therapy involves the use of a magnetic device placed on or
near the body to relieve pain and facilitate healing. The
magnetic products on the market today come in many forms.
They can be taped to the skin, worn as jewelry or in your
shoes, or slept on as pillows and mattresses. Arthritis, insomnia,
carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches are among the long list
of ailments for which people have tried magnet therapy. Although
no one can say how magnets work, advocates claim that they
can have a profound effect on the body, particularly in relieving
The lure of magnets for medicinal purposes is not new. The
ancient Greeks believed that lodestones (natural magnetic
rocks) had therapeutic powers. In the sixteenth century, Swiss-born
alchemist and physician Philippus von Hohenheim, who went
by the pseudonym Paracelsus, purportedly used magnets to draw
illness from the body.
Over the past decade, magnet therapy has become increasingly
popular, especially among professional athletes who use it
for aches and pains. Even so, magnet therapy remains controversial.
Scientists have only recently begun the well-designed research
needed to persuade most mainstream doctors to add magnets
to their medicinal arsenals.
How Does It Work? The theory behind magnet therapy is that
the magnetic fields produced by magnets (or by devices that
generate electromagnetic current) can penetrate the human
body and affect the functioning of individual cells and improve
the working of the nervous system and various organs. Precisely
how the magnetic fields do this remains a mystery, but there
are several hypotheses.
Some say that the electrical current created by magnets interrupts
the transmission of pain signals in the central nervous system.
Others claim that magnets increase blood flow to an area,
boosting the flow of oxygen and other nutrients, and ultimately
reducing pain and swelling.