Study Finds Magnetic Therapy Really Works

Can placing magnets on your skin cure aches, pains, and sprains? So-called "magnetic therapy" is often considered to be a hoax under the guise of "alternative medicine." But now a study by biomedical engineering researchers at the University of Virginia has found that magnets may really provide biological healing. The scientific evidence for the controversial therapy may lead to mainstream use of magnets for athletes, the elderly, and others.

Magnetic Bracelet Used for Magnetic TherapyMagnetic Bracelet Used for Magnetic Therapy

Thomas Skalak, professor and chair of biomedical engineering at UV, has been studying the effectiveness of magnetic therapy for several years. Skalak is an expert in microcirculation research--the study of blood flow through tiny blood vessels. With this background, he began investigating whether or not magnets increase blood flow - one of the major claims made by companies that sell magnets.

Until now, many critics of magnetic therapy have believed that the magnetic field generated by medical magnets could only reach a few millimeters into the skin - not enough to affect the blood vessels. People who claimed to have felt better after using magnetic field were thought to be experiencing a placebo effect. Nevertheless, the US magnetic therapy industry sells more than $300 million per year of "pseudoscience" magnets.

Now, Skalak and his team have shown in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Physiology that a magnetic field - created by magnets with a strength of 70 milliTesla, or about 10 times the strength of refrigerator magnets - could cause blood vessels with dilated walls to relax and constrict, which increases blood flow through the vessels.

Increasing blood flow could be used to reduce the swelling of muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues, Skalak explains. Swelling is a very common side effect of minor and major injuries, such as muscle bruising and joint sprains.

"If an injury doesn't swell, it will heal faster--and the person will experience less pain and better mobility," says Skalak. If used immediately after an injury, the magnets could reduce the swelling of sprains, bumps, and bruises much like ice packs and compression are used - but with more beneficial results.

The researchers' experiment demonstrated the effectiveness of the magnets on rats. They first treated the hind paws of the rats with an inflammatory agent that caused tissue swelling, and then applied magnets to find that the swelling subsided. The team also took quantitative measurements of the rats' blood vessel diameter before and after the magnetic therapy to confirm the results.

Skalak and his team are supported by a five-year, $875,000 grant from the National Institute of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The researchers plan to continue studying the optimal field strength of the magnets at specific tissue locations - a precision that most commercially available magnets don't currently have.

Via: MedGadget

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger

Jan 7, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

Why do you have to have a naked women in your article?

Since I'm in my 50's and several of my relatives are in their 70's and 80's,
I know a lot of people who could benefit from this article, but am reluctant to trust
you or send it out, because of the naked woman picture. I find it offensive and disrespectful. You are not peddling sex.

Jan 13, 2008
by Lisa Zyga


The picture was used for the same reason it was used in the ad - it catches many people's attention...But I appreciate your feedback, and if you think people interested in this subject would rather have a different picture, then you're probably I changed it :)



Nov 23, 2008
by Anonymous

Interested in Site Content

Hello. I own and operate a company by the name of Beads-N-Style. We design and sell bracelets and necklaces made from magnetic beads and clasps. Would you mind if we linked to this post under the “Links of Interest” portion of our website?

Thank you!


Dec 1, 2008
by Anonymous

Great Article

This is great information and will really help to keep people informed.

Jan 5, 2009
by Anonymous

Wellness & Magnetic Therapy

Great article! I was just researching the same info for my company - Discovering Family Wellness! The original article about Thomas Skalak and his research can be found at: There's also an interesting mp3 file you can download there.

I'm adding some pages about my research on the history of magnetic therapy usage, as well as the current research on these promising alternatives therapy, if you want to check out my site it's

Linda Karchner

Jan 12, 2009
by Anonymous

Magnetic Therapy

There are lots of great products on the market and one of the best can be obtained from

Feb 5, 2009
by Anonymous

The REAL pioneers of magnetic therapy

If you want to have the best information on magnetic therapy and how to use it safely (it is potentially dangerous if used incorrectly) and effectively, you need to read about the research of Albert Roy Davis and Walter C. Rawls, Jr., the real pioneers of magnetic therapy. Davis was the first scientist in the world to discover that the North and South poles of magnetism are two separate and distinct energies with opposite effects. From this day forward, whenever you come accross the statement that the two poles are different, or that you should only use the North pole energy for healing, you will know where that information really came from. The Albert Roy Davis Research Laboratory.

Many magnet therapy companies claim to be "experts" or "pioneers" in magnetic therapy, and that simply isn't true. When you read about the history of magnetic therapy on their websites, they will often either fail to mention Davis and Rawls at all, mention Davis very briefly and move on to other researchers, or they'll abbreviate Davis' name and conveniently misspell it by writing Dr. A.R. Davies or Dr. Roy Davies. One site I found described his agricultural experiments with magnetism (from his first book, "Magnetism and Its Effects on the Living System") and described him as "a farmer named Davis". He was a scientist, not "a farmer".

I can't stand it when people try to steal credit and recognition from great researchers and pass it off as their own work, like many did to Nikola Tesla. Now that the truth has been separated from the fiction, here is the Albert Roy Davis website.