There are various thoughts about magnetic bracelets that remain unconcluded up until today. Magnetic bracelets claim to help with insomnia, inflammation, blood circulation, and others, yet the tag "no approved therapeutic claims" is associated with the bracelet. This article will tackle and find out the probable conclusion based on research on our topic. "Do magnetic bracelets really work, and all you need to know about them."
Magnetic field therapy
An alternative therapy using different types of magnets. These are static magnetic field therapy, electrically charged magnetic therapy (electromagnetic therapy), and magnetic therapy with acupuncture.
Static magnetic therapy involved wearing or lying on a mat with static magnets. Electromagnetic therapy is a combination of adding electricity to magnets. Magnetic therapy with acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment using acupuncture needles and magnets, restoring inner balance.
Part of alternative medicine using the magnetic and electrical field of the human body. The theory of using magnets is reestablishing balance causing illnesses and pain. Magnet therapy is used mainly on pain management, wound healing, and insomnia.
Any magnetic therapy type is not advisable for individuals with a pacemaker, an insulin pump, and pregnant women.
Magnetic bracelets are a type of bracelet assembled with static magnets promoting natural self-healing through magnet therapy—an alternative healing practice associated with electromagnetic treatment, which uses electrically powered equipment generating a magnetic field. Magnet therapy falls under pseudoscientific, for it still lacks conclusive scientific studies proving its claimed therapeutic effect.
Elements of Magnetic Bracelets
Have you ever wondered what those colorful plastic-like dots are on your magnetic bracelets? Some magnetic bracelet does not specify these colored pieces. However, some have stated the following:
Black – germanium
Germanium is a semi-conductive element that is currently of interest in the field of cancer therapy. In magnet therapy, it acts as an excellent conductor under an enormous amount of magnetic field. The idea of germanium amplifying magnets' effects hinges on the theory that the human body is a magnetic field.
Germanium element is isolated from argyrodite, together with silver and sulfur. It is primarily used today on LEDs and solar panels. In the jewelry industry, germanium increases the resistance of sterling silver from tarnishing. Argentium is a type of silver composed of 1.2% germanium. Germanium is a water-insoluble element that is said to be harmful when ingested.
At present, germanium, in the form of germanium sesquioxide, is sold as a supplement for heart, blood, liver, bone illnesses. It was said to be helpful in fighting lung cancer and leukemia. Studies have shown that bio-germanium supplements improve the immune system through amplifying the NK cells and stimulation of B cells, immunoglobulins, and TNF-alpha.
Red – Far infrared technology.
FIR or far-infrared is an invisible light from the sun. This is why we feel warm when we are under the sun, even when there is a nip in the air. The far infrared is absorbed by the cells of our body, producing heat, warming us from within, and relaxing our muscles.
FIR therapy is said to have multiple health benefits. This traditional way of healing dates back to ancient China using the heat of their palm. Soaking under natural sunrays activates the calcium content of the body resulting in stronger bones. Its heat promotes blood flow triggering the natural healing capacity of the body. However, soaking for an extended period under the sun is presently not advisable due to UV rays coming from the sun. Sauna baths, which is a conventional form of heat therapy, is said to be causing more harm than good due to extremely high temperatures.
There was a study on FIR technology wherein a ceramic powder rich in aluminum oxide, titanium oxide, and silicon oxide reveals far-infrared radiation. Research shows that in addition to emitting far-infrared, these FIR ceramic powders were able to prolong the shelf life of strawberries by reducing moist and shock absorption.
Bioceramic powders are also utilized in fabrics containing germanium, silicon carbide, magnesium, and iron oxide. It is believed to retain and re-emit the body heat produced by the body directing deep within the tissues and joints, increasing blood flow to the part. Blood flows when there is heat, illustrated when we do exercise routines, and we feel flushed. At present, bioceramic incorporated fabrics are used on socks to keep the feet warm.
White – Negative ion technology.
Negative ions are believed to have a affirmative outcome on moods, helpful in cases of depression. It is also used for its antimicrobial property utilized in air purification. Natural anions come from the UV rays from the sun and the electrical charge released by thunder and lightning.
