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Does magnetic therapy work?

It’s true that many forms of magnetic therapy are questionable. However, the research shows that for magnetic therapy to work requires a high degree of specificity and just slapping on a bipolar magnet or wearing magnetic jewellery is not at the cutting edge of this promising area of treatment for chronic pain.  So the question of does magnetic therapy work requires some big qualifications, such as what type of magnet (strength, size, bipolar, multipolar) and how is it used.

You have to look at the published research on magnetic therapy and speak to experienced health professionals who have extensive clinical experience using it on different types of conditions to answer this question. There are plenty of well meaning health professionals out there who are quick to judge but digging a little deeper, you quickly discover they have never experienced it, have little understanding of the science and rely on hear say.

Patient information is provided at the Lifestyle Pain Clinic

This is why Dianne Hermans, who has been a practicing physiotherapist for over 20 years, is an expert in this area. Dianne has treated thousand of cases using magnetic therapy over a ten year period and has presented at national and international conferences and trained hundreds of other health professionals. She has also recently completed a randomised controlled trial as part of a research masters at Griffith University looking at the effects of Quadrapolar magnets of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Dianne’s introduction to magnetic therapy goes back to neurologist Dr Robert Holcomb M.D., PhD. Dr Holcomb was a genius, a doctor, inventor and someone who could think outside the square who created an effective device out of what most people considered quasi-science. You see he took four common bipolar magnets and arranged them into a quadrapolar array and trialled them on patients. This was back in the mid 1980’s and the first patient he tested his new design on was a policeman with chronic low back pain from a bulging disc who promptly left his surgery with no pain. So that was the start of it.

You can watch some of the TV programs that reported on Dr Holcomb’s work on the following link.

Fifteen years later, Dianne met Dr Holcomb in 1999 and this began a whole new learning curve. Another 12 years down the track and in 2011, Dianne and her physiotherapists at the Lifestyle Pain Clinic are changing the lives of long term chronic pain sufferers. Today, Dianne still treats as a normal physiotherapist, but she often uses quadrapolar magnets or what we now refer to as Q magnets or neuromagnets as an adjunct in therapy.

The research and Dianne’s own clinical experience has proven to her that common bipolar magnets do very little when used for chronic pain. But Q magnets introduce magnetic field gradients and a whole new dimension to the therapeutics of static magnetic fields.

Dianne recently presented at the local Redlands Fibromyalgia Support Group, started by local Debbie Burns. Since then a number of the members have purchased their own Q magnets after they experienced significant pain relief. You can read one of the case studies for the treatment of fibromyalgia here. After returning to the group a few months later, the local Bayside Bulletin investigated the outcomes and journalist, Linda Muller wrote a story that you can read online.

So back to the question, does magnetic therapy work? The answer is yes, IF you are using the right type of magnet with the right treatment protocols. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is another recent advancement in magnetic therapy that is showing promise for the treatment of chronic pain.

When you look at the history of magnetic therapy it gives you a better understanding of how different types of magnets came on the market and how this influenced the perception of it in the minds of health professionals to this day.

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