Therapeutic Uses

Magnets have been used therapeutically to relieve pain and discomfort for thousands of
years, perhaps even longer than acupuncture, which is over 2000 years old. The first
reported therapeutic use of magnets involved the grinding up of a naturally occurring
material called magnetite and the application of this in poultice form to uncomfortable
areas of the body.

Magnetite makes for a relatively weak magnet by today's standards. But since the earth's
naturally occurring magnetic field was far higher in the past (2 to 3 gauss as opposed to
1/2 gauss today), magnetite crystals may have been stronger at one point in time. Still,
this is a weak field by today's standards as one can easily buy a magnet with an internal
gauss strength of 10,000 (1 tesla) or more. Such high exposures do not appear in any
way detrimental; at worst, they seem harmless and at best they appear to help a variety
of conditions.

Exposure to the earth's magnetic field plays an essential role in our health, a fact clearly
demonstrated when the first astronauts returned to earth sick. Their illness was soon
attributed to a lack of magnetism in outer space and the problem was subsequently
resolved when NASA placed magnets in their space suits and spaceships.
It has since been discovered that in the absence of a magnetic field, the energy level of
atoms diminishes. Necessary nutrients become depolarized and unusable. If this
condition is permitted to continue, the body can become imbalanced and function
improperly. By restoring balance to an organism, biomagnetic therapy can alleviate a
number of health conditions. Some of the most common applications of magnets are
described below:

