As life becomes extra complex with new diseases being discovered almost every year, science becomes extra advanced coming out with newer and better medicines after intensified research. However, conventional medicines seem to be taking a back seat in the face of complementary and alternative medicines as more and more people appear to have suddenly developed a faith in the latter. This is especially true in the case of chronic ailments requiring long-term treatment but one which does not guarantee cure except control. Examples of these are back and knee pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine headaches and the likes.
Magnet Therapy is one such complementary treatment that has become quite popular in recent times, especially for pain management. Magnets are believed to have a therapeutic value and practitioners claim that the magnetostatic fields produced by permanent magnets have beneficial health effects. The cure is based on subjecting the static magnetic fields of the magnet to certain parts of the body.
Magnet therapy is not a new phenomenon and goes back many centuries. It is said that as early as the 16th century a physician named Paracelsus came up with this inspiration. He believed that magnets have the quality of attracting and eliminating diseases from the body just as they attract iron. There are instances of doctors of the Middle Ages using magnets to treat gout, arthritis, poisoning, etc.
Today, magnet therapy is quite popular with people seeking alternative treatment and used widely in the US, Europe, Japan, China and other countries.
The treatment involves placing thin, metal magnets of varying sizes and strengths on the body and allowing the electromagnetic impulses to flow into the body. The healing is based on the theory that some cells and tissues in the human body give off electromagnetic impulses. When a person is ill or has an injury these impulses are said to be disrupted. It is believed that subjecting the ailing person to magnetic energy fields of different strengths can correct the disturbances and restore health to the affected systems, organs and cells.
There are several electromagnetic fields that are present in the body naturally and also some activities in the body are associated with the magnetic activity, for example, muscle contractions and the heart which is considered to generate the largest magnetic field in the body.
Those who believe in magnet therapy for pain relief and use magnets for healing base their theory on the ability of magnets to increase circulation and provide relief from aches and pains.
Magnetic headbands are said to promote relief from headaches and stress. This magnetic therapy product is commonly recommended for use on sports injuries and chronic pain conditions including tendonitis, sprains and strains, wrist pain, chronic lower back pain, overuse syndrome and elbow pain.
Magnets are usually made from metals, such as iron, or from an alloy of a mixture of metals or a mix of metal and non-metal. The magnets that are used in this treatment are made of magnetized metal or lodestone and their magnetic fields do not change. These are called static or constant magnets. An ordinary magnet, like the one we stick onto the refrigerator, cannot be applied. Electromagnets are not used either because they will produce magnetic fields only when electricity is passed through them.
The magnet used will have to have a high magnetic strength, usually in the range of 200-10,000 gauss. Gauss is the measurement of the strength of a magnet. Tesla is another unit of measurement and one Tesla is equivalent to 10,000 gauss. An ordinary magnet would typically have the strength of 200 gauss.
Generally, magnet therapy is considered harmless with no side effects having been documented as such. However, there is a word of caution against the use of magnetic objects by those with implanted devices such as a pacemaker, defibrillator or infusion pump because the magnet may interfere with the functioning of the device. Also, it is said that there could be serious harm if a magnetic object is taken close to an MRI machine.
Medical experts warn against stopping conventional medicines and replacing it with magnet therapy, especially in the treatment of cancer. They advise seeking conventional treatment in case of pain or diseases. They emphasize that your health care provider has to be aware if you are using magnet therapy.
Magnet therapy has been promoted as being effective in the treatment of cancer and other diseases, especially chronic pain conditions. However, there is no available scientific evidence to support these claims. Though there are reports of individuals being healed by this therapy there is no documentation present of this.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) considers these magnets of no medicinal use. However, the principle of magnetism has found its use in conventional medicine such as in MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, where it is used in producing images of the body.
Magnet therapy is used to allegedly provide relief from painful conditions like arthritis, migraines, headaches, broken bones, foot and back pain and for diseases like fibromyalgia, reverse degenerative diseases, improve blood circulation and stress. Magnets are also worn in the alleged treatment of insomnia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, incontinence, water retention and more.
There are scores of magnet therapy products which have been incorporated into our daily life products. Magnets are worn as part of an ornament or as adhesive patches, for a few minutes or for several weeks, depending on the advice of the practitioner or on the relevant condition. Products with magnets mounted on them include jewelry items, foot care items, mattresses, cushion covers and patches. Sometimes, magnets are placed in a band or belt and tied to one of the joints. You will find the market abounding in magnet therapy pillows and cushions, magnetic braces and supports , magnetic body pads, magnetic eye masks , magnetic bands and wraps .
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Razia Sanwari is a journalist by profession with more than 20 years of experience in the print media. With a Masters's in English Language and Literature, Razia began her career as a junior editor in a Kolkata English language daily ...
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