Proponents of magnet therapy believe that since some cells and tissues in the human body have an electromagnetic nature, magnets can be used to produce energy fields of different strengths that interface with the human energy field, correcting disturbances and restoring balance to ailing organs and cells. Supporters of this healing art maintain it can relieve pain caused by arthritis, headaches, stress, and broken bones, whilst improving circulation by decreasing fatty deposits on artery walls and increasing oxygen flow to cells. Even degenerative diseases are thought to be positively affected by the judicial placement of static magnets on key body points.
Practitioners of magnet therapy advise that it is from the negative, north pole of the magnet that the calming healing power emerges and can speed the healing of cuts and broken bones. The south side is said to excite and so using the correct side of the magnet is crucial. The magnet should be placed as close as possible to the affected part of the body. Magnets for medical use, generally range between 400 - 800 gauss and are stronger than the average refrigerator magnets which are around 200 gauss.
In a number of double blind, placebo controlled trials, the NYU Langone Medical Center published results stating that they have shown promise for a number of conditions, but in no case is the evidence strong enough to be relied upon. These studies have tested magnets with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, surgery support, low back pain, osteoarthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, urinary incontinence, multiple sclerosis, erectile dysfunction, migraines, depression, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease and stroke.
Magnetic devices are commonly found in stores and on the internet and range from wraps and belts containing magnets, to magnetic insoles in shoes for people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, as well as magnetic mattress pads to aid with insomnia and attractive magnetic jewelry said to be useful for neck, shoulder and wrist pain.