Can a pretty piece of jewelry really be a health remedy?

While strolling through a farmers market in Telluride, Colorado I was drawn to a sign that claimed relief was possible from arthritis, fibromyalgia, stiffness, injury, acne, migraines, and  high blood pressure by wearing magnetic jewelry. The Simply Magnetic booth displayed an array of attractive bracelets, necklaces, chokers, and anklets in single and double strands as well as pet collars. Some were all black. Others also contained colored beads. Prices ranged from $25 to $40.

I liked the look of the bracelet and can’t take common pain relievers, so I gave it a try. I’ve been wearing the bracelet 24/7 as prescribed since the end of September and I do believe it’s helped. Typically in the spring and fall my pain level increases due to barometric fluctuations and dampness but I’m not experiencing as much right now.

Magnet therapy, also known as magnetic field or bioenergy therapy, has been used for thousands of years. In the 16th Century physician Paracelus believed magnets attracted and eliminated disease. Magnets were recommended at that time to treat gout, arthritis, poisoning, and baldness. It became popular again in the 1970s when Albert Roy Davis, PhD., noticed positive and negative magnetic charges affected the body differently. He claimed their use killed cancer cells in animals and cured arthritis, pain, glaucoma, and infertility. High quality magnets are said to create a less acidic environment, decreasing the ability of infections and diseases to thrive. They are commonly used today in Japan and China.

The few clinical studies conducted on magnetic therapy show mixed results. They are criticized for the limited population tested and the preexisting conditions of many of the participants. Overall, magnetic therapy is difficult to study. Normally participants unknowingly receive either an authentic medication or a placebo but all would know whether a bracelet is magnetic or not.

The FDA has taken action against several producers and sellers of magnets for making unproven health claims. According to the American Cancer Society website, some believe that magnets can correct the electromagnet impulses disrupted in the body by illness and injury. It also says that the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally considers magnets safe but of no medical use.

You may want to consult with your doctor before wearing the jewelry. Magnetic therapy is not recommended for young children, pregnant women or anyone wearing a pacemaker, defibrillator, or infusion pump. The effects on these subjects are unknown. And all alternative remedies should be used with caution because there is no regulation of product contents, strengths, or effects. Nor should alternative remedies be used in replace of conventional medical treatment without serious consideration.

©2012, Mary K. Doyle

Advertisements