General Uses

Relief from Pain and Discomfort The most common use of magnetic fields is in
the treatment of pain, with reports of successful treatment in a wide variety of
conditions, including arthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, back pain, headaches, muscle
sprains and strains, joint pain, tendonitis, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and
torn ligaments.
A noteworthy American double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of static
magnets on the treatment of arthritis was recently published in the ®MDBR¯ Journal of
Rheumatology®MDNM¯ (November 1997, p. 1200). The study confirms the
effectiveness of magnets in relieving the pain of arthritis. Another scientific study of
similar rigor is being carried out by Dr. Zimmerman, and is looking at the effects of
fixed magnets on low back pain. There is good reason to expect confirmation of what
users have been claiming for years--that magnets are an excellent aid to pain relief.
To understand how magnets work to alleviate pain, it may help to look at pain
mechanisms in the body. Pain is transmitted along nerve cells as an electric signal.
While quiescent, the nerve has a small charge of about -70 mV. A pain signal
depolarizes a cell. Magnets appear to raise the depolarization potential of the cell so that
the signal is blocked from depolarization, in effect, blocking the pain. Furthermore, the
ability of the nerve to send pain is slowed by a magnetic field. These phenomena can
aid in the relief of pain throughout the body.
Pain relief may be enhanced when a magnet's negative pole is placed over certain
acupuncture meridians. Research and clinical experience show that magnets increase
energy (qi) along these points. The combination of therapies works synergistically so
that their combined effects are greater than the sum of their effects would be if they
were used separately. In addition, acupuncturists like magnets because they are painless
and allow the treatment to continue long after a visit.
Reduction of Inflammation and Improved Circulation. Injured tissue emits a
positive charge; placing the negative pole of a magnet over the area appears to restore a
natural balance in the following way: The magnet improves circulation, allowing blood
vessels to dilate and bring a greater volume of blood flow to the injured area. This helps
to bring in natural healers and to remove the toxic byproducts of inflammation--
bradykinens, prostaglandins, and histamines--all of which contribute to inflammation
and pain. Thus, pain and inflammation are diminished and tissue healing is stimulated.
Antimicrobial Effects Magnetic therapy can help the body ward off such microbial
invaders as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It achieves this, in part, by increasing immune
function through the oxygenation of white corpuscles, an important part of the immune
system's arsenal.
A magnetic field can also function like an antibiotic by lowering acidity, with the result
that microorganisms have a more difficult time surviving. In addition, hormonal
production is regulated, altering enzymatic activity and biochemical messengers of the
immune system. For example, the pineal gland is one large electromagnetic entity. The
net effect is to augment the body's natural ability to resist a variety of germs.
Stress Reduction The recent discovery of magnetite in the cells of the brain helps
explain the calming effect of biomagnetic therapy. A magnetic field applied to the head
calms as well as induces a hypnotic sleeping effect on the brain by stimulating the
hormone melatonin. Melatonin is known to be anti-stressful, producing a sedating effect
in insomniacs. This finding has led to the manufacture of magnetic pillows and pads
designed to provide a sound and restful sleep. A person can then awaken with more
energy and fewer aches and pains.
Correction of Central Nervous System Disorders Dr. William Philpott claims
that biomagnetic therapy can help central nervous system disorders. He states that such
symptoms as hallucinations, delusions, seizures, and panic can be alleviated through
biomagnetic therapy without disrupting the patient's mental alertness and orientation.
Also, a magnetic field may reduce the need for tranquilizers and antidepressants.
Magnets have been used as well to stop epileptic seizures.
Energy Enhancement Biomagnetic therapy is known to increase general well-being
by enhancing energy. The normal polarization of a positively charged nucleus with a
negatively charged outer membrane permits a cell to function as a healthy entity.
However, as the cell performs its daily functions, it becomes depolarized. Depolarized
cells equal a tired person. It is believed that magnetic energy has the ability to penetrate
all facets of the human body and reach every cell. That translates to greater energy and
vitality throughout the body as a whole. Consequently, supplemental biomagnetic
therapy can help the body revitalize.
One normally revitalizes biological energy during sleep. This can be enhanced by
sleeping in a magnetic field. Then, anabolic hormones, such as melatonin and DHEA,
are made. Melatonin, made by the pineal gland, is a master hormone controlling the
entire energy system.
Quicker Healing The medical community has known for years that pulsed
biomagnetic therapy promotes the healing process, particularly of bone fractures. For
over 40 years, many doctors have used pulsed biomagnetic therapy to treat fractures and
have had a high rate of success. Several magnetic instruments have already been FDAapproved
and sanctioned for both safety and therapeutic implications.
The success of this therapy is attributed, in part, to its facilitating the migration of
calcium ions and osteoblasts to heal broken bones in less than the usual time. In
addition, the migration of calcium occurs away from joints to reduce painful arthritic
joint inflammation. The end result is the noninvasive promotion of natural healing,
without the use of unnatural chemicals and drugs. Adequate magnetic energy also
softens or eliminates scar tissue formed during the healing process.
Some doctors put magnets into the dressings over fractures. In fact, one veterinarian I
know, who broke his ankle after falling from a horse, reported following this strategy on
Increased Athletic Endurance and Performance For years, magnetic therapy has
been used around the world on race horses to heal injuries and enhance performance.
Doug Hannum, owner of the Equine Therapy Center in Camden, South Carolina,
employs magnetic blankets along with other natural healing modalities on animals, and
professional riders, such as five-time Olympian Bruce Davidson and world
championship rider Dorothy Trapp, ship their steeds to Hannum for therapy.
Stunning successes with animals have prompted professional athletes to use magnets.
The Russians may have been the first in recent athletic history to have adapted magnetic
therapy to foster greater athletic strength and achievement. Today, many notable
American athletes embrace this technology as well. Denver Bronco linebacker Bill
Romanowski revitalized his aching body by sleeping on a magnetic mattress pad.
Yankee pitcher Irabu plays with dozens of magnets stuck to his body. Top golfer Jim
Colbert endorses magnets. And professional football player Steve Atwinter, a seventime
pro-bowler, says, "I am not waiting for scientists to bless it. I only know it works."
Even high schools are turning to magnetic therapy to improve athletic performance.
Although the effect of increased endurance and performance is known, the cause is not
definitively understood. It is felt that magnetic energy warms up the muscles and joints
so that performance is increased. At least as important, serious injuries are reduced. In
addition, it is known that magnetic energy increases blood flow to the muscles, thereby
increasing strength at these work sites.

Specific Uses

In addition to its general benefits, biomagnetic therapy may help a variety of specific
conditions. This is not to say that magnets will cure absolutely, irreversibly, and
indefinitely. How much good they do varies from person to person and depends upon
such factors as the depth of the problem, how long the condition has been in existence,
and how strong the magnet is.

