A lot of people are using magnets for localized pain. Some even sleep on mattresses with magnets sewn into the fabric.
When the magnet craze first hit, conventional medicine lambasted it saying, "Save your money, this is Junk Medicine." For those of you interested, here is Stephen Barrett's take on Magnets: http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/QA/magnet.html.
Well, beyond the simple fact that Stephen Barrett is NOT an expert, today we have a bunch of double blind studies that show, definitely: magnets help heal pain.
How Do Magnets Work?
According to the "experts" magnets increase the capillary blood flow which may help flush lactic acid and other inflammatory agents that build up tissue to ease pain and inflammation. The blood supply also carries oxygen which may be helpful in relaxing muscles and relieving cramps and spasms which are oxygen starved. This is the same reason massage is often used to loosen muscles in spasm; to allow blood to flow and deliver oxygen necessary to terminate the spasm.
What Kind of Pain Are Magnets Used For?
People with chronic back pain have obtained significant relief from sleeping on magnetic mattresses and/or magnetic seat cushions. Tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and other tendon or ligament problems heal faster when wrapped in magnetic bandages or magnets are applied to the area. In some hospitals, powerful electromagnetics are used to speed healing of broken bones. Regular use of magnets can even help prevent asthma and relieve headaches. The benefits of magnetic therapy are often apparent within the first hour of treatment, sometimes three or four days of steady treatment are required.
Who Makes The Best Magnets
I have no flippin idea. There are so many magnet companies out there with magnetic beds, magnetic car seats, magnetic insoles…and they cost anywhere from $5 to $1000.
However, we do know this. Refrigerator magnets will not work. They are not powerful enough. And we have heard from a variety of sources that magnets inlaid next to each other with opposite poles facing are best. However, this I cannot prove and have to take our sources' word for it.
For you requiring the double blind studies, here are just a few.
Vallbona, Carlos et. al., "Response of pain to static Magnetic fields in postpolio patients, a double blind Pilot study" Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Vol 78, American congress of rehabilitaion medicine, p 1200-1203.
The experimenters recruited 50 patients who not only had post-polio syndrome but also reported muscular or arthritic pain. These patients had significant pain for at least 4 weeks and had not taken any painkillers or anti-inflammatories for at least 3 hours before the study. The subjects all had a trigger point or painful region and had a body weight of less than 140% of the predicted weight for their age and height, and had a trigger point or circumscribed painful area.
The magnets and placebos (described under Materials.) were supplied in equal numbers from Bioflex. Each magnet or placebo was placed in number coded envelopes and delivered according to its shape. The code for placebos and magnets was not broken until the end of the study.
Subjects who had an active magnet reported significantly less pain than did subjects who received the placebo. The confidence interval on the difference between means shows that the effect is large and therefore of practical as well as statistical significance.
In February of 2001, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine released the results of a study from the University of Virginia. One article states: "Although the results of the study were inconclusive, magnet therapy reduced fibromyalgia pain intensity enough in one group of study participants to be "clinically meaningful," the researchers said."
The study consisted of Ninety-four patients who suffered from fibromyalgia, randomly divided into 4 groups. Half were in 2 control groups, one that received fake magnets and the other on standard treatment. The other 2 groups received active magnetic pads, however, they pads differed slightly adding another variable to the study. The study tracked results over a six-month periods.
The results? The two groups that slept on pads with active magnets generally showed improvement while the subjects in the control group did not.
Researchers expressed surprise that they saw positive results from the study virtually nothing known as to how magnets work to relieve pain. They do feel that in light of the results from this study that more research on magnet therapy for pain is justified.
***"They do feel that in light of the results from this study that more research on magnet therapy for pain is justified."
I just had to re-emphasize this last sentence. It is a very common statement in conventional medicine. When Nixon opened the doors to China and our physicians went there and witnessed a lung resection using only Acupuncture as the anesthesia, this was their response: more research is needed. I'm sorry if I have to hammer this point home at times, but healing is about healing. If something works and has no side effects, then use it. In modern medicine, far too many people suffer and die waiting for a therapy to be approved.
we found the following:
In a recent study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found magnets to be more effective than sham magnets at blocking pain caused by post-polio syndrome.
In the controlled study, 76% of patients treated with a magnet got pain relief. Only 18% treated with a sham magnet got relief.
Growing Body of Evidence
In other studies, magnets have proven effective against:
Fibromyalgia. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston showed that magnets help reduce muscle pain caused by this mysterious condition.
In the study, patients who slept on magnetic mattresses experienced greater pain relief than patients who slept on ordinary mattresses.
Diabetic neuropathy. In research conducted at New York Medical College in Valhalla, magnetic footpads were more effective than nonmagnetic footpads at relieving numbness, tingling and pain associated with this diabetes-related problem.
Evidence suggests that roughly 80% of chronic pain sufferers could benefit from magnetic therapy. ThatĚs true for virtually any form of pain.
How magnets Relieve Pain
When held against the skin, magnets relax capillary walls, thereby boosting blood flow to the painful area.
They also help prevent the muscle spasms that underlie many forms of pain-apparently by interfering with muscle contractions. And they interfere with the electrochemical reactions that take place within nerve cells, impeding their ability to transmit pain messages to the brain.
Of course, chronic pain can be controlled with aspirin and other over-the-counter and prescription painkillers. But unlike pain medications, magnets do not carry any risk of side effects.
Selecting Medical magnets
Medical magnets come in a dizzying range of shapes, sizes and strengths. They range in price from about $5 all the way to $900.
It's usually best to start with one or more coin-shaped magnets made of the rare earth metal neodymium-boron. For most applications, these "neo" magnets work just as well as - and cost less than - other magnets. Cost: About $10 apiece.
Magnetism is measured in gauss. A typical refrigerator magnet is about 10 gauss. That's too weak to penetrate the skin-and unlikely to be helpful for anything more than a minor bruise.
Medical magnets range in strength from 450 gauss to 10,000 gauss. The higher the gauss, the better the pain relief.
Since magnets aren't always helpful, it's best to purchase yours from a company that offers a money-back guarantee of at least 30 days.
For a free list of magnet manufacturers and their phone, contact the North American Academy of magnetic Therapy.
Putting magnets to Work
The magnet should be affixed to the skin directly over the painful area. Some people use ordinary adhesive bandages to affix the magnets. But Transpore - a paper tape made by 3M - works better. It holds well, and it doesn't pull the hairs from the skin when its removed.
If the magnet fails to provide relief within a few days, reposition the magnet over the nearest acupuncture point. To locate these points on the body, consult a book on acupuncture.
If repositioning the magnet fails to bring relief within 30 days, odds are it's not going to work. Switch to another type of magnet...or speak with your doctor about using painkilling medication or another conventional approach.
Aching feet. Magnetic insoles can relieve foot pain and the achy feeling in the legs after you've been standing all day.
Arthritis. If pain is limited to your fingers, a neo magnet taped to the affected joint should do e trick. Or-you can wear a magnetic wristband.
For fibromyalgia or for arthritis pain throughout the body, a magnetic mattress is usually best. If the $900 cost is too much for you, opt for a magnetic pad, which will usually cost between three to five hundred dollars.
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