There’s a lot of controversy about the current popularity of magnets being used for healing. I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other, but recently had my own experience with them. Would like to know if anyone else has used them and improved. I hurt my back while boating (I was in the bow, boat hit someone’s wake, and I bounced up in the air and came down on my butt hard - the pain in my back was excruciating - I figured I’d compressed a disk or shocked the spine or something. Ayway, I had to move and walk very carefully for a few days, gobbled Motrin (which helped). I bought a lower lumbar cushion for my office chair; it had magnets in it. I didn’t buy it because it had magnets, but simply because it fit the chair well and was inexpensive, and all I was going for was support for the back. After about a week, one day I noticed I had NO pain in my back. None. I had cut way back on the Motrin. I didn’t even think about the magnets - I was just very happy that the back had gotten better and so fast. (I had been envisioning another operation for a herniated disk.) Then a few days later, as I sat in the chair, I could see the magnets thru the fabric, and I thought, could that be why my back is so much better? Don’t get me wrong - the back still bothers me some times, especially in the morning when I get out of bed, but it seems truly amazing that most of the time I have no pain. My knees are a problem (arthritis, I guess), and I’m seriously thinking about trying to find something for them with magnets.
Can’t help remembering the commercial on TV of the guy standing in front of the 'fridge late at night looking for a snack - he suddenly sees the little magnets on the 'fridge and presses one on each side of his head! I crack up every time I see that ad! Now then, time to serious up, here. My dad swears by magnet therapy and also wears a copper bracelet. He says his arthritis is much more tolerable since he started these two methods. I am of the opinion that (as stated in another thread here somewhere about placebos), dad has willed himself to feel better. As far as I am concerned, whatever it takes! If a person has undeniable better health as a result of any therapy or regimen, I say “go for it!”, as long as the method is not actually detrimental to their well-being.
There is absolutely no good double-blind placebo-controlled peer-reviewed study with evidence for magnet therapy.
That being said, there is a long trail of less-than-stellar results for Motrin, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, bedrest, chiropractic, manipulation and other doctor-recommended treatments for speeding recovery from a back injury.
If you are injured enough to miss work, I would always recommend seeing a doc ASAP for an evaluation and to make sure something more than muscle strain and/or ligamentous injury is not going on. If not, magnet therapy can’t be faulted on safety, or on unreasonable expense (unless you’re buying a magnetic bed or something). Many people swear by it, and really don’t care whether the magnet itself, or their belief in the magnet, made them better. They’re just glad they’re better.
btw, once you’re at the nearly pain-free point, I would strongly recommend pursuing abdominal exercises to decrease the likeliness of future back problems. Use common sense, exercise to the point where the abdominal muscles hurt, but stop if the back is hurting. Start with crunches before trying full-range-of-motion exercises like sit-ups. Good luck!
Sue from El Paso
Why don’t you check this out: magnetictherapy ?
Men will cease to commit atrocities only when they cease to believe absurdities.
Cecil just addressed this in a column recently:
And there is a discussion of it–I’m too lazy to find the link–on the columns message board. And the question is handled quite deftly and logically by, well, me.
My husband has been having problems with his left arm recently. He’s tried nearly everything to make the pain go away. He stumbled across a post on a guitar player’s message board, extolling the virtues of magnets. A few days ago, he bought an inexpensive copper bracelet, with magnets in it. The pain went away very quickly–we’re talking a few hours here. The muscles in his arm are noticably more relaxed. Weird.
I’m not going to sit here & say “Magnets are the medicine of the future!” I have no idea why it’s working for him. It just is, and he’s not whining about it anymore. By the way, he bought a bracelet for his bass player, who was having similar problems. The bracelet is having similar results for him, too. Go figure.
Cristi, did your hubby continue to wear the bracelet after the pain went away?
Tracer: Yes, he is wearing it pretty much all the time, except for showering. It’s not very big, so it doesn’t interfere with his guitar playing. He’s not been complaining about any pain at all. I’ve told him he should take it off for a few days, just to test & see if it really is the magnets doing any good. He’s going to wear it tonight, when he plays, then take it off for a couple of days. He’s only been wearing it for two days now, so we don’t really know if it’s the copper & magnets, or if it’s more of a psychosomatic thing, like the other posters have suggested. If it’s not psychosomatic, I sure as heck would be interested in finding out just what the deal is with these things!
BTW – here’s an Onion article semi-relevant to the topic at hand.
“Revolutionary New Insole Combines Five Different Forms of Pseudoscience” – http://www.theonion.com/onion3512/new_insoles.html
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Isn’t the human body naturally magnetic to some point already? In other words, gives out a little bit of magnetism.
I’ve used magnetic therapy & had good results. IT may have been psychosomatic or the placebo effect, I don’t care, it workerd. I know a man who has race horses his Vet uses it. No placebo effect there!
“Correlation does not imply causation”. Please stay after class and write that one hundred times on the chalkboard.
peas on earth
Bantmof - yes, I know that; I was merely making the point that I hadn’t considered magnets as the reason for my improved condition until I noticed them, then realized that MAYBE they had something to do with it. I still don’t know, but the improvement was so dramatic (and I had been in a LOT of pain), I am going to try them for my bad knee. Can’t hurt - might help.
Try the phone book, find a magnet shop [ they have shops that sell magnets for refrig’s etc] ask the clerk how long they stay well.
handy - you have to put the magnet on your body, not the refrigerator.
Yeah Sycorax, but they handle them all day long…
Jeez…are you putting me on or what? I don’t think intermittent touching is adequate, but in any case, you must put the magnet on the problem spot.
If the store clerk had a sore finger, maybe picking up magnets off and on all day would help it, but it wouldn’t help a bad back.
Carl noted that somebody used magnets on his horse and indicated there couldn’t be a placebo effect there.
Well, you might be surprised.
I don’t have the book I’m currently reading handy, but at one point the author noted a scientist had done a test on rats that indicated they could, indeed, be affected by a placebo type of effect.
That aside, as has already been noted, correlation is not causation. Just because this guy may have used it on horses and the horses got better does not mean the magnet did anything. They may have been injuries that would heal normally on their own.
Incidentally, the previous thread on this topic in the area for comments on Cecil’s columns can be found at: http://www.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000138.html
David B wrote:
You also have to remember that, for a suspected cure to be proven effective, it must pass a double-blind placebo trial.
The guy who was putting magnets on his horses knew he was putting magnets on them. He expected these magnets to enchance the horses’ health. He may have looked more carefully for signs of recovery, and been more inclined to count a marginal case as “cured”, than he would’ve been in the “normal” circumstance when he wasn’t using magnets.
Now, if he had put real magnets on half his horses, and non-magnetic placebos on the other half, and didn’t know which was which, then a result showing that the half who had the magnets recovered faster or stayed healthier would be significant.
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