More than 4,000 years ago, the first to talk about the potential health benefits of magnets were ancient Greeks, Chinese and Egyptians, followed by alternative doctors in the Middle Ages. They were the ones who made magnetic therapy popular in those days.
But first, let's look at magnetic mattresses
Magnet-based therapy was very popular in Japan in the 20th century. Plasters containing small magnets were used by the elderly to treat pains. After 1970, static magnets started being promoted by famous athletes who claimed that magnetic therapy is efficient in treating sports-related injuries.
Magnets are now used in hospitals (the MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging, magnetic pulse fields for Parkinson and depression treatment, currently under further development and testing). But can a magnetic mattress cure back pain, for example?
Magnetic therapy is recognized as a form of alternative medicine by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, but that isn't to say that its medical benefits are also recognized by the medical community.
The main idea behind magnetic therapy is that, by attracting the iron in the blood and by relaxing capillary walls surrounding muscle and connective tissues, magnets increase blood flow to the area they cover.
Increased blood flow, oxygen and nutrients can help heal that area. But there are specialist who say that iron is bound to the hemoglobin in our blood cells and it cannot be affected by the presence of any magnetic field of a magnet in close proximity.
Intensified blood flow to a certain area, unfortunately, is quite difficult to measure. There are some doctors who say that commercially-available magnets found in jewelry or mattress toppers, for example, are too small to alter blood flow in a human body. There are other doctors who do recommend magnetic therapy to their patients. The one thing they all agree on is the lack of negative side effects of magnets.
You should not try magnetic therapy, though, before consulting his doctor, because there are serious contraindications in certain circumstances such as pregnancy, small babies or if you are wearing a pacemaker, a defibrillator, an insulin pump or any other implanted electornic-based medical device.
Gauss rating is a variable that describes the force of a magnet (the amount of magnetic energy in its core). The higher this number, the more powerful the magnet. For example, magnets on your fridge will have around 200 gauss rating, while the ones used in therapy have between 200 and 10,000.
If you buy a magnet mattress pad with 30 magnets of 2,500 gauss rating each, the magnetic energy of the pad will be 2,500, not 2,500 multiplied by 30. So don't believe manufacturers who say their mattresses have hundreds of thousands of gauss ratings, those are obvious exaggerations meant to persuade you of their products' healing power.
The gauss rating is not the only important factor in measuring a magnet's power but size is also important (a larger magnet with a lower gauss rating may be more powerful than a smaller magnet with a higher gauss rating). Both size and gauss ratings give a magnet its penetration power (how far its magnetic field will get into your body).
The greater the penetration power, in theory, the more healing power the product has. If the penetration power is low, then the magnetic therapy will prove ineffective, because the healing energy will not reach the source of the pain or illness.
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