A study published in 2013 concluded that even though there is no consistent effect on mood, anxiety, and sleep, negative air ionization has reduced depression rates mostly seen with high exposure level. The result is dependent on the amount of time the person is exposed to. It is advisable for people with chronic depression to be exposed to a number of hours. In contrast, those with seasonal depression may only need around 30 minutes to reduce a depressed state.
In 2018, a study likewise gave a non-definitive conclusion of the effects of NAIs for some studies showed improvement in health, while some don't.
These three are said to amplify the therapeutic claims of magnetic bracelets. The colored element is made up of powdered germanium and gemstones or manmade positive and negative ion powders mixed with a binding element.
The last and most crucial parts of magnetic bracelets are the magnets.
Silver – 3300 gauss north-facing magnets
Clarence Risher from Atlanta, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0
Magnets are objects capable of attracting another ferromagnet creating a surrounding magnetic field. To explain magnetism, awe must understand what a magnet is made of. A magnet is composed of the tiniest particle called atoms. particle with unpaired electrons creating an exterior magnetic field.
Where does the magnetic field come from? A magnetic field is a result of the movement of electrically charged particles. A magnetic field has the same concept as Earth's geomagnetic field produced by the current outside of Earth's core. The electromagnetic currents come from the elemental composition and arrangements of ferromagnets. Like any object, magnetic materials are made of electrically charged atoms encircling a proton. The motion of the electron makes each atom act like minute magnets. When these atoms are alight in one direction, they will form ferromagnetic materials. However, when aligned alternately, they form an anti-ferromagnetic material.
Magnets are classified into three categories:
Permanent magnets retain their magnetic property once magnetized.
Ceramic / Ferrite Magnets
Made by sintering iron oxide, strontium, and barium carbonate. These are the most common variety of magnets, quickly produced and inexpensive—a strong magnet not readily demagnetized though it has a brittle form needing a diamond wheel grinder.
Neodymium Iron Boron Magnets
Neodymium is an element discovered in 1885 mixed with other lanthanides found in countries of China, Brazil, and more. Developed by Hitachi and GM motors for its high magnetic force widely used in mobile phones, ionizers, and filters. Incorporated in medical equipment for diagnosis, treatment, pain management using a static magnetic field.
Prepared using a rare natural magnetic material, brittle, easily rusted, with a high-energy product range of 30MGOe. These need gold, iron, or nickel plating available in a small compact form.
Neodymium magnets are the most widely used magnets in healthcare, according to a study published in 2018.
Uses of neodymium magnets:
- Maintain the muscular tone of astronauts in space.
- Used in orthodontic treatments, palatal expansion, and molar distillation.
- Stimulate bone formation
Effects of neodymium magnets:
- Reduced blood flow
Various studies have shown reduce blood flow when exposed to neodymium magnates. With the help of a laser Doppler, reduced blood flow and SBF was seen on the finger with both poles of NIB magnets. In another case, a strong static magnetic field resulted in a decreased blood flow and vessel density in tumors.
- Treatment for depression
RTMS or recurrent transcranial magnetic stimulation is used on individuals suffering from depression. A proven effective treatment where a 48% decrease is seen in contrast to the control group, which yielded a 19% reduction.
- Lagophthalmos treatment
NIB magnets were placed on both the upper and lower eyelid for Lagophthalmos treatment.
Magnetic forceps were used in successfully removing unwanted tissues using laparoscopic procedures.
There is still further research regarding the use of NIB magnets in stem cell therapy, treatment of age-related macular degeneration, vascular stents, and aneurism before the health benefits of neodymium magnet are establish, but some have results seem promising.
Samarium Cobalt Magnets
Likewise, a strong magnet and difficult to demagnetize. Heat resistance up to 300 degrees Celsius with magnetic strength of 15-22 MGOe (Sm1Co5) and 22-30 MGOe (Sm2Co17).
Named after the three elements, it consists of aluminum, nickel, and cobalt. Its industrial use is based on the type of production. Sintering for enhanced mechanical properties, while casting is used for more complex properties. The downside of alnico is that it can be readily demagnetized.
Temporary magnets exhibit a magnetic property only when exposed to a magnetic field.
Electromagnets use a stream of electrical charges passing through coils of = wires. Considered a temporary magnet as its magnetic field ceases upon the removal of electric currents.
Magnet therapy Mode of action
Like any drug or procedure, the mechanism of action serves as the basis on how a product will interact with the body resulting in its therapeutic claim. What human part of the human body does it target, resulting in a chain of reaction?