Also, when using magnets for chronic longstanding conditions, where the tissues have
not been getting adequate blood flow, you may at first get an exacerbation of symptoms.
Some people call this a healing crisis. The discomfort usually passes in 24 to 48 hours.
In the meantime, one may wish to take some Tylenol, aspirin, or similar pain-relieving
medication to help with the discomfort until the body starts to recover its circulation.
One alternative is to decrease the length of time the magnet is worn in the beginning
and to gradually increase the time.
When using magnets for healing purposes, the strength should generally be between 100
and 500 gauss. Most treatments employ static magnets. However, when treating
fractures, either static or pulsed electromagnets can be useful. Here are some conditions
for which magnets can be helpful.
Aging Magnets activate life-promoting enzymatic activity which, in turn, encourages
normal cell division. This creates a healthier organism and may then slow down the
aging process. Several studies on animals show magnetic therapy to increase lifespan.
In order to balance the energy of the organs and glands throughout the body, it has been
suggested that one apply magnetic fields to the whole body. Sleeping on a magnetic bed
is an excellent way to accomplish this. Drinking magnetized water is another good habit
to get into. Additionally, injured or weak areas of the body can be strengthened by
applying magnets to these specific sites.
Amputations Many amputees suffer from a phenomenon called phantom pain; i.e.,
they feel pain in a limb that was removed. Many of these patients have vascular
problems. Research shows that in many, magnets can improve the flow of blood in the
stump and cause phantom pain to go away.
Appendicitis A northern or bipolar magnet can be placed over the affected area. In
advanced infections, however, you should not hesitate to call a doctor, as this is an
emergency situation.
Arthritis Magnetic therapy may be one of the most effective methods for achieving
relief from arthritis, according to a recent study published in the "Journal of
Rheumatology" (November 1997, p. 1200). Placing the north pole of a magnet over an
inflamed area on a regular basis may be a key factor in improvement, especially for
arthritis in the hands and feet. Magnetic therapy may help reduce bone and tissue
Asthma and Bronchitis Wearing a strong neodymium magnet over the chest to
cover the bronchial tubes and at an equal level on the back may help these conditions. In
addition, sleeping on a magnetic mattress pad can be beneficial. It may take several days
before breathing returns to normal, and magnets can be worn continuously during that
Scientific evidence supports the use of magnets in bronchitis, in both adults and
children. In his clinical practice, Dr. William Pawluk reported success after a patient of
his, who suffered from chronic bronchitis after having been poisoned by mustard gas,
used magnet therapy. The use of this treatment resulted in a greater ease of breathing.
Breast Fissures Breast fissures are skin wounds that occur in women who are
breastfeeding. Placing magnets over the wounded skin can help the fissure heal more
Burns Magnets can help speed up the healing of all but the most serious burns. They
are good to keep around the kitchen for burns received after touching a hot stove or
picking up something that is scalding. Magnets should be placed over the site of injury.
For slightly more serious burns, the use of magnets may help reduce the need for
analgesics to control pain..
Cancer Cells depolarize before becoming metastatic, and so one can speculate on how
this approach may have been successful in those clinical cases that have responded to
magnet therapy. When using magnets for cancer, remember the following rules of
thumb: The magnetic pole used must be negative. The field should be larger than the
primary lesion and the gauss greater than 25. Success rate increases if both the gauss
and duration are increased. A minimal duration of 20 hours per day for no less than
three months is required in most cases. The therapeutic effect is, in part, a result of the
negative pole producing alkaline hyperoxia (abundance of oxygen). Cancer cells form
their energy by making ATP in an acid anaerobic environment, which is termed acid
Russian reports indicate that using magnetic therapy along with chemotherapy increases
success in the treatment of brain tumors. Patients given magnetic therapy were less sick
than patients who did not receive it, and they recovered more quickly. They also had
fewer problems with their adrenal glands, which chemotherapy can sometimes affect.
Since the amount of information available on magnetic therapy with cancer is so
limited, and since cancer is such a serious condition, one should never consider magnets
as a sole therapy.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Magnets can be applied to the front and back of the wrist
to help this hard-to-heal condition. While the symptoms can be controlled with the help
of magnets, one should not expect the condition to be automatically cured.
Cervicitis The Russians have designed magnets for intravaginal use to alleviate
chronic cervicitis. They are placed in the vagina, next to the cervix. While this method
may be useful for chronic cervicitis, it probably should not be used for acute infections,
such as yeast infections.
Circulatory Problems One can place magnetic strips along the forearm and sleep on
a magnetic pad at night.
Depression When magnets are placed over the head, they can help lift one's mood and
promote relaxation.
Dermatitis As magnets decrease swelling of any kind, they can be placed over any
area of inflamed, red, itchy skin with favorable results.
Ear Pain Magnets can be placed over the painful site. Medical advice should also be
sought, though, particularly for children.
Endometriosis This painful condition causes little blood spots inside the pelvis and
is characterized by tissue irritation, inflammation, and pain. Women with infertility
problems often suffer from this. Benefit can be realized through magnetic therapy,
although it might take several months. In one study, good results were seen when 250-
gauss magnets were placed over the lower abdomen for six to 12 hours.
Fibromyalgia One should sleep on a magnetic mattress pad and use a magnetic
pillow. Magnets can also be placed over painful areas during the day.
Foot and Leg Problems Magnetic insoles will increase circulation and help
conditions such as numbness, burning, aches, restlessness, and leg cramps. In addition,
one should sleep on a magnetic mattress pad.
Head Injuries Head injuries, even mild ones, can leave people with chronic,
debilitating problems, many of which show up years later as headaches, memory
disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, eye problems, irritability, or other symptoms.
Magnets placed around the head and neck can correct the electrical imbalance
precipitated by the injury.
Heart Disease A neodymium magnet worn over the heart may assist the body in
healing itself, and may, in time, allow one to lessen or discontinue medications. Of
course, one should always follow a physician's advice.
Some of the effects of magnets on circulatory function are greater blood vessel dilation
and increased oxygenation of tissues. Biomagnetic therapy may also improve vascular
resistance and decrease the stickiness of blood platelets. People with a peripheral
vascular disorder and arteriosclerosis may therefore benefit from magnetic therapy.
Biomagnetic therapy may also undo blockages throughout the body, such as in the
vessels of the lower extremities, the arteries in the neck, and the blood vessels in the
hands and arms. By opening up a blockage in the heart, magnets may help prevent or
improve ischemic heart disease, angina, and heart attacks.
Muscle Spasms One of the major actions of magnets is to decrease spasms in
muscles. If you pull a back muscle or you're under a lot of stress, those muscles may
tighten up. Placing small round magnets or little block magnets over those areas can
make a significant difference.

