Traditional medicine has advanced a long way in the last 100 years, and there continues to be new breakthroughs that help to treat disease and extend life expectancy. However, there can also be side effects to these traditional methods that some people don’t want. For example, although there are now many drugs available that help stop pain, the side effects such as nausea and drowsiness can sometimes be worse than the pain itself.
For people that want another solution, there are alternative therapies that can help in similar ways, but without the unwanted side effects. One such alternative is magnetic therapy.
What is Magnetic Therapy?
Magnetic therapy is not a new idea, the ancient practice dates back at least 2000 years, and works on the principle that the body contains iron in the blood, and that this can be manipulated by having magnetic fields near the body. Although this therapy has been practiced for many years, there is still no conclusive evidence of success, however, many people use magnetic therapy and find it to be both effective and side effect free.
Types of Magnetic Therapy
There are several types of magnetic therapy, and they all work in different ways, there are, however, three main types that are used to most.
Static Magnetic Field Therapy
This type of therapy relies on the magnet touching your skin in some way. People that use this type of therapy will often have a ring or a bracelet that they wear, although there are other ways that you can have the magnets near your skin.
There are magnet insoles that you can wear in your shoes which then tough the bottom of your foot, you can also wear a magnet in a bandage or sling. Another alternative is to sleep on a specially designed mattress pad that contains a magnet.
Electrically Charger Magnetic Therapy
Also known as Electromagnetic Therapy, this uses magnets that have an electrical charge. The treatment usually comes through an electric pulse and can even be used at home or with a portable device.
It is suggested that adding the electric pulse adds to the effectiveness of the magnets in certain situations including:
- Muscle Strain
- Neck Pain
- Lower Back Pain
Magnetic Therapy With Acupuncture
As the name suggests, this type of therapy uses the same zones of the body that are used in acupuncture. These areas are also known as the energy pathways or channels and are thought to influence certain parts of the body.
How Does Magnetic Therapy Work?
Magnet therapy works on the principle that the body naturally has magnetic and electric fields. All of the body’s molecules have a small amount of magnetic energy and it is thought that sometimes this energy can become unbalanced and cause problems. It is thought that by having a magnetic field close to your body, these imbalances can be rectified and help alleviate symptoms.
In some tests, magnets were placed near ions such as calcium and potassium. These ions help your cells send signals and they were seen to change when the magnet was close to them. However, it has been more difficult to see how the ions react to magnets when inside the body.
Patients that have used magnet therapy have reported benefits to their health and an improvement fo their symptoms, though there is still some uncertainty as to how this exactly works.
What Can Magnetic Therapy Be Used For?
For many patients, magnetic therapy has a big benefit for different types of pain. The rings and bracelets are the usual types of devices that people will use in this instance, though the other forms of magnetic therapy are also options.
Some scientists have conducted studies on certain types of physical problems including:
- Arthritis Pain
- Wound Healing
- Fibromyalgia Pain
The types of magnet that are used are important as the strength of the magnetic field is relevant to the ability to show improvements. For example, the average fridge magnet has a magnetic strength of around 50 Goss. This is far to weak to do any good, so you need something stronger. To have an effect on the tissues of the body, you need a magnet with a Goss of at least 3500.
Many of the studies conducted over the past few years have not been conclusive, which is why many scientists are sceptical. However, two researchers from the University of Virginia – Thomas Skalak and Cassandra Morris decided that they wanted to do a more in-depth study of magnetic therapy.
In the beginning, they wanted to see the effects of magnetic therapy on microcirculation. This is the bllod flow through the tiny blood vessels. They tested magners of 70 milliTesla (mT) near to the blood vessels of rats. They discovered that those vessels that were constricted, began to dilate, and the ones that were dilated started to constrict. This suggested that the magnets were in some way helping the vessels to relax in tissue with a restricted blood supply.
From this initial finding, the researches wanted to investigate whether reducing blood flow at the site of trauma would lead to a reduction in swelling. To achieve this, they applied magnet therapy to the paws of rats that had inflamed tissue in the area. The results showed that the magnets reduced swelling and helped to speed up the recovery process.
Their research was published in the November 2007 issue of the Americal Journal of Physiology.
There are many people who believe that magnetic therapy works for them, and there are even some research studies that suggest it can have an effect on the body and blood supply. With so many ways to use magnet therapy, there is plenty of choice for those looking to try and relieve their ailments.