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Magnetic therapy: for and against

Mainstream doctors and orthodox scientists have tended to be sceptical about magnetic therapy. A piece of 1991 research at by physical therapist Benjamin Gelfand at Lenox Hill Hospital was typical of their approach. Though not a formal scientific study with a control group, he tracked 24 patients who suffered from bursitis (an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac near a tendon) or tendonitis (an inflammation of the tendon itself). The patients wore magnets for 12 hours a day over a six week period.

The results were disappointing. None of the patients reported any significant pain relief  and Gelfand reached the conclusion that that the subject wasn’t even worthy or further research. But this has not prevented the development of a growing body of anecdotal evidence.

Professional golf player Jim Colbert was forced to give up the sport because of the debilitating effects of the chronic back pain from which he suffered. That is, until another golfer suggested that he try magnetic therapy. He was quoted as saying “When you have the kind of back I have, you try anything.” And try it he did! The results were so amazing and successful that four years later he was back on the professional gold circuit. But those who watched him in action knew that he had several magnets strapped to his back while on the golf course. And at night he slept on a magnetic mattress. Perhaps this explains why he has won eight PGA Tours, 20 Champions Tours and five other senior wins.

It has been reported that Ryan Vermillion, sports trainer for the Miami Dolphins has treated quarterbacks Craig Erickson and Dan Marino and others using magnets and saw positive improvements after the treatment started. Vermillion was quoted as saying “you can actually see the swelling decrease faster.” 

In another widely quoted case a Massachusetts woman called Gail Banta used magnet therapy to treat bursitis (swelling caused by a build up of sac fluid) in her hips, as well arthritis, which she had suffered from for eleven years. She also suffered from a neuro-muscular ailment called fibromyalgia which causes pain but the cause of which remains a medical mystery

She had been heavily reliant on painkillers (12 tablets a day) until she heard about magnet therapy from her husband, who in turn had learned about it from a Canadian hunting guide. The treatment itself involved sleeping on a magnetic pad. Once again, the results were astonishing. She reported the disappearance of the back pains after only one week and she was off the painkillers in two!

Needless to say, she was sold on the concept. And like Victor Kiam’s proverbial quip “I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company,” Banta went on to become a distributor for the Japanese company that sold the magnets in the USA. Such products are now widely available in any good magnetic products store, not only in the US but also the UK.