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Magnet therapy is the application of the magnetic field of electromagnetic devices or permanent static magnets to the body for purported health benefits. These benefits may be specific, as in the case of wound healing, or more general, as for increased energy and vitality. In the latter case, malaise is sometimes described as "Magnetic Field Deficiency Syndrome". Some practitioners assign different effects based on the orientation of the magnet; under the laws of physics, magnetic poles are symmetric.Products include: magnetic bracelets and jewelry; magnetic straps for wrists, ankles, knees, and the back; shoe insoles; mattresses; magnetic blankets (blankets with magnets woven into the material); magnetic creams; magnetic supplements; and water that has been "magnetized". Application is usually performed by the patient.
 

What is magnetic therapy?

Magnetic therapy is a safe, non-invasive method of applying magnetic fields to the body for therapeutic purposes. Whether used independently or as an adjunct to your current treatment, magnet therapy provides effective natural pain relief for a wide range of conditions, making it an excellent choice for anyone. It helps speed the healing process and can improve quality of sleep without any adverse side effects.

Does magnetic therapy have any side effects?

No.

The World Health Organization issued a formal statement confirming that the static magnetic fields (like the ones used in magnetic therapy) pose no health risks whatsoever. No health complications have ever been reported with magnetic therapy's proper use.

A few people have noted sensations of warmth, sweating, or tingling when they first begin using magnetic therapy. This is due to an increase in blood circulation, and is normal. This sensation typically subsides within the first 48 hours of use.

Conditions where magnet therapy should not be used:

  1. If you have a pacemaker, defibrillator, insulin pump, or any other implanted electro-medical device
     
  2. If you are pregnant
     
  3. Over the same area that has received a localized cortisone injection within the past 2 weeks

What is the History of magnetic therapy?

Much like acupuncture, magnetic therapy dates back thousands of years, but its use was much more widespread. Its oldest origin traces back 100,000 years to Africa, and historic texts describe its practice in ancient Greece, China, India and Egypt.

During the 1800s and early 1900s, doctors in the U.S. often prescribed magnets for numerous ailments, from headaches to gout. And as medical supplies ran low, Russian soldiers used magnets during World War II.

Today, Magnetic therapy is widely accepted in Germany, France, Britain, India, Japan, Italy, Israel and about 45 other countries.

Today, more magnetic therapy research is being done than ever before. Scientists are trying to understand exactly how magnetic fields affect different physiological processes from blood circulation, to bone formation, to the electro-chemical pain signals sent by nerves

Is magnetic therapy just a placebo effect?

No.

In 2006, the World Health Organization issued a 350-page report summarizing the known effects and mechanisms of interaction of static magnetic fields on animals, humans, and individual cellular processes. The report details expansive recommendations for continued high-priority research into the physical and behavioral effects of magnetic fields.

Today, more systematic approaches are being used. Researchers have an increased understanding of the importance of magnetic field strength, exposure time, polarity, and placement - leading to more consistent findings.

The major evidence that refutes placebo effect comes from studies conducted with animals, and lab experiments on cells and tissue samples.

With this type of research, there is no placebo effect. Animals do not "know" they are being treated, and cannot expect a certain outcome. And differences in cellular and biological activity can be accurately measured.

How does magnetic therapy work?

Presently, the scientific and medical community is beginning to take much greater interest in magnetic therapy and other forms of alternative and complementary health.

We're learning the body is not based simply on biochemical reactions, but also electro-magnetic interactions.

A common misperception: is that magnetic therapy attracts the iron in blood. This is false. The iron in hemoglobin is in a chemically-bound state. It's not magnetically-sensitive.

Biomedical research explains that the vast majority of the biological chemicals within our bodies are actually electro-chemical ions. They have either positive or negative charges, and produce electro-magnetic fields.

The electrical signals produced by nerves are the most well-known example of how the body uses electro-chemical ions. The careful balance of positive ions (sodium, potassium) and negative ions (chloride, calcium) in and around nerves maintains a slightly negative charge. When triggered, the balance of ions shifts, and becomes more positive. This sends a pain signal to the brain.

Over decades, research has discovered that all physical and behavioral functions are controlled by electro-magnetic fields produced by ions. The balance and movement of different ions signals and regulates different biological processes. And most fascinating, is that these ions can be influenced by external magnetic forces.

Studies have provided indisputable evidence that negative (bio-north) magnetic fields actually constrict and dilate the walls of capillary blood vessels. This response assists the body with regulating blood circulation.

Capillaries constrict to reduce blood flow near areas of injury and trauma, decreasing swelling and pain. When swelling is removed, capillaries then dilate to increase blood flow. This carries oxygen and nutrients more efficiently to speed up cellular repair.

Negative magnetic fields enhance the body's ability to quickly adapt and regulate these biological responses. This leads to greater pain relief and faster healing.

What else can magnetic fields affect?

  • The pineal gland is magnetically-sensitive. It produces melatonin, the natural hormone that promotes sleep and regulates the circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle).
     
  • Nerve cells send pain signals using a careful balance of positive and negative ions. When this balance changes, the electric charge within nerve cells changes too. Magnetic fields can reduce and/or block pain signals by helping to restore this balance.
     
  • MRIs have shown the sinuses are magnetically-sensitive. Magnetic fields can help reduce inflammation, relieving sinus pain and congestion.
     
  • Some Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field therapy (PEMF) devices are FDA-approved for healing non-union bone fractures. (Currently, they are only used in about 20% of all cases.)
     
  • Magnetic fields (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) have been increasingly used and studied for treating depression, insomnia, drug addiction, and Parkinson's disease.
     
  • Clinical studies using magnetic mattress pads have shown reduced symptoms in Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Multiple Sclerosis.
     
  • Clinical trials have shown magnetic knee braces can provide significant arthritis pain relief and improved knee function.

How effective is magnet therapy?

According to findings from research studies and experts in the field, if magnetic therapy products are designed and used properly they can be very effective and pose no health risk at all.

When used correctly, magnetic therapy can reduce swelling from a recent ankle sprain in as little as a few hours. However, it can take several weeks before there is noticeable relief from a chronic condition, like arthritis.

Biomagnetics is more complex than most people realize

Aspects like magnet size, strength, and polarity, how many magnets are used to cover a body area, and the duration of use are just a few of many factors that must all be accounted for.

These magnetic requirements will change depending on body area, the type of condition being treated, its severity, and how long it has pre-existed.

There are also different categories of magnetic therapy products, including jewelry, orthopedic supports, pillows, mattress pads, and electro-magnetic devices. And within these categories, there are many different product designs - some more effective than others.

Basic Guidelines

Strong magnets must be placed directly over an area of pain or swelling to have an effect. Research results consistently show that magnetic health effects do not spread out, and weak magnets offer little or no benefit. For example, magnetic bracelets will not have any significant effects on back pain or widespread arthritis.

When choosing a product, think practically. For knee pain, wear a magnetic knee brace. For headaches or trouble sleeping, use an eye mask or pillow. To treat widespread pain or the entire body, a mattress pad should be used.

Is magnet therapy officially recognized?

Yes.

Magnetic therapy is widely accepted in Germany, France, Britain, India, Japan, Italy, Israel and about 45 other countries.

Most of these government health systems officially recognize magnetic therapy as a viable and cost-effective treatment option for pain relief and faster recovery after injury and surgery. (The National Health Services in Britain is the most recent to begin allowing doctors to prescribe magnets to heal and prevent leg ulcers.)

In the United States, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) classifies magnetic therapy as a form of Energy Medicine

( Courtesy: http://www.therionresearch.com/magnet-therapy-faq.html )

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