Many people use products embedded with magnets based on anecdotal evidence, hoping for a non-invasive and drug-free cure to what ails them. But now, a biomedical engineering study has provided scientific proof stating that magnetic therapy is actually effective.
The study, led by Thomas Skalak, professor and chair of biomedical engineering at University of Virginia, was conducted on anesthetized rats.
"The FDA regulates specific claims of medical efficacy, but in general static magnetic fields are viewed as safe," Skalak said.
In the study, the researchers treated the hind paws of anesthetized rats with inflammatory agents in order to simulate tissue injury. Magnetic therapy was then applied to the paws.
The analysis indicated that magnets could significantly reduce swelling if applied immediately after tissue trauma.
Skalak said that since muscle bruising and joint sprains were the most common injuries worldwide, this discovery could have significant implications.
"If an injury doesn't swell, it will heal fasterand the person will experience less pain and better mobility," Skalak said.
The finding implies that magnets could be used much the way ice packs and compression are now used for everyday sprains, bumps, and bruises, but with more beneficial results.
A key to the success of magnetic therapy for tissue swelling is careful engineering of the proper field strength at the tissue location, a challenge in which most currently available commercial magnet systems fall short.