Thursday, 11 October 2012 | 2 comments
When I was small, I used to be fascinated by the power of magnets. That tiny thing which can draw to itself metals such as pins, needles and nails amazes me. When I was older. It was then that I understood the principle behind magnetism. I understood that every magnet has two poles which attract based on north-seeking and south seeking poles. Every magnet is a metal that creates a measurable force called a magnetic field. Each magnet has a different strength which is measured in units called gauss (G) or, alternatively, units called tesla (T; 1 T = 10,000 G).
Lately, magnets are being used for health purposes. A lot of people have claimed that magnets have been useful in relieving pain. This article will focus on recent evidence on the capability of magnets in alleviating pain.
It is said that magnets which can heal pain have strengths ranging from 300 to 5,000 G, which is many times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field (about 0.5 G) but much weaker than the magnets used for MRI machines (approximately 15,000 G or higher). How these magnets work in relieving pain is still not clear.
As of present, various magnetic products are being marketed in stores as show insoles, bracelets and other jewelry, mattress pads, and bandages. They are being advertised to heal different types of pain, including foot pain and back pain from conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. However, is there scientific evidence to all of these?
Scientific evidence for magnets in health are but few. There are previous studies which have looked at the effect of magnets on the different types of pain such as knee, hip, wrist, foot, back, and pelvic pain, and they have mixed results. In a 2007 study by the National Institutes of Health, the efficacy of magnets for back pain was studied on a small group of people and it revealed beneficial results. However, this is just one study; majority of studies have revealed that magnets had no effect on pain.
With regards to safety, magnets may not be safe for people with pacemakers or those who are using insulin pumps because they may interfere with device functioning. However, magnets are safe when applied to the skin. Complications and side effects are said to be rare.
To sum it all, magnets have no proven efficacy for pain, so do not replace your medications and other pain treatments for magnets. It is best that you see your doctor for persisting pain complaints.