01.04.2019 Holistic Health

Can Magnetic Therapy improve your health?

Andrej Kovacevic explores a treatment once popular with Cleopatra

Magnetic field therapy is based upon the premise that since our bodies have ions in them, and magnets affect the movement of ions, the use of magnets may improve our health.

There are two kinds of magnetic therapy, electromagnetic and static field. In electromagnetic therapy, electric pulses are sent through magnets placed against the skin. Static field therapy also includes placing a magnet against the skin but with no added electrical charge.

In some ways, static field therapy is similar to the balancing of chakras, or energy fields, in the body. The idea is that your magnetic fields are unbalanced and need to be realigned. Some of the ions found in the body react to magnets (https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/magnetic-fie...)when they're isolated but, as of yet, there's no scientific proof that the cells of the body react the same way. Experts have experimented with using static magnetic field therapy to treat pain, but the main confirmation of the treatment's effectiveness comes from those who have experienced positive results.

Magnetic Therapy as an adjunct treatment

Static field therapy has no noticeable side effects, and it hasn't been found to be harmful in any way. That makes it a safe adjunct therapy when combined with treatment by a physician. The only drawback to the use of magnetic therapy is that it could prevent people from seeking traditional treatments for pain or illness from a medical practitioner. For now, until there's more scientific study about magnetic therapy, proof of its effectiveness is based only on first-hand reports.

Who invented magnetic healing?

The belief that the body has an electromagnetic energy field that needs to be balanced for optimal health is ancient. Magnets were first mentioned around 2,500 BC in Asia, Cleopatra is said to have used them for youthful skin, and they were incorporated into ancient Greek and Chinese healing practices. This is the basis of the belief that your body has seven chakras, or energy centres, (http://www.thelawofattraction.com/7-chakras/) between the top of your head and the base of your spine.

According to Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, keeping these energy centres in sync and unblocked is considered beneficial to emotional and physical health. Each energy centre is considered to be related to a different part of the body. Traditionally, a chakra balancing massage has been used to clear and align the body's chakras. Magnetic therapy is considered to be another method of alignment and is often used in conjunction with massage.

How are magnetic treatments administered?

Magnetic therapy is applied to the outside of the body in three main ways: (https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aa141392...)

  • Electromagnetic: Charged magnets deliver electrical pulses.
  • Acupuncture: Static magnets are used in addition to needles.
  • Static: Magnets stay in a fixed location for a period of time.

Because the therapy is used to treat pain in areas of the body such as the back, joints and feet, magnets are placed on the skin in those areas. In magnetic acupuncture, the magnets are placed next to the needle insertion point.

Does it really work?

Again, the only proof of effectiveness right now is word of mouth from those who have experienced positive results from magnetic therapy. However, the practice does contain elements of meditation and biofeedback, (https://www.foundationforpn.org/living-well/integr...) and there are studies that support both as a way to reduce pain, control physiological processes and contribute to good health. It stands to reason that a magnet powerful enough to affect ions in the body could enhance the benefits of biofeedback in a controlled environment. Relaxation and concentration may very well magnify any positive effects achieved through magnetic therapy.

Some of the reported health benefits of magnetic therapy are:

  • Pain relief
  • Faster healing
  • Improved blood flow
  • Headache relief
  • Vertigo elimination
  • Lessening of depression
  • Relief from post-traumatic stress disorder

How can magnetic therapy be integrated into everyday life?

A quick search of the internet will show you a myriad of magnetic items purported to improve your health. You can find magnetic jewellery and pain relief supports for feet, ankles, knees and back. Some medical professionals believe these types of magnetic therapy products don't have sufficient magnetism to actually affect the body, however.

A stronger form of daily magnetic therapy is a mattress pad or topper (https://www.ecosa.com.au/blog/post/the-verdict-on-...) for your bed. In this form of static magnetic field therapy, magnets are embedded in strips inside a dense foam, and they cover the entire bed. However, this option is only beneficial if the magnets inside are powerful enough to move the ions in your body. Magnetic blankets and clothing, and even pet products are also promoted for healing purposes.

Who should not use magnetic therapy?

Although static magnetic therapy and electromagnetic therapy are promising tools for physical and mental health, some people should not undergo these treatments. Because of the lack of published research into magnetic therapy, it's not recommended for pregnant women. If you have any kind of metallic implant such as a stent or pacemaker, magnetic therapy should only be considered upon the advice of a medical doctor. Also, people with epilepsy or brain damage are often advised to avoid magnetic therapy.

Mind and Body Benefits

The testimonials from users who have personally experienced pain relief and other healthy outcomes are a counterpoint to the dismissals of magnetic therapy as ineffective. It may be that the act of doing something positive for our health engages our own biofeedback abilities. Or there could be what's called a placebo effect, a phenomenon poorly understood by the average person to mean that a treatment doesn't actually work. In many cases, however, it works via the power of suggestion or the body's own biofeedback loop.

The Future of Magnetic Healing

So far, magnetic therapy has shown the most promise in treating back pain and depression. For people who haven't found relief for depression through traditional treatments, magnetic therapy is preferable (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transc...) to more invasive techniques such as using electrodes or brain implants. If you're considering static magnetic field therapy or electromagnetic therapy, combining it with meditation and biofeedback may magnify any positive results you experience. As long as you're getting treatment from a medical professional, there seems to be little or no risk to engaging in magnetic therapy as well.

Andrej Kovačević

I am a professional writer and freelance investigative journalist. If there's a new and exciting trend, there's a good chance Andrej is writing about it somewhere out there.

Follow Andrej's blog at https://careerswithstem.com.au/stem-careers-list/

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