Though still considered a form of alternative medicine, magnetic therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for conditions involving chronic pain and inflammation. This therapy uses magnets that are placed directly against the skin to promote proper blood circulation and the release of endorphins. Based on the electromagnetic characteristics of magnets, the therapy is said to realign the body's natural electromagnetic field. As magnets naturally attract metallic based materials, the iron content within blood is said to be affected by a magnet's pull. This pull effect on the blood is what stabilizes and enhances the healing process.
Neodymium is the type of magnet most commonly used in magnetic therapy. Classified as the most powerful permanent magnet, Neodymium has a strong magnetic effect that weighs much less than the more industrial Ferrite magnet. The combination of light weight and a strong magnetic pull gives small items like straps, wraps and jewelry the magnetic effect needed to cross over the skin barrier and onto the injured area. When placed on top of the skin, the metal alloys--iron, cobalt and nickel--in the magnet attract the iron deposits in blood, and stimulates blood flow in the area. By stimulating blood flow the area is able to receive needed oxygen, nutrients and endorphins that otherwise can't flow through due to inflammation or other cell-level imbalances.
Magnetic therapy was used in Chinese medicine as a common treatment practice as far back as 2000 B.C. Doctors integrated the use of magnets with reflexology and acupuncture practices. Greek civilizations also made use of Lodestone, a magnetic mineral, which was addressed in the works of Aristotle and Plato. It wasn't until the eighteenth century that the field of biomagnetics was founded by Michael Faraday, as an alternative form of medicine. Numerous research studies have taken place since then, as traditional medicine remains skeptical towards this treatment approach.
As of yet, scientific studies on the healing effects of magnetic therapy are inconclusive. The medical community remains skeptical as to the validity of supporting evidence surrounding the treatment. Experiments that have been performed are said to involve an inordinate amount of extraneous variables, making definite cause-effect interactions impossible to measure. This, coupled with the inconsistent results that have been obtained, brands magnetic therapy as an unorthodox form of treatment within the medical community. Metaphysical beliefs surrounding the effectiveness of magnets in treating injuries draw on principles of energy and balance. This new age slant towards treatment, though well established in ancient times, remains unacknowledged by the traditional medical establishment.