- Magnet therapy proposed healing by using the natural electromagnetic field of the body to interact with magnets' low magnetic property, initially repelling them, resulting in the movement of an atom and improved blood circulation.
- Another theory is directly linked to human blood's iron content, likewise initially repelling the iron content leading to improved blood flow.
History of Magnet Therapy
The Olmec was believed to be the first civilization that used the lodestone as a compass in building temples. This may have been passed the use to the Mayans and the Aztecs, who were known to have studied the planets' movement.
Magnet therapy dates back to the 6th century, when a Greek philosopher discovered the magnetic property of lodestone. Lodestone is a naturally occurring magnetized mineral. Black or brownish in appearance with a 5.5 to 6.5 Mohs hardness. In China, lodestone was described to make iron come. They experimented with the magnetic property of lodestone for divination purposes. A south-pointing spoon made of magnetite was found in the Han tomb that would consistently rotate to a north and south axis when placed on a bronze plate. Another use of magnets is to restore the body's inner qi by breaking electromagnetic statics and reestablish its natural flow. Using monopole magnets is crucial in this treatment. Using the magnet's north pole, it was used to treat acute pain as a traumatized tissue produces positive charges leading to inflammation. The negative pole will attract these excess positive charges reducing swelling.
Magnet therapy started with the use of imagination and belief. The Paracelsus popularized the theory of magnetism. Paracelsus was a known brilliant German-Swiss physician who first associated goiter with mineral deficiency and various cures. He studied naturally occurring metals, which gave him a deeper understanding of chemistry and medicine. He compared magnetism with a miracle. He believes that magnets can stop bleeding, cure convulsions, and hemorrhoids. Mesmer likewise used magnets in a procedure called mesmerism. He used magnets for healing while he put patients under the state of trance. Next in line is Daniel Palmer, who was interested in magnet therapy. He initially used magnets but later transformed his idea to touch therapy.
The idea of magnet therapy is followed by bioelectromagnetism. Bio electromagnetics studies the interaction between electromagnetic fields (cells, tissues and, species) and manmade electromagnetic fields.
PEMF or pulsed electromagnetic field devices is currently used as an alternative treatment for pain management, reducing the amount of painkiller medicine consumed. Electromagnetic therapy uses different magnetic intensity, waveform, and frequency suitable for a particular condition.
PEMF has been demonstrated to be effective in alleviating pain and inflammation. Its mode of action ranges from reduced circulation and cellular metabolism. In theory, PEMF activates the calcium channel and nitric oxide triggering its release. Nitric oxide is responsible for blood vessel production and growth, vital in tissue regeneration.
Frequency applied for different conditions:
- 12 Mhz for neck pain was proven to show a significant improvement against the control groups.
- 35 to 40 mT is was used for individuals with low back arthritis pain.
One of the most prevalent health claims of the magnetic bracelet is to help relieve pain caused by osteoarthritis. A study to determine the effectivity of commercially sold magnetic bracelets regarding pain caused by osteoarthritis on the hip and knee showed a more reduced pain score compared to the effect on the dummy group. Still, this leaves inconclusive data as the positive effect may also come from a placebo effect, for the results showed a minimal difference between the groups.
The study group was divided into three. Group A was wearing a standard neodymium magnetic bracelet with 170 to 200m Tesla. Group B was wearing bracelets with weak magnets ranging from 21 to 30m teslas. The last group, group C, was given non-magnetic steel washer bracelets. The group was instructed to wear the bracelets from four to twelve weeks. Blinded followed unblended.
In 2018 a study on the health effects of neodymium magnets in healthcare showed that neodymium magnets seem to have promising outcomes for both therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
A published article in 1997 stated that magnet therapy shows no medicinal value in treating sleep apnea and snoring. The study was done in an out sleep disorder center where they observed patients before and after magnet therapy.
Types of Magnetic bracelets
Copper magnetic bracelets
Copper has been part of medicinal treatment since ancient times. It was used for headaches and water purification by the Egyptians. It was also used against lung, skin, throat, and eye infections. Basically, copper was used for almost everything.
