What Is Magnetic Field Therapy?

Magnetic field therapy uses different kinds of magnets on the body to help boost your overall health. It may also help treat certain conditions.

There are several types, including:

Static magnetic field therapy: In this, you touch a magnet to your skin somehow. You might wear a magnetic bracelet or other magnetized jewelry. It could be a bandage with a magnet in it, or you may wear a magnet as a shoe insole. You could also sleep on a special mattress pad with a magnet in it.

Electrically charged magnetic therapy (electromagnetic therapy): The magnets you use here have an electric charge. Treatment with electromagnetic therapy usually comes through an electric pulse.

Magnetic therapy with acupuncture: Magnets go on the same sections of your skin that an acupuncturist would probably focus on in an acupuncture session. You may hear these areas called your energy pathways or channels.

How It Works

Your body naturally has magnetic and electric fields. All your molecules have a small amount of magnetic energy in them. The thought behind magnetic field therapy is that certain problems happen because your magnetic fields are out of balance. If you put a magnetic field near your body, it's believed things will go back to normal.

Ions like calcium and potassium help your cells send signals. In tests, scientists have seen magnets change how these ions act. However, so far, there isn’t evidence that magnets have the same effect on cells when they’re in your body.

What It’s Used For

Most magnetic field therapy is a treatment option for different types of pain, like in your feet and back.

Scientists have specifically studied its use for:

Who Shouldn’t Use It

While it’s generally safe for most people to wear low-intensity static magnets, it’s not a good idea to have magnetic field therapy if you:

You should also take off any magnets before having an X-ray or getting an MRI.

Some people who have magnetic field therapy have side effects like:

However, these side effects are rare.

Does It Work?

There haven’t been many studies on magnetic field therapy. The ones that have been done don’t have enough data to draw solid conclusions. Though some clinical trials have shown potential for magnetic field therapy as a treatment for back pain, for the most part, there's no clear proof that it can treat any condition.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on May 30, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: “Static Magnetic Field Therapy: A Critical Review of Treatment Parameters.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Electromagnetic Therapy.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: “Magnet Therapy.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Magnets.”

University of Michigan Medicine: “Magnetic Field Therapy.”

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