No evidence magnet therapy dulls pain: study
They're embedded in everything from mattresses to insoles for shoes to wrist bands — but there is no definitive scientific evidence that static magnets can relieve chronic pain, researchers say.
Products that incorporate static magnets are a multibillion-dollar business worldwide, and many chronic pain sufferers are drawn by the promise they hold for alleviating such nagging conditions as arthritis, fibromyalgia and low back discomfort.
The theory from proponents is that a magnetic field increases blood flow, causing increased oxygen, nutrients, hormones and painkilling endorphins to be distributed to tissues in the affected area.
Researchers at the universities of Exeter and Plymouth in England decided to search the medical literature to determine whether there is any proof magnets can reduce pain.
In their analysis of nine randomized trials comparing products containing magnets with those containing either no magnet or very weak ones, the researchers found that the data did not support the use of magnetic therapy for pain control.
"There is no definite grounds of being absolutely sure that a magnet works or not," lead author Dr. Max Pittler, a complementary medicine specialist, said Monday.