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“Magnet therapy products are generally considered safe. Safety concerns arise if patients pursue magnet therapy as their only means of health care because no evidence suggests magnet therapy is useful for diagnosing or treating any disease.” Dr Robert, Skeptical Health (23rd December 2011)

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“Researchers in the US claim that exposing a person to a magnetic field could reduce their risk of a heart attack by streamlining the flow of blood around their body…The simplistic extrapolation from this contrived and temporary effect to improving blood flow and thereby reducing risk of heart attacks, however, is unjustified and misleading. Further, any attempt to use this study as a justification for clinical claims made for weak permanent magnets is beyond misleading, in the realm of the absurd.” Steven Novella MD, Science Based Medicine (29th June 2011)

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“Electromagnetism is the real energy of life, and therefore it is very plausible that all sorts of magnetic and electrical interventions will be useful for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. But there is a market for countless quack magnetic devices exploiting this popular appeal. You can buy what are essentially refrigerator magnets to strap to your elbow or knee, or put in your shoe or under your pillow. These static magnetic fields have no demonstrable effect on blood flow or living tissue, and their fields are so shallow they barely extend beyond the cloth in which they are encased, let alone to any significant tissue depth. And the scientific evidence for efficacy is negative. Even more absurd are magnetic bracelets that are supposed to have a remote healing effect on the body. Plausibility plummets even further. The lack of a tight relationship between scientific evidence and academic acceptance of medical claims on one hand, and the marketing and popular appeal of those claims on the other – is eternally frustrating. This disconnect appears to be especially true for claims for magnetic devices and treatments – a disconnect that has survived for centuries.” Steven Novella, MD, Skeptic Blog (14th June 2010)

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“A magnetic ball that ionizes water! The idea is simply preposterous. To ionize water would require extremely high energies. That a fridge magnetic could achieve ionisation in a glass of water is just not conceivable. If this were possible then patients in an NMR scanner face Star Trek like vaporization. For the water to become and remain ionised, through the effects of a cheap magnet, and then help your hayfever somehow, is just plain wishful thinking.” The Quackometer (8th June 2010)

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A recent study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine shows no benefit from copper or magnetic bracelets for symptomatic treatment of arthritis. While this is a relatively small study, it highlights the lack of evidence to support this billion dollar plus industry…This is only the second published controlled trial looking at copper bracelets for arthritis. The first is from 1976 and showed some benefit. Then there are no published studies (just reviews and comments) for the next 33 years, until this current study…Consumers using such products are prey to all of these placebo effects, in addition to others, such as regression to the mean. Arthritis, like many illnesses, waxes and wanes. People are likely to seek treatments when their symptoms are bad, and statistically likely to improve to a more average severity. This regression to mean severity is easily interpreted as a response to whatever treatment they initiated when their symptoms were at their worst. So what we have is a series of implausible claims, negative or insufficient evidence, and a clinical setting where self-deception is likely. This adds up to over a billion dollars of wasted health care dollars. We have to confront the fact that this is what has and will happen in the absence of adequate regulation – the public will waste money on useless therapies, their attention and resourcesy may be diverted from more effective interventions, and some unscientific interventions may be directly harmful.” Steven Novella, MD, Science Based Medicine (21st October 2009)

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"Notably, some people working in physics research work for hours per day with their whole body immersed in magnetic fields far stronger than those from the bracelets, and (if they observe precautions regarding pacemakers) are no more or less healthy than their peers..... Some claim that the magnets help to circulate the blood by some interaction with the iron in hemoglobin, a major component of red blood cells. However, in its ionised form, iron is not ferromagnetic. If it were, use of magnetic resonance imaging would instantaneously kill patients." Wikipedia encyclopaedia

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“About a billion dollars a year is now spent on ‘magnet therapy’, which is claimed to eliminate many symptoms and diseases. Basic scientific principles indicate that all of this money is wasted.” A critical commentary on the magnet healing industry by Bruce L. Flamm (Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Riverside, California), Skeptical Inquirer (July 2006)

