Does Magnetic Therapy Work?
As a pseudoscientific alternative therapy, magnetic therapy (also known as magnotherapy) has both its proponents and detractors. The practice involves subjecting parts of the anatomy to static magnetic fields. Products commonly used include magnetic bracelets and other jewellery, as well as shoe insoles, mattresses and blankets.
The most suggested mechanism for the benefits of magnetic therapy is that the magnets improve blood flow in underlying tissues, but detractors say the field is too weak to influence ferrous compounds in in human haemoglobin. Even with the magnetic fields used in magnetic resonance imaging, which is significantly stronger, none of the claimed effects have been verified.
Some practitioners claim that the magnets can restore the body’s ‘electromagnetic energy balance’, but no such balance is officially recognised by the professional medical community. While small studies have reported some therapeutic value in alleviating pain, most major studies have not proven efficacy.
Nevertheless, it has been promoted as a treatment for cancer and other conditions. The worldwide magnotherapy industry continues to generate sales of over one billion dollars annually, so some users may find it helps with their medical issues.