We know: All About Magnetic Healing

What is magnetic healing?

Magnets are objects that produce a type of energy called magnetic fields. Magnets are widely marketed to treat or ease the symptoms of various diseases and conditions, including pain.

Is the use of magnets considered conventional medicine or complementary and alternative medicine?

There are some uses of electromagnets within conventional medicine. Electromagnets can be used to speed the healing of bone fractures. Electromagnets are also used to map areas of the brain.

However, most uses of magnets by consumers in attempts to treat pain are considered complementary and alternative medicine.

What are some of the conditions that have been treated with magnets?

Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, migraines, pelvic pain, and fibromyalgia.

How are magnets used in attempts to treat pain?

There are two kinds of magnets used in pain treatment:

Static magnets are usually made from iron, steel, rare-earth elements, or alloys. Typically, the magnets are placed directly on the skin or placed inside clothing or other materials that come into close contact with the body.

Electromagnets were approved by the FDA in 1979 to treat bone fractures that have not healed well. Uses of electromagnets are still considered experimental by the FDA and have not been approved. Currently, electromagnets to treat pain are being used mainly under the supervision of a health care provider and/or in clinical trials.

What is known from the scientific evidence about the effectiveness of magnets in treating pain?

Overall, the research findings so far do not firmly support claims that magnets are effective for treatment of pain.

Have any side effects or complications occurred from using magnets for pain?

The kinds of magnets marketed to consumers are generally considered to be safe when applied to the skin. Reports of side effects or complications have been rare.

We are grateful to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine for help in preparing this article.

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