The use of magnets to treat illness has been described historically in many civilizations, and was suggested by ancient Egyptian priests and in the 4th century BC by Hippocrates. The 15th century Swiss physician and alchemist Paracelsus theorized that magnets may be able to attract diseases and leach them from the body. In modern times, magnetic fields play an important role in Western medicine, including use for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), pulsed electromagnetic fields, and experimental magnetic stimulatory techniques.
Many different types, sizes, and strengths of magnets are available. Magnet therapy may be administered by a healthcare professional, or used by individuals on their own. Constant (static) magnets or pulsed electromagnetic fields may be applied to areas of the body affected by illness, or to the entire body. Devices exist which can implanted in the body or used externally to deliver pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. Self-adhesive magnetic strips, foils, belts and bracelets are available for self-treatment. Magnetic jewelry such as earrings and necklaces, shoe inserts, mattress pads, and magnet-conditioned water are commercially sold. Magnet wraps are available for thumbs, wrists, knees, thighs, ankles, elbows, shoulders, shins, back, and head, as well as for animals such as dogs, cats, and horses. Lodestones are rocks that may possess natural magnetic properties, and are sometimes sold as healthcare products.
The magnetic field from permanent (static) magnets is different from electromagnetic radiation and may have different effects on the body. Scientific evidence suggests that pulsed electromagnetic fields may be useful in the healing of non-union tibia fractures. However, medical uses of stand-alone magnets (static magnetic fields) have not been sufficiently studied, and benefits for any specific condition have not been proven scientifically.
Alternating current (AC) sinusoidal waveform, bioelectromagnetics, bioenergy informatics principles, bioenergy therapy, chronobiology, electromagnetic field therapy, electromagnetism, gauss (G) units, lodestones, magnetic field therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), pulsed electromagnetic fields, pulsed signal therapy (PSTTM), scintigraphy, static magnets, tai ki biomagnets.
This monograph does not include an evidence review of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which has been studied as a technique to diagnosis or treat Parkinson's disease.