Magnetic Field Therapy
Magnetic field therapy uses magnets to maintain health and treat illness.
The human body and the earth naturally produce electric and magnetic fields. Electromagnetic fields also can be technologically produced, such as radio and television waves. Practitioners of magnetic field therapy believe that interactions between the body, the earth, and other electromagnetic fields cause physical and emotional changes in humans. They also believe that the body's electromagnetic field must be in balance to maintain good health.
Practitioners apply magnetic field therapy to the outside of the body. The magnets may be:
- Electrically charged, to deliver an electrical pulse to the treated area.
- Used with acupuncture needles, to treat energy pathways in the body.
- Static (not electrically charged) and stationary on the treated area for periods of time, to deliver continuous treatment.
Why It Is Used
Some people use magnet therapy for treating pain, such as foot, back, or joint pain.
Research studies have been done on magnets, but they don't show evidence that magnets help with pain relief.footnote 1
Young children and pregnant women should not use magnetic field therapy because the safety of this therapy is not proved. People who have medical devices or implants with a magnetic field, such as a pacemaker, should not use magnet therapy, because it could interfere with the function of the implant.
Magnet therapy is not thought to have negative side effects or complications when it is combined with conventional medical treatment.
Talk with your doctor about any complementary health practice that you would like to try or are already using. Your doctor can help you manage your health better if they know about all of your health practices.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2008, updated 2013). Magnets. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/magnet/magnetsforpain.htm.
Current as of: January 3, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen M. Fairfield MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine
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