You might be surprised to learn that in 2004, a clinical trial was published in British Medical Journal called ‘Randomised controlled trial of magnetic bracelets for relieving pain in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee’. The study concluded that…
“Pain from osteoarthritis of the hip and knee decreases when wearing magnetic bracelets. It is uncertain whether this response is due to specific or non-specific (placebo) effects.“
Some of the benefits of the magnetic bracelet were on par with front-line osteoarthritis treatments including non-steroidal topical creams and exercise therapy. However, the authors did not even suggest a mechanism for how the magnetic bracelets might have brought about this pain relief. Of course there are numerous other studies that show magnetic jewellery not providing any health benefits at all.
It’s difficult to even come up with an explanation for how a magnetic bracelet might work, particularly when the target of the therapy is the hip or knee – a long way away from the wrist.
One explanation could be remote tissue conditioning, experiments have shown how laser light on a remote part of the body for instance, induces changes in a completely different part (see references below).
There’s still so much more to know about the workings of static magnetic fields and their effects on the body.
The consumer still needs to be wary, as is demonstrated by the story of the non-magnetic Power Balance Band. It appears this product relied on pure suggestion in order to stimulate an instantaneous boost in energy. We wrote about and reviewed the clinical trial for the Power Balance Band here.
There is a rationale for how multipolar magnets like Q magnets and Bioflex work and published clinical trials that support claims for pain relief and injury recovery. At this time, the same cannot be said for magnetic jewellery.
- Harlow et al. (2004). Randomised controlled trial of magnetic bracelets for relieving pain in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. BMJ. 2004 Dec 18;329(7480):1450-4. PMID: 15604181; doi
- Richmond et al. (2009). Therapeutic effects of magnetic and copper bracelets in osteoarthritis: a randomised placebo-controlled crossover trial. Complement Ther Med. 2009 Oct-Dec;17(5-6):249-56. PMID: 19942103; doi
- Kim B et al (2017). Remote tissue conditioning – An emerging approach for inducing body-wide protection against diseases of ageing. Ageing Res Rev. 2017 Aug;37:69-78. PMID: 28552720; doi
- Johnstone D.M. (2014). Indirect application of near infrared light induces neuroprotection in a mouse model of parkinsonism – an abscopal neuroprotective effect. Neuroscience. 2014 Aug 22;274:93-101. PMID: 24857852; doi
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