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There are more answers than questions

Saturday, 8 July 2017  |  Admin

Last time around we discussed the question of what are the benefits of magnetic bracelets. We even have expanded this to a full blown page in our Knowledge Centre.

We didn't reach any definitive answer because the question has so many dimensions. There are an awful lot of different areas to cover. For example, do magnetic bracelets really help with pain?

Now of course, if you ask a hundred people, you'll get a hundred answers. So for example, if you ask a doctor or medical researcher, what helps arthritis pain, he'll probably tell you that painkilling drugs can reduce the pain but nothing can cure the underlying ailment. That is the view of conventional medicine and it is only natural- and proper - that it should take a lot to change it.

There are of course exceptions like Albert Roy Davis a doctor (PhD not medical doctor) who studied the effects of both charged electricity and magnetism on human cells and organs in the 1970's. He concluded that magnetic energy could even go as far as to kill malignant cells, as well as the lesser - but medically relevant - effect of alleviating arthritis pain. Even suggested that such therapies could be use to treat infertility. Needless to say he was in a minority.

But what about arthritis sufferers? In at least some cases, they tell a very different story. Quite a few of them wear magnetic arthritis bracelets‎ and most of these will tell you that magnetic bracelets 'ease aches'. This view was in fact supported by a study by Dr. Tim Harlow of  Penninsula Medical School  published in the British Medical Journal in 2004. The study involved some 194 patients suffering from osteoarthritis over a 12 week period. To screen out the placebo effect they used a mixture of strong magnets, weak magnets and non-magnetic bracelets. They found that the weak and non-magnetic bracelets produced the same results, but that the strong bracelets produced a statistically significant reduction in pain as scored by the patients themselves, using a recognized scale of pain self-measurement.

So magnetic bracelets DO work, say researchers. But naturally, not all researchers and orthodox doctors would accept these results as conclusive. 

However, even the most hard-headed healthcare professionals must conceded one thing and that is that magnetic bracelets cannot do any harm. Obviously, an exception to this is that they can do indirect harm if people with illnesses believe in such alternative therapies to such an extent that they fail to seek treatment where necessary.  But aside from that obvious and indirect exception if there is any upside to things at all, there is no direct down side.

So what are the health benefits of magnetic bracelets - safe alternative medicine is only useful if it is really medicine. That is, it must actually work. Safety is the minimum standard for offering it to human patients, not the maximum for signing off on it as an effective treatment. And this applies to any ailment and indeed any type of treatment, be it curative or palliative.

But what about other ailments, besides arthritis? Do magnetic bracelets work for headaches? Certainly a study by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concluded that there was enough evidence to approve the use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Migraine sufferers. But this treatment involves high strength magnetic pulses from a machine, not an item of jewellery that is merely worn. The study showed that the treatment was not a cure for migraines, but it did reduce the severity and duration of the attacks. So if you ask does magnetic therapy work, the answer could well be yes. But it does not follow that magnetic bracelets also work.

And then there is copper. Copper has also been considered by some to have healing properties going back thousands of years. Indeed that might even have been the inspiration for fashioning copper into jewellery. But what are the health benefits of copper? Perhaps that question is best asked of those who have experience - in other words those who wear copper bracelets. If that is you, maybe you'd like to write in and tell us. Why do you wear copper bracelets? That at least is a question that can be answered by ordinary people, not on the basis of some scientific study, but backed only by personal experience.

But that still leaves us with the broader and deeper questions of what is a healing bracelet?

As we said before, if you ask a hundred different people, they'll each have their own answer. Like we said before, there are more answers than questions. The hard part is knowing which answers are right.