Date: Thu Aug 16 16:42:02 2001
Posted By: John Moulder, Faculty, Radiation Biology, Medical College of Wisconsin
Area of science: Medicine
You ask whether there is research that supports the use of magnet therapy
for multiple medical cures.
There are two major kinds of "magnet therapy"
There are some clinical trials (see Ryaby, 1998 and Trock, 2000) and
experimental studies (see Otter et al, 1998) supporting the use of pulsed
magnetic fields for healing bone fractures. However, the mechanistic basis
for the effect is unknown (Trock, 2000). Other medical uses of pulsed
magnetic fields have little or no clinical or experimental data to support
- Pulsed magnetic fields created by electromagnets
- Static magnetic fields generated by permanent magnets
The use of static magnets for pain relief is very popular, but there is
essentially no clinical or experimental data to support this use (see
Valbona et al, 1999 and Trock, 2000). Many of the devices on the market are
little more than expensive refrigerator magnets.
Most of the material on the Internet on magnet therapy seems to have been
written by the sort of people who used to sell "snake oil" at county fairs.
Among the credible sources I found are:
Sources in the peer-reviewed scientific literature:
- Ryaby, J. T. Clinical effects of electromagnetic and electric fields on
fracture healing. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 1998;
- Otter, M. W.; McLeod, K. J., and Rubin, C. T. Effects of electromagnetic
fields in experimental fracture repair. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related
Research. 1998; 355S:S90-S104.
- Trock DH: Electromagnetic fields and magnets. Investigational treatment
for musculoskeletal disorders. Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America.
- Vallbona C., Richards T.: Evolution of magnetic therapy from alternative
to traditional medicine. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of
North America. 10(3):729-54, 1999.
Medical College of Wisconsin
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