Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Magnet Therapy: What's The Attraction?

Date:
September 9, 1999
Source:
American Institute Of Physics
Summary:
Magnet therapy--it's a billion dollar business worldwide. Companies are selling magnets that promise to relieve chronic pain...on the golf course, at home, in the gym. A 1997 double-blind study at the Baylor College of Medicine concluded that magnets reduced pain in post-polio patients. But in today's Washington Post, a University of Maryland physics professor casts doubts on magnet therapy--with some simple experiments you can try at home.

College Park, MD (Sept. 8) --- Magnet therapy--it's a billion dollar business worldwide. Companies are selling magnets that promise to relieve chronic pain ... on the golf course, at home, in the gym. A 1997 double-blind study at the Baylor College of Medicine concluded that magnets reduced pain in post-polio patients. But in today's Washington Post, a University of Maryland physics professor casts doubts on magnet therapy--with some simple experiments you can try at home.

Reporting that the Baylor results have not been duplicated or confirmed by researchers elsewhere, University of Maryland physics professor Robert Park has also found no plausible explanation for how magnets could relieve pain. Park, who is also a consultant to the American Physical Society, says that explanations currently being offered are false. Here are some highlights from the article:

  • Some literature on magnet therapy claims it attracts blood to the treated area. But Park says no magnet can attract blood. "You can test this yourself," writes Park. "An excess of blood shows up as a flushing or reddening of the skin. But you will discover that placing a magnet of any strength against your skin produces no reddening at all."

  • Other proponents suggest that the magnets cause water molecules in the blood to line up, somehow improving circulation. But according to John Schenck of the General Electric R&D Laboratory in Schenectady, NY, aligning the violently jostling water molecules in the blood would require a magnet thousands of times stronger than any that have ever been created on Earth.

  • Park reports that the therapy magnets he examined appear to be basically the same as the flat, flexible refrigerator magnets such as those that come for free from pizza establishments. Park tested a pair of magnets from a $49.95 magnet therapy kit. Although he admits the magnets were a little stronger and a little thicker than the typical refrigerator magnet, he reports that it still failed to hold even 10 sheets of paper on a file cabinet. Ten sheets is just a millimeter thick, which means, according to Park, that the magnetic fields would barely penetrate the skin. "Not only do these magnets have no power to heal," he writes, "they don't even reach the injury."

Park warns that magnet therapy can pose a risk to people who ignore conventional medical treatment in favor of it. "Magnet therapy may not seem like a big deal," Park writes. "Magnets generally cost less than a visit to the doctor and they certainly do no harm. But magnet therapy can be dangerous if it leads people to forego needed medical treatment."

###

Reference:

"America's Strange Attraction: Magnet Therapy for Pain" by Robert L. Park in the Washington Post (September 8, 1999)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-09/08/076l-090899-idx.html

Contact: Rory McGee
rmcgee@aip.org
301-209-3088
American Institute of Physics


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute Of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Institute Of Physics. "Magnet Therapy: What's The Attraction?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990909071842.htm>.
American Institute Of Physics. (1999, September 9). Magnet Therapy: What's The Attraction?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990909071842.htm
American Institute Of Physics. "Magnet Therapy: What's The Attraction?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990909071842.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins