At the end of 2004 results from a study on arthritis patients in the UK was published in the British Medical Journal.
It stated that it had found positive pain reliving results using a magnetic bracelet. This was an independent study, which has been widely reported in publications and on the Internet.
The study did not name the product but it was the Bioflow Magnetic Bracelet that was used and until now it has only been available from sources in Europe. Now it is in the USA for the first time, which gives American consumers a higher level of protection if the product does not live up to expectations.
In the study 194 men and women aged 45 to 80 suffering pain caused by osteoarthritis of the hip and knee were split into three groups.
Two groups were given non-magnetic or low magnetic bracelets. They felt little change in their condition.
But those given a Bioflow magnetic bracelet felt a significant reduction in pain. Changes in pain were recorded using a recognized pain-scoring scale.
No one in the study knew which type of bracelet they were wearing.
The Arthritis Research Campaign of Great Britain funded the study
"Pain from osteoarthritis of the hip and knee does decrease when wearing magnetic bracelets" researchers said. They added "the magnetic bracelet appears to be free of side affects, unlike pain relievers, which are associated with gastrointestinal problems and, for certain drugs, heart attacks and strokes".
"Magnets are appealing because osteoarthritis is a chronic condition for which our treatments are unsatisfactory" Dr Tim Harlow, head of the research team said. "On the strength of the evidence I am prepared to recommend these static magnets to people with osteoarthritis".
The study took place over a 12-week period at Peninsular Hospital, Plymouth, England
The BMJ insists on a high level of integrity in any trial they publish. For full details of the report go to www.bmj.com
While the FDA in the United States has not approved the use of static magnets for the relief of magnetic pain they do not warn against it. In a 1999 study of patients it was found 18% had used magnetic or copper devices to relieve pain. It was estimated then that Americans spent $500 million per year on such products making this the second most popular alternative therapy for pain relief after chiropractic.
The FDA goes on to say that in the studies that did find benefits from magnetic therapy, many have shown those benefits very quickly. This suggests that if a magnet does work, it should not take very long for the user to start noticing the effect. Therefore, people may wish to purchase magnets with a 30-day return policy and return the product if they do not get satisfactory results within 1 to 2 weeks.