Since ancient times, magnet therapy has been used to treat a wide variety of health problems and issues. In Healing with Magnets, the author, Gary Null, supplies an extensive list of these health problems and maladies, along with supporting scientific studies.
Some of the most common uses of magnetic therapy include relieving pain and discomfort, reducing inflammation, stimulating circulatory function, increasing the infection-fighting ability of the immune system, reducing stress, promoting good and restful sleep, correcting various nervous system disorders, increasing overall energy and mood levels, and increasing or augmenting athletic performance.
Paralysis often aggravates or exacerbates many disorders that respond well to magnetic therapy. Because of this, magnetic therapy may be particularly useful for people who suffer from spinal cord dysfunction (SCD).
Following are some of the conditions that are covered in Healing with Magnets.
Pain is the most prevalent and widely-reported chronic health problem in society. For example, 80% of Americans report that they suffer from severe back pain, at some point in their lives, forty million people in the US have some type of arthritic pain, and another forty million suffer from regular, recurring headaches. Chronic pain is an epidemic that is estimated to drain the economy of almost $100 billion a year.
Pain medications, although widely used, often are not effective for many people. Their efficacy can be marginal, tolerance tends to build quickly, and the side-effects of such medications result in over 75,000 people ending up in the hospital every year.
Because of the widespread need, pain relief is the most often emphasized magnet therapy application. Numerous studies have supported its effectiveness in this regard.
One of the most scientifically rigorous research studies focused on the pain associated with post-polio syndrome (PPS) (see Vallbona, et al., Archives Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, November, 1997). As is often the case with SCD, people with PPS suffer from pain for various reasons, such as over-use injuries or inactivity of joints and muscles.
The study utilized a double-blind setup. Such a design eliminates the placebo effect because neither the researcher nor the participant know who is receiving actual treatment or placebo control.
Researchers attached either a small, low-intensity magnet or a fake magnet (placebo) to the painful areas of fifty subjects suffering from PPS, who also experienced arthritic or muscle pain. Overall, 75% of the participants who got the active magnet reported decreased pain. Conversely, only about 20% who received the inactive magnet reported an improvement.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Magnetic fields have also been report to help relieve MS symptoms. A number of double-blind and numerous case studies indicated that pulsed electromagnetic fields may help reduce pain and spasticity and improve bladder control, cognitive function, tiredness and fatigue, mobile function and vision in those who have MS. (see Richards, et al., Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, August, 1998).
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
There are many who believe that electromagnetic energy will ultimately have a paramount role in neuronal regeneration and restoring nerve function after spinal cord injuries. Research with animals suggests that pulsed electromagnetic fields can stimulate peripheral and spinal cord neuronal regeneration, and aid in functional recovery.
These magnetic fields influence: calcium influx via the neuronal cell membrane, which impacts essential cellular functions; and the amounts of important nerve growth factors, which impact regeneration. Additionally, some research indicates that magnetic fields may modify the physical matrix of the scar tissue that forms after spinal cord injury in a manner that is less likely to inhibit the regrowth of neurons.
Spinal cord injury clinical applications of biomagnetic therapy are expanding. As an example, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the primary methods of imaging the brain and spinal cord. A newer technique called functional magnetic stimulation can stimulate urination and defecation, prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) by causing leg contractions, and increase respiratory and coughing ability. Pulsed electromagnetic energy has also been reported to accelerate pressure ulcer healing.