Magnet Therapy

4 mins read

History And Origin
Magnet therapy, also known as pseudotherapy, involves the use of magnet on exposed body surfaces so as to reduce the effects of pain and disorder. The therapy was initially used by tribes of Indo-pacific region to treat bone and joint disorders. However, since then, the therapy underwent different modifications and has been in use for a couple of decades.

Magnet Therapy is a therapeutic treatment to get rid of the pain, enhancing body’s natural healing process. The basis of the therapy is to apply a magnetic field to treat pain, surgical aftermath, trauma, arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Currently, the therapy is used in the form of magnet wrist bands to enhance blood flow in the wrist, thigh and ankle regions.

Benefits Of Magnet Therapy
This therapy does not involve any complications of surgery or drug-related side effects. Although topical in application, it offers extensive benefits in the treatment of ailments related to post-surgery pain, trauma, blood-pressure, headache and arthritis.

  • One of the primary benefits of the therapy is the cost factor.
  • It is a non-intrusive treatment without any known complications.
  • Studies have found the therapy to be effective especially in relieving joint pains, sore neck, migraine and high blood-pressure.
  • It can be easily applied as an alternative medicine.

Besides, the therapy can be efficiently and conveniently used without visiting clinic and regular interventions. More often than not, the therapy is easy to use on the go; in the form of magnet wrist bands and thigh covers.

Research Studies
Mayo Clinic had conducted several studies to evaluate the efficacy of magnet therapy in relieving pain. However, unbiased studies are quite problematic and may incur ethical issues in treating the ailment. One of the most comprehensive studies by Cochrane Review suggested the ineffectiveness of the therapy in joint and arthritis. The study demonstrated that the electromagnetic field cannot possibly affect the inbuilt mechanisms. The study concludes with insufficient or incomplete effects of the therapy. Moreover, health claims and longevity are not yet supported by any research or study so far.

How Is Magnetic Therapy Carried Out?
Based on the type and location of the disorder/ailment, magnet therapy is applied using devices or typical electrical models to enhance body’s innate ability to heal. Products that are most commonly used are magnetic strips/bands, covers for stomach, back and neck, mattresses, sandals/slippers, magnetic finger-rings, electrostatic blankets. Recently, various cosmetic companies have launched magnetic creams, supplements and patches to aid in the treatment of topical disorders. While the therapy involves consulting the practitioner, one can easily use it on-the-go with various products as mentioned above.

Who Requires Magnet Therapy?
Magnet therapy can be effectively given to patients with severe nerve pain, osteoarthritis and joint disorders. However, various studies have found the therapy to be ineffective in patients with sexual dysfunction, muscle soreness, low back pain, migraine, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease.

Side Effects, Contraindications And Interactions
Here are some of the contraindications and interactions of the therapy one has to be mindful about:

  • Although safe in most of the patients, magnets have been reported to interfere with menstrual periods.
  • Pregnant and lactating women have often reported of severe headaches, muscle pain and fuzzy headedness.
  • People with epilepsy are restricted from undergoing this therapy as magnet can intensify the events of seizures.
  • Heart patients are advised to use the magnet therapy, in any form, with caution so as not to allow the interference of the pacemaker.

An individual study of health ailments would be advisable before you can think of going for a magnet therapy. Talk to your practitioner and list any of the factors above that may interfere with the process.

Citations
1. Vallbona C, Richards T. Evolution of magnetic therapy from alternative to traditional medicine. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 1999 Aug;10(3):729-54. PMID: 10516987

2. Ratterman R, Secrest J, Norwood B, et al. Magnet therapy: what’s the attraction? J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2002 Aug;14(8):347-53. PMID: 12242851

3. Richmond SJ. Magnet therapy for the relief of pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (CAMBRA): A randomised placebo-controlled crossover trial. Trials. 2008;9:53. PMID: 18789135

4. Cepeda MS, Carr DB, Sarquis T, Miranda N, et al. Static magnetic therapy does not decrease pain or opioid requirements: a randomized double-blind trial. Anesth Analg. 2007 Feb;104(2):290-4. PMID: 17242082

5. Shapiro B, Kulkarni S, Nacev A, et al. Shaping magnetic fields to direct therapy to ears and eyes. Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2014 Jul 11;16:455-81. doi: 10.1146/annurev-bioeng-071813-105206. PMID: 25014789

6. Keeler R, Singh AD, Dua AD. Eye, magnetism and magnets. Br J Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;98(4):425-6. PMID: 24783261

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