Dr. Pawluk* reports additional relief when acupuncture meridians are stimulated with
magnets: "In some patients, myself included, I've placed a magnetic pad over the sacral
area because it hits the bladder meridian going up the back. The bladder meridian
controls the energy flowing through the muscles, all the way up and down the back,
including, to some extent, the shoulders. If you increase the energy flow along the
bladder area, it will help a muscle problem or tension up into the shoulders."
Muscle Strains and Sprains and Joint Pain Dr. Pawluk* reports success after
applying a magnet over the site of a torn muscle: "While playing with the family dog, I
tore a muscle in my calf. It was very painful. I covered the area with a large magnetic
pad, one that was probably 8 x 10 inches wide. And I wrapped an Ace bandage around
that. I wore that for three days. It made a significant improvement in the pain and
discomfort and reduced the bruising around the tissues."

Local applications are appropriate for these types of problems. Wear the magnet for
several hours, and then take a break from it. Either wear the magnet all day and take it
off during the night or vice versa. The same rule applies to joint pain. A magnet can be
taped over the joint for a set period of time. Additional benefit can be derived if
magnets are placed over corresponding acupuncture points.

Neuritis The Russians performed a study of 39 neuritis patients on medication alone,
and an equal number on medicine plus magnetic treatments. Magnets were placed along
the spine, even though the neuropathy may have been experienced in the arms. The
assumption was that some of the information processing originated in the spine.
Therefore, treating the spine would be reflected in improvement in the arms. The
experiment found a great degree of improvement in both groups, but particularly in the
group receiving medication plus magnetic treatment. Pain was reduced and nerve
reflexes improved.

Post-Polio Syndrome Recently, a study was performed examining the effect of
bipolar magnets on post-polio syndrome, a condition characterized by muscle
tenderness and pain in patients who have had polio. The condition occurs years after the
original damage from the polio virus. Application of magnets to these tender, painful
spots was shown to alleviate pain in this double-blind placebo-controlled study, the
results of which were published in the November 1997 issue of the "Archives of
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation".

Rheumatoid Arthritis Magnets act as an anti-inflammatory, and therefore help
some chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Surgery Some studies have shown that using magnets for 24 to 48 hours before
surgery, over the site where the incision will be made, results in better post-operative
recovery. Additionally, wearing magnets over a wound after the sutures have been put
in can also speed up healing.

Length of Exposure
In many studies using magnets, patients experience favorable results with intermittent
use as opposed to continual wear. In other research and clinical experience, conditions
are alleviated when magnets are worn full-time. This raises questions for further
research: Should magnets be worn all the time or should they be worn for certain
intervals? Should the length of time they are worn vary from condition to condition or
person to person?

Dr. Pawluk* asserts that research shows that if magnets are worn all the time, the body
may adapt to the field and establish a new level of homeostasis. This can be compared,
Pawluk explains, to walking into a room that has the scent of flowers. After one is there
awhile, the smell becomes imperceptible. The body may, therefore, need a periodic
time-off from magnets.

by Gary Null