Magnetic Therapy, Alternative Medicine for Pain
The world of alternative health remedies - Some are skeptical just from the sounds of it. Others swear by off-the-wall medicines like acupuncture, herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, hypnotherapy, magnetic therapy, and the list goes on and on.
Magnet therapy is one remedy in which magnets are applied directly to different parts of the body to get rid of pain and speed healing. Methods of applying this therapy are a magnetic mattress pad, sheet or mattress, magnetic insoles, and magnetic jewelry such as magnetic bracelets, magnetic earrings, magnetic rings, and magnetic necklaces.
Many alternative medicines incite skepticism in people because their practices are not scientifically proven or even medically shown to be good for your health. This leads many to stay away from these types of potential cures for pain and disease. Magnetic therapy is no exception to this generalization of alternative medicines.
Think of all the uses of magnets in the everyday household – microwaves, televisions, computers, power stations, electric razors, and anything that uses electricity. The first cause for skepticism is because of these electronic devices and their associations with cancer, birth defects, etc. So how could one be persuaded to put themselves into a magnetic chamber designed to subject your body to high intensities of magnetic fields?
Well, positive results from healing instances from willing patients relaying their experience to others is enough for some. Scientific health experiments have been conducted in which multiple patients have applied magnet therapy to specific areas. Some patients received real magnets and other a placebo. The results were in the favor of the therapy! The half who received the real magnetic therapy reported a 50% reduction in their pain levels while the placebo patients only reported a very slight reduction in pain.
However, other studies of similar design found exactly the opposite results: there was not a vast difference between the pain levels of the magnetically treated and placebo.
Correct Positioning is Crucial
The procedures for performing magnetic therapy are varied. However, correct positioning of the magnets during therapy is crucial!
Magnets have been used to provide relief from chronic pain of three or more months. Once again, it works for some, but not for all. This is why there are so many magnetic therapy items on the market today, such as bracelets (some said to improve your golf game), shoe inserts, and mattresses. However, many studies of these products criticize them because the information published to promote the products is written by those who are directly related to the sales of the gimmicky health products.
No Chemicals or Drugs
Promoters of magnetic therapy say that it provides relief for patients without inducing chemicals and expensive medications. It can offer remedies to cancer, blood vessel disorders, infections, and chronic pain. When small magnets are applied to an affected area, the chromosomes are shifted within cells, which help to relieve acute and chronic pain. Other experimenters have tried actions like sitting in large metallic, magnetic boxes every day, which they say has improved their day to day comfort levels.
One area of magnetic therapy that is proven is in healing broken bones. Applying direct magnetic rays to a broken bone can increase its healing dramatically.
Many criticisms of magnetic therapy are based on the lack of evidence and scientific proof. Even though some studies have proven that after applying magnets to a certain area, the patient does boast relief, no proof is shown that this relief is due to the actual magnets rather than the placebo affect (the mind simply heals the pain because it think the pain has subsided from the pain remedy). On the other hand, there is also no proof that the magnets are doing any harm. Therefore, if someone gains relief from a magnetic remedy, some might argue, “What’s the difference?” They feel better, so who cares if it’s actually from the magnets or just from the placebo affect.
However, some doctors are so strongly against magnetic therapy they consider it quackery. Evidence to prove the effectiveness of this alternative medicine is mostly prohibited by economic factors, politics, and human intervention.
In any case, many diagnostic medical machines, such as the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imagery) are used to scan bones, joints, muscles and heads. Why is there no proof that this is not injuring people? After all, if patients are being harmed just to diagnose them, then wouldn’t this type of medical care be counterproductive?
Many other examples of magnetic therapy have worked with post-polio patients. Sore spots treated with magnets were shown to have significant pain reduction. While placebos were also tried, pain reduction was not noted.
More Research is Needed
As alternative medicines such as magnetic therapy continue to emerge, society will show skepticism towards them until proven medically beneficial and not harmful. However, those same people who show uncertainty towards unproven therapies are often the ones unwilling to help support research and development on those very topics.
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