Joint pain caused by arthritis affects more than 46 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The crippling disease is caused by overuse, aging and trauma. There is no cure for rheumatoid or osteoarthritis; most treatments target the pain and inflammation to allow sufferers to function. Close to 90 percent of arthritis sufferers seek relief through at least one form of alternative treatment. Many people find relief from arthritis pain through magnetic therapy.
History Healers have utilized magnetic therapy for centuries. Stories related from early Greek times and the Middle Ages report of magnets being used to treat arthritis and other conditions ranging from baldness to gout. Healers during the Civil War in America claimed that magnets restored the body's natural magnetic fields to reduce pain. Magnets continue to be marketed to consumers to treat joint pain, stress, headaches and cancer treatment side effects.
Magnets produce energy fields that create polarity. Magnets made from permanent or static-based properties are built into bracelets to alleviate joint pain. Bracelets are designed with static magnetic fields that do not change and usually are made from alloys, steel, rare earth metals or iron.
While there is no scientific proof that magnets actually work to reduce inflammation and pain, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, early research indicates some efficacy to the claims. Possible explanations for the positive effects reported include relief provided by the pressure and warmth of the bracelet, psychosomatic mind-over-matter abilities, and the possibility that magnets may indeed serve a therapeutic purpose as purported.
According to Science Daily, trials and studies on the efficacy of magnetic bracelets have shown possible benefits to people with arthritis who wore the strongest magnets available. Whether the reduced joint pain is real or psychosomatic may be irrelevant if magnets allow patients to move around pain-free. Researchers encourage arthritis sufferers to continue with their traditional medical treatment while using magnets and to talk to their doctors before discontinuing any treatment.
Warnings Magnets worn against the skin typically do not induce any adverse effects. Magnets should not be worn by people who have pacemakers however, because the magnetic fields may disrupt the machinery in the equipment. Other negative interactions could occur in those who rely on insulin pumps and defibrillators for continued health.