The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
People with implantable medical devices such as heart pacemakers, defibrillators, insulin pumps, or hepatic artery infusion pumps should avoid exposure to magnets, as magnets may affect the functioning of some equipment.
Some publications discourage the use of static magnets or electromagnetic field therapy during pregnancy or in people with myasthenia gravis or bleeding disorders, and suggest that magnets may cause dizziness, nausea, or prolong poor wound healing or bleeding. Scientific research is limited in these areas.
Magnet therapy is not advised as the sole treatment for potentially serious medical conditions and should not delay the time to diagnosis or treatment with more proven methods. Patients are advised to discuss magnet therapy with a qualified healthcare provider before starting treatment.
This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Heather Boon, BScPhm, PhD (University of Toronto); William Collinge, PhD, MPH (Collinge & Associates); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); David S. Lee, PharmD (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); Catherine DeFranco Kirkwood, MPH, CCCJS-MAC, (MD Anderson Cancer Center); Adrienne Rogers, MD (Boston Medical Center); Sarah Taylor, PharmD (University of Pittsburgh); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Minney Varghese, BS (Northeastern University); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Alfano AP, Taylor AG, Foresman PA, et al. Static magnetic fields for treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med 2001;7(1):53-64.
Bassett CA, Valdes MG, Hernandez E. Modification of fracture repair with selected pulsing electromagnetic fields. J Bone Joint Surg Am 1982;64(6):888-895.
Borsalino G, Bagnacani M, Bettati E, et al. Electrical stimulation of human femoral intertrochanteric osteotomies. Double-blind study. Clin Orthop Relat Res 1988;(237):256-263.
Carter R, Aspy CB, Mold J. The effectiveness of magnet therapy for treatment of wrist pain attributed to carpal tunnel syndrome. J Fam Pract 2002 Jan;51(1):38-40.
Colbert AP, Markov MS, Banerji M, et al. Magnetic mattress pad use in patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized double-blind pilot study. J Back Musculoskeletal Rehab 1999;13:19-31.
Collacott EA, Zimmerman JT, White DW, et al. Bipolar permanent magnets for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a pilot study. JAMA 2000 Mar 8;283(10):1322-5.
Dexter D, Jr. Magnetic therapy is ineffective for the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Wis Med J 1997;96(3):35-37.
Dobie RA, Hoberg KE, Rees TS. Electrical tinnitus suppression: a double-blind crossover study. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1986;95(3 Pt 1):319-323.
Eccles NK. A critical review of randomized controlled trials of static magnets for pain relief. J Altern Complement Med 2005 Jun;11(3):495-509.
Ernst E. Complementary or alternative therapies for osteoarthritis. Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol 2006 Feb;2(2):74-80.
Foley-Nolan D, Barry C, Coughlan RJ, et al. Pulsed high frequency (27MHz) electromagnetic therapy for persistent neck pain. A double blind, placebo-controlled study of 20 patients. Orthopedics 1990;13(4):445-451.
McCarthy CJ, Callaghan MJ, Oldham JA. Pulsed electromagnetic energy treatment offers no clinical benefit in reducing the pain of knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2006 Jun 15;7:51.
Sutbeyaz ST, Sezer N, Koseoglu BF. The effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields in the treatment of cervical osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial. Rheumatol Int 2006 Feb;26(4):320-4.
Weintraub MI, Wolfe GI, Barohn RA, et al. Static magnetic field therapy for symptomatic diabetic neuropathy: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2003;84(5):736-746.
Wolsko PM, Eisenberg DM, Simon LS, et al. Double-blind placebo-controlled trial of static magnets for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: results of a pilot study. Altern Ther Health Med 2004 Mar-Apr;10(2):36-43.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children,
never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.