Magnets For Health Or Hype?

Magnet therapy for health is making its rounds again. This is not a new therapy, and also not a proven therapy. Most scientist believe magnets have no effect on the body!

Before you run out to purchase these relatively expensive alternative treatments for your pain, do your research. I have been reading up on this controversial treatment because my husband suffers from chronic back pain. At first I was very optimistic and actually considered asking him to try magnet therapy. But since the cost prevented me from taking the plunge, I thought I'd nose around the Internet a bit and see what others had to say!

As I perused the hundreds of Web sites that actually sell magnets in all their various forms, I learned quite a bit - and also found out just how ignorant I was about the magnetic pull in our bodies and the role it plays. My goodness - how did we live without them? You can purchase magnets for health in a variety of shapes and sizes. Magnets come in the form of pillows, haribrushes, jewelry, bedding, insoles and even make-up. They can be purchased at alternative health centers, department stores, and on hundreds of Web sites that offer "testimonials" but not facts. According to the Web sites that sell these products, people are swearing by them, but I did do some research and found some interesting facts.

Some reliable studies:

New York College of Podiatric Medicine: In conducting a study of patients with heel pain, the results were negative. 19 patients wore a molded insole containing a magnetic foil, while 15 patients wore the same type of insole with no magnetic foil. In both groups the results were the same "" 60 percent reported improvement. These results suggest that the magnetic foil was of no benefit.

Baylor College of Medicine in Houston: A double-blind test that compared the effects of magnets and sham magnets on knee pain in 50 patients who had suffered from poliomyelitis. There were 29 people who received an active magnet and 21 who received the sham magnets. The 29 who were treated with the real magnets did report a greater reduction in pain. The test was not repeated, however, to show similar results.

VA Medical Center in Prescott, Arizona; In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study with 20 patients with chronic back pain, the patients were exposed to real, and sham bipolar permanent magnets during alternate weeks, for 6 hours a day, 3 days a week, with a 1 week period between the treatment weeks. There was no difference in pain relief or mobility reported between the treatment and sham-treatment periods.

There has not been enough current, reliable testing to determine the effectiveness of this therapy. The American Medical Association and The Food and Drug Administration caution that there is not enough proof to claim that magnet therapy actually works. Still, the magnet-selling business is expected to surpass $500 million this year! Buyer beware!!

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