A number of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders have reported that they experience less pain when wearing copper or magnetic bracelets. Such bracelets are often sold for £30 and £50 by the manufacturers who claim that their products relieve the pain by rebalancing the body's magnetic field or topping up depleted copper levels through the skin.
However a recent study conducted by researchers at York University suggests that the bracelets are useless and perform the same function as a placebo. The researchers studied the effect of four such devices among a group of 70 arthritic patients between 33 and 79 years of age and found no evidence that they are of any use. The study has been published in the journal PLOS One.
"People may be better off saving their money, or spending it on other complementary interventions such as dietary fish oils for example, which have far better evidence for effectiveness. Warning people who suspect they may have rheumatoid arthritis to consult their GP and seek early medical treatment, rather than placing faith in such devices, is also important in helping to avoid long-term joint damage resulting from uncontrolled inflammation", lead researcher Dr Stewart Richmond said.