Magnetic powers?

January 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Health, Lifestyle, Wellness

Many people do believe in the power of magnets and wear jewellery containing them, or drink magnetised water and swear by the health benefits. This has always been one of those areas where those who benefit believe absolutely that magnets help their condition and many in themedical establishment thinks it’s all in their mind.

Magnets are used to treat joint pains, sports injuries, backache, muscle soreness and period pain. Magnets have also been popular with pet owners to help reduce pain in arthritic joints and Cherie Blair is one of many celebrities who extol their virtues. Indeed the NHS accountants were so impressed by the cost-effectiveness of a “magnetic leg wrap” with the catchy name of ’4UlcerCare’ that they recommended that doctors be allowed to prescribe it to patients.

However, cost is not the real issue, it is effectiveness, and sceptics may now have to eat their words as a new study has found that magnets can reduce swelling when applied immediately after an inflammatory injury. As many people use magnets to treat arthritis, which is certainly an inflammatory condition, then they can wave the following study at their Doctor.

Scientist magazine reported this month on work done at the University of Virginia. In their initial study, researchers set out to investigate the effect of magnetic therapy on microcirculation, which is blood flow through tiny blood vessels. They placed magnets of 70 milliTesla (mT) field strength, which is about 10 times the strength of the common refrigerator magnet, near blood vessels and found that they dilated constricted blood vessels, and constricted vessels that were dilated. The results suggested that the magnetic field could relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. In a second, more recent, study they used magnets on simulated tissue injury and found that the magnets significantly reduced swelling by up to 50 percent when applied immediately after the injury.

Muscle bruising and joint sprains are the most common injuries we suffer from, and since injuries that don’t swell heal faster, then magnet therapy could have widespread applications. It could mean an end to ice packs and compression to treat injuries because it is the dilation of blood vessels that is the major cause of swelling, and research confirms that magnets work by limiting blood flow.


However, most of the commercial ‘costume jewellery’ type of magnets on sale commercially do not have the strength to impact conditions such as arthritis and you may need to do some research for yourself to find out what works for you.

This information may help you make a start:

Magnet therapy uses “static” magnets, which are called static because the resulting magnetic field is unchanging. DO NOT confuse these with electromagnets, which produce magnetic fields when an electric current is applied and SHOULD NOT be used without consultation with a qualified therapist.

To use static magnets for pain relief, you must find a magnet of sufficient strength to provide a benefit. In the USA a natural medicine specialist, Dr Mercola, suggests you can test this out yourself by placing the magnet next to a piece of clothing or sock, then placing a paper clip on the other side. If the magnet is not strong enough to hold the paper clip through your sock, then it will not penetrate your body either.

Alternatively, you should check out the strength of the magnet before you buy it. They are typically measured in units called gauss (G). Simple refrigerator magnets range from 35 to 200 G, but the magnets that may treat your pain range from 300 to 5,000 G. Some practitioners start with a lower gauss and gradually move up to a more intense level as necessary.

One of the oldest established family companies dealing in magnets is Magnopulse who designed the original magnetic dog collar and besides pets and horses they have a range of products for humans too. If you want to contact them they have a freephone number at 0800 977 50 70 or via their website where there is a wealth of information for you to download – or if you have a holistically minded Doctor then ask them if they prescribe magnets on the NHS.