Copper bracelets claim to help with arthritic pain. A study regarding the absorption and the effect of copper has been cited for its controversial result. The study concluded that copper bracelets were effective in managing pain from arthritis. It was said that copper was absorbed through the skin, supported by the bracelet's weight loss. The efficacy of the coper bracelet and absorption was contested by another study using a copper gel. This study showed that copper gels are not effective in relieving arthritis pain, and it has even contributed to skin irritation. This inadvertently disputed the first claim for a copper gel is guaranteed to be absorbed faster than copper elements present on a copper bracelet.
A study in 2009 about the therapeutic effects of both copper and magnetic bracelets was done in 2003, concluding that both bracelets are ineffective in stiffness, pain management and physical functions of patients with osteoarthritis. Devices used were commercially sold magnetic wrist straps with weak magnets, demagnetized wrist straps, and a copper bracelet.
Another study in 2013, determining the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect of copper and magnetic wrist strap for rheumatoid arthritis, showed an insignificant amount of data pertaining to its therapeutic effect outside its placebo effect against rheumatoid arthritis.
Titanium carbide and titanium oxide are only beneficial when applied as a nanostructured thin coating gathered around a graphitic carbon. In a study published in 2017, it concluded that titanium carbide coat secured the titanium implant against the harsh condition of the tissue, stimulating adhesion, improved bone-implant contact, better than uncoated titanium implants.
Stainless Magnetic Bracelet
Like titanium carbide, stainless steel claims no therapeutic effect. Its main purpose is its durability, hypoallergenic property, non-reactive, and self-repair.
Hematite is a red to grayish-black gem composed mainly of iron oxide abundantly found on Earth's crust. Previously used in ancient Egypt to stop bleeding. A healing stone used in grounding therapy. It is weakly ferromagnetic likewise found on Mars. Some claim that hematite helps increase blood flow and fight anemia. However, these claims are not proven by science and hinge their positive result on the placebo effect. It supports the root chakra that is primarily linked to balance and self-control.
If we were to base our origin on the Bible, we were created without clothes. We were designed to roam without direct contact with nature. Grounding therapy takes us back to the times when we would walk barefoot on the ground. Ground meaning natural soil and not the cemented pavements we have.
The theory of the healing effect of grounding roots from the magnetic field from Earth. At present, Earth's magnetic field was said to have weakened. It ranges from 0.25 to 0.65 gauss. The magnetic field of Earth emanates from its core, interacting with the electrically charged particles from the sun. This is somewhat comparable to the proposed therapeutic use of magnet therapy.
A study showed that grounding after eccentric contractions has shown reduced muscle damage. The absorption of free electrons in nature has been a subject of dispute as some say it is impossible for humans to absorb it. To explain the possible phenomenon of grounding therapy, the study demonstrated possible mechanisms contributing to the effects of earthing. Grounding is linked to the secretion of cortisol and quality of sleep. It affects the body's calcium, sodium, potassium, iron content, and ANS function. This suggests the absorption of the free electrons available in nature, thus neutralizing the free radicals contributing to inflammation.
Grounding is also believed to activate the parasympathetic branch of ANS, therefore reducing inflammation. The study concludes no change with regards to pain but has seen an increase in the number of neutrophils and platelets. These results have positive inclinations of the anti-inflammatory effects of grounding and eccentric contractions.
Based on the studies previously stated, it can be assumed that static magnets used on magnetic bracelets are deemed ineffective against its proven claim. However, electromagnetic therapy is proven effective in relieving and treatment of various illnesses.
In theory, magnetic bracelets are made up of materials with healing properties like magnets, crystals, FIR, and negative ions components. Different base materials are also believed to positively affect health, such as copper and hematite. However, research still shows an inconclusive result for the therapeutic effect of magnetic bracelets may have been based on the placebo effect. A placebo effect is a favorable effect brought not by the drug or object but by a person's belief in the treatment. This does not directly treat the problem but concentrates on the mindset of the patient. Sometimes, what we feel is all in mind, so a placebo makes you believe that you are treating the illness, making you feel better.
In some cases, a placebo is concomitantly used with drugs to amplify its effect. We must not discount the impact of a positive mind on the human body. An ill person's uplifted spirit lightens the body, making them move and giving peace of mind resulting in good sleep quality. This will give the body the chance to heal its own and without the help of modern medicine. In conclusion, although magnetic bracelets are composed of restorative material, the question remains, are these components enough to have a positive effect on our body?