There are two basic types of magnets that are marketed to consumers today. One is called static or permanent magnets that have magnetic fields that are unchanging and the other are electromagnets that generate magnetic fields when there is electrical current flowing through them.
The electromagnets are only used when a health care provider is supervising. There currently is no scientific evidence pointing to the support of magnets to reduce pain.
There are many reports of positive experiences by those who have used magnetic therapy. There are also clinical trials being done to help validate the quality of validity of studies to date. The FDA has not approved the marketing or the claims of health benefits of using magnets.
In fact, the FDA has taken action against many manufacturers, Websites, and distributors that make unsupported scientific claims regarding the health benefits of magnets.
There are different strengths of magnets available in the marketplace as well as different products that use magnets such as shoe insoles, heel inserts, mattress pads even headwear, belts, pillows and cushions, and jewelry such as magnetic bracelets.
Electromagnets have been used in some incidences of conventional medicine such as when electromagnets have been used to speed the healing of bone fractures or to map areas of the brain. Most of the magnets used by consumers are marketed to reduce pain and are considered to be complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Especially Greek physicians using rings of magnetized metal to treat arthritis have used magnets for centuries to reduce pain. Middle ages found doctors using magnets to treat arthritis, baldness, gout and poisonings as well as to retrieve arrowheads and to clean wounds.
Many patients today use magnets to reduce the pain of fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. American spend approximately $500 million dollars each year on magnets that have been marketed to the public and worldwide sales of magnets reach $5 billion as magnets have become popular over the Internet for purchase without using a doctor’s prescription.
Some people believe that static magnets can change cell function. Others believe that magnets can alter or restore the balance between cell death and cell growth. Static magnets are thought to increase the flow of blood and to increase the delivery of oxygen and other nutrients carried through the blood to the tissues of the body.
It is thought that weak pulsed electromagnets can have an affect on how nerve cells respond to pain and those reduce the perception of pain.
Others believe that electromagnets can have a positive effect on the production of white blood cells that are used in fighting infection and inflammation within the body.
As with any other form of alternative medicine it is important to clear the use of magnets with your primary doctor before starting to use them.
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