a danger. In general, when using neodymium magnets for medical purposes, you should keep in mind these few things:
1) Scientific evidence does not support the use of magnets for pain¬†relief.
2) Do not use magnets as a replacement for conventional medical treatment or as a reason to postpone seeing your health care provider about any health¬†problem.
3) Magnets may not be safe for some people, such as those who use pacemakers or insulin pumps, as magnets may interfere with the devices. Otherwise, magnets are generally considered safe when applied to the¬†skin.
4) Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe¬†care.
David Jeffers, (1996) “Electric and magnetic fields and health”, Structural Survey, Vol. 14 Iss: 1, pp.4 – 8
Park, Robert L. (2000). Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 58‚Äď63
Singh, Simon; Edzard Ernst (2008-04-08). “Are we being hoodwinked by alternative medicine? Two leading scientists examine the evidence”. Daily Mail. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
www.webmd.com (June 23rd, 2014.)
www.nccam.nih.gov (June 23rd, 2014.)