evidence based medicine Posts

Scientific Evidence for Magnetic Field Therapy


Many people ask, what’s the scientific evidence for using magnets for pain relief?

Like any medical treatment, the subject of evidence should address the question, does it work? But the bottom line is…do the benefits outweigh the risks and inconvenience and justify the costs? The simplicity and low costs of static magnets, certainly sets a low bar in this respect.


Multipolar static magnetic field may provide relief to side-effects of pain medications…

The type of magnet used is this study is not a Q magnet.
The safety and effectiveness of Q magnets has not been established in the treatment of erosive gastritis.

Every week, new research is published strengthening the claim that static magnets can be optimised for therapeutic effects. While the magnetic device used in this study is not a Q magnet, the multipolar arrangement does exhibit similar properties.

Researchers at Semmelweis University (Budapest) conducted a randomised, double blind placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effects of a multipolar static magnet device on symptoms related to erosive gastritis. The same magnetic array has previously been shown to have an analgesic effect on mice and increased the pain threshold in humans (see references below).

Three Things You Should Know When Someone Says – “There is no Evidence for the Use of Static Magnets”.

Two of the most recent scientific reviews on the effectiveness of static magnets have been by Pittler et al (2007) and Laakso et al (2009). See references below where both articles are free to access.

Pittler’s paper concluded from the 29 studies it reviewed… ”The evidence does not support the use of static magnets for pain relief, and therefore magnets cannot be recommended as an effective treatment.” Since this is often quoted by those seeking to discredit the therapeutic use of static magnets it deserves to be scrutinised.

The first anomaly is the summary of the study by Segal (2001). Compare Pittler’s summary… “No significant differences”, to Laakso’s summary of the exact same study… “Significantly less pain in treatment group compared to control group”. See tables below.

Review of the NCCIH misleading review of magnets for pain. Yes we agree. GET THE FACTS!

NCCIH (formerly NCCAM) recently used the modern communication method of Twitter to tweet their outdated review of the science and evidence for magnetic therapy. Their information page has the title “get the facts” and since they managed to leave out the most important facts, we felt compelled to write the following explanation.


NCCAM tweet on magnetic therapy


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