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"There is no scientific basis to conclude that small, static magnets can relieve pain or influence the course of any disease. In fact, many of today's products produce no significant magnetic field at or beneath the skin's surface." Stephen Barrett, M.D. (Quackwatch)

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"These days rapidly fluctuating magnetic fields are used in conventional medicine in high-tech imaging machines (such as MRI scanners) and for promoting the healing of bone fractures. However, alternative medicine tends to use static magnets, which create a permanent magnetic field, to treat many conditions, mostly to alleviate chronic pain. Static magnets are worn as wrist bands, belts, leg wraps, shoe inlays, patches, etc and can be purchased through numerous outlets; more often than not, the consumer/patient would not have had any contact with a healthcare practitioner. Does it work? There is no evidence that static magnets offer any medical benefit for pain relief. As they are usually self-administered, there is a danger of missing serious diagnoses and losing valuable time for early treatment of serious diseases." By Simon Singh and Professor Edzard Ernst, Daily Mail (8th April 2008)

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"There are two main types of magnets: static or permanent magnets generate the magnetic field by the spin of electrons within the material itself, and electromagnets generate a magnetic field when an electric current is applied. Most magnets sold for health purposes are static magnets of various strengths. They have been incorporated into arm and leg wraps, mattress pads, necklaces, shoe inserts and bracelets, and are marketed with claims of effectiveness for reducing pain of various origins. It has been suggested that about 28% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia use magnets or copper bracelets for pain relief. Our aim was to assess the clinical evidence from RCTs of static magnets for treating pain…..Overall, the data suggested no significant effects of static magnets for pain relief relative to non-magnetic placebo." Max H Pittler, Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies [FACT] (March 2008) [The article is accompanied by a table of trials included in the meta-analyses.]

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"Belief in the healing power of magnets and magnetic fields has existed since the discovery of magnets several thousand years ago. In the late 18th century, Franz Anton Mesmer, an infamous charlatan, promoted the notion that he could heal with "animal magnetism." In the 19th century magnetic healers were common — D.D. Palmer was a magnetic healer prior to founding chiropractic. Magnetic devices for everyday aches and pains have been increasingly popular recently, and today they are a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet the scientific evidence does not, generally, support the use of magnets for specific indications, and the vast majority (if not totality) of claims made for magnetic devices in marketing are either false or unsupported and highly implausible." Steven Novella, MD, Science Based Medicine (9th January 2008)

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"In conclusion, the evidence does not support the use of static magnets for pain relief, and such magnets therefore cannot be recommended as an effective treatment. For osteoarthritis, the evidence is insufficient to exclude a clinically important benefit, which creates an opportunity for further investigation." Max H. Pittler, MD PhD, Elizabeth M. Brown, BSc and Edzard Ernst, MD PhD, Canadian Medical Association Journal (25th September 2007)

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"Magnet therapies which are claimed to cure conditions ranging from back pain to cancer have no proven benefits, according to a team of US researchers. Sales of the so-called therapeutic devices , which are worn in bracelets, insoles, and wrist and knee bands, top $1 billion worldwide, they said. But a major review showed no benefits, a British Medical Journal report said. The team also warned self-treatment with magnets risked leaving underlying medical conditions untreated. Professor Leonard Finegold of Drexel University in Philadelphia and Professor Bruce Flamm of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in California said turning to magnetic therapies could also cause 'financial harm'. "Money spent on expensive and unproved magnet therapy might be better spent on evidence based medicine," their report said." Dr Max Pittler, research fellow in complementary medicine at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, said: "Although the authors cite only selected studies to back up their statements, also a systematic assessment comes to the conclusion that the evidence is not compelling for the effectiveness of static magnets for reducing pain above non-specific effects." BBC News (6th January 2006) [See link immediately below for an editorial on the British Medical Journal report]

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Exposure to static magnets for up to 30 minutes had the same effect on resting forearm blood flow and vascular resistance as placebo magnets. These data suggest that static magnets do not result in significant alterations in resting blood flow. Journal of Orthopedic Sports and Physical Therapy. (2002)