I wrote an article a little while ago about magnet therapy and their benefit- Actually, their lack of benefits. It’s a 5 billion dollar a year industry but there are next to no studies that have shown any clinical results. Here are the results of a study just conducted by a group of researchers from the University of York. This was the first tightly controlled study to check the effectiveness of both copper and magnetic wrist bracelets for relieving pain due to arthritis. The researchers had this to say ‘they are useless’. There was apparently no easing of pain or stiffness. They had 45 patients who tested copper bracelets, two different types of magnetic bracelets and one bracelet that was demagnetized (sham bracelet). According to one arthritis charity, they felt it was better to keep your money in your pockets rather than wasting it on these bracelets. Each person in the trial was over 50 years old and had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. They had to wear the bracelets for a 16 week period. In the journal of complementary therapies, the researchers stated that there was no decrease in pain or stiffness and no increase in function. The three things you would want if you had just gone out and bought one! The person in charge of this study, Stewart Richmond, a research fellow from the department of health sciences said that the only other randomized controlled trial done on copper bracelets was back in the 1970s. This is rather eye opening especially when you consider that magnetic bracelets can cost up to $100 each. The industry in America alone is worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year! However I remember my grandmother used to swear by her copper bracelet. She could not function without it she used to tell me. So this sis where we look at he effects of ‘the placebo’. The placebo effect is well documented and I will be writing about this in a future post as well the nacebo effect-the placebos’ opposite. According to Mr. Richmond, the perceived benefits people have are simply due to psychological placebo effects. When people buy them they are in a great deal of pain and when this pain eases they attribute this to their wrist bracelets. Their studies have shown that the magnetic and copper bracelets have no benefits whatsoever over placebo wrist straps that don’t contain copper or magnets. He goes on to say that the bracelets are sold to elderly people who are generally in pain and vulnerable. At the institution for arthritis research, Jane Tadman can’t understand why so many people have copper bracelets when there is absolutely no research that supports any benefits for using them. She agrees with Mr. Richmond in that without any scientific research or indeed evidence that shows any benefits of using them save your money! If you do suffer from arthritis I can tell you this; certain therapies have been studied and have proven to have had positive effects on relieving pain, stiffness and increasing function. • Nutrition. Getting the right nutritional advice is imperative. You could be eating a diet that, unbeknown to you, is inflaming your condition! There are many foods and natural remedies that can also relieve your condition. These factors must be addressed. • Exercise. Again, it is well documented that regular exercise is of great benefit to arthritis. The joints need motion. The fluid in the joints which is the joints lubricant is only produced by motion. Therefore, if you don’t move the joint you don’t produce synovial fluid which is your lubricant. Then you are stuck in a downward spiral because if you don’t move it you don’t produce lubricant and if you don’t produce this, it hurts to move your joint. And if it hurts to move your joint you refrain from moving it-and so on and so on.
• Acupuncture. Here is another well documented therapy that works. The world health organization has recognized acupuncture as an effective treatment for arthritis.