Magnetic Field Therapy

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Topic Overview

What is 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.

What is magnetic field therapy used for?

Some people use magnet therapy for treating pain, such as foot, back, or joint pain.

Research studies have been done on magnets, but there are not consistent results showing that magnets help with pain relief.footnote 1

Is magnetic field therapy safe?

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 he or she knows about all of your health practices.

References

Citations

  1. 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. Accessed April 11, 2016.

Other Works Consulted

  • Murray MT (2013). Osteoarthritis. In JE Pizzorno, MT Murray, eds., Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th ed., pp. 1651–1661. St. Louis: Elsevier.
  • Weintraub M, et al. (2008). Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Pain Management. New York: Springer.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine

Current as ofJune 30, 2016