The alternative community has long known that magnets can benefit health. In fact, magnetic therapy has been used to promote well-being since the earliest civilizations in India, Egypt, China, Ancient Greece, and the Middle East, where a magnetic stone called magnetite was ground up and delivered in food and healing potions. But despite thousands of years of anecdotal evidence attesting to the healing properties of magnets, the mainstream medical community has been slow to embrace magnetic therapy, with many citing lack of scientific proof that it works.
For instance, in a recent article in Anesthesia & Analgesia entitled, “Magnet Therapy: Healing or Hogwash?” author Bruce L. Flamm, MD, writes, “…it is crystal clear that billions of dollars have already been spent on magnet therapy, or perhaps, wasted on magnet therapy. To be blunt, there is no proven benefit to magnet therapy.”
Dr. Flamm today might wish that he had stuffed that particular article into a drawer instead of publishing it, because results of a new, NIH-funded study out of the University of Virginia prove that magnets can indeed enhance health. The study, led by the Chair of Biomedical Engineering, Thomas Skalak, investigated claims that magnets can increase blood flow to promote healing. And sure enough, after five years of research, the scientists found that magnetic fields do indeed have the capacity to increase blood flow as well as to decrease it.
The research team placed powerful magnets, with strength ten times that of normal “refrigerator” magnets, near the blood vessels of rats. They found that the magnets caused dilated blood vessels to constrict in the rats, while they also caused constricted vessels to dilate. This is significant because blood vessels naturally dilate after injury or trauma, causing swelling and pain. And in fact, Dr. Skalak and his associate Dr. Morris did find that swelling decreased upon exposure to magnetic fields.
Dr. Skalak points out that magnetic therapy works better than ice and compression in reducing swelling, plus it’s a cheap and safe treatment — unlike current treatment with aspirin, NSAIDS, and steroids. What would happen to sales of anti-inflammatory medications if it turned out magnets did the job better, faster, and with no side effects?
One does wonder what possesses Dr. Flamm and his ilk to discount the benefits of magnetic therapy with such vehemence. (Later in the same article, he writes, “Even if magnets did have some effect on human tissue, what is the likelihood that it would be a healing effect? About zero.”
Oooh! Zero, Dr. Flamm? You’d better look for that drawer to hide your article in again.) Yes, there have been studies that haven’t found benefit to using magnets, as Flamm points out, but other studies have found that magnets do indeed help. For example, a well-publicized study out of Baylor University in 1997 found that magnets reduced pain in post-polio patients.
The irony is that the naysayers use sloppy reasoning to reject magnetic therapy, given their supposed allegiance to the scientific method. Instead of encouraging experimentation with different strengths of magnets and different lengths of exposure to magnetic fields, instead of investigating what drives all the history and current claims supporting magnetic healing, they say, “Well it doesn’t work and never will because they didn’t teach it in Med School and it didn’t work this one time in this one particular context. Please hand me the prescription pad. The end.”
In an article distributed by Research News, Dr. Skalak points out, “A key to the success of magnetic therapy for tissue swelling is careful engineering of the proper field strength at the tissue location, a challenge in which most currently available commercial magnet systems fall short.” In other words, magnetic therapy has now been shown to work in reducing swelling, but we need to do some tinkering in order to get the “dose” correct. Perhaps earlier failed experiments simply didn’t use the right type of magnets at the right strength, at the right time, in the correct places.
Let’s hope that this latest evidence softens resistance to continuing investigations into the healing properties of magnets. I’ve discussed before how applying a magnetic field to water increases its bio-availability and alkalinity. Magnetized water has been proven to promote health and growth in experiments on plants. And there’s evidence that magnets are effective in treating many other conditions including sinus infections, insomnia, chronic disease, arthritis, energy depletion, broken bones, nervous system disorders and depression.
While pharmaceutical companies spend millions stirring up toxic new recipes to heal the various conditions magnets are reputed to impact, why not just buy a few magnets and experiment on yourself, starting with magnetizing your water? You can purchase high-powered magnets online for well under $10 each — no prescription needed and no side effects to worry about.