The affect of magnetism on the human body has intrigued the human mind since time immemorial. References to the practice of Magnet Therapy are found in the chronicles of most of the ancient civilizations.
In India, the practice of Magnet therapy dates back to the Vedic times (4000 BC). The ancient Indians employed magnets for curing several diseases. Several ancient Vedic scriptures, like Atherva veda, give details (mantras) for the use of magnets in the treatment of various diseases. There are also mantras for the use of magnets to regulate menstrual pain and bleeding as well as sterility. The vedas also provide detailed guidelines for the effective use of north and south poles of magnets for therapeutic purposes.
The earliest reference to the healing properties of magnets is found in the 800 BC Greek chronicles. The Greeks considered magnetism to be some kind of â€˜mineral soulâ€™ which could help preserve the vitality of humans. Aristotle (384 BC â€“ 322 BC), a Greek philosopher and a polymath, was convinced that headaches and joint pains could be treated with the help of magnets. Other Greek scholars like Plato and Homer have also given details of the healing properties of magnets in their works.
Chinese are also known to use Magnet therapy since time immemorial.
Ancient Egyptians, not only practiced magnet therapy, but also used magnetism to prevent degeneration of the mummies buried in the pyramids. It is said that the design of the pyramids is also based on some laws of magnetism to enhance the strategic magnetic field around the mummies.
The therapeutic use of magnets continued in the east but declined in the west over the centuries and was almost forgotten during the dark ages (6th to 13th century). Magnetic therapy made reappearance during the renaissance (14th to 17th century) which is said to be the period of renewed learning and enlightenment in the west.
It was during this period that Magnet-therapy saw resurgence to its rightful place in the Health-care area.
Paracelsus (1493-1541), a Swiss alchemist and physician, can rightfully be called the father of the modern Magnet therapy. He is the first person known to carry out systematic experiments on the effect of magnetic waves on human body and record the results thereof. Incidentally, he is also considered as the father of the modern medicine.
Paracelsus was the first person, to state that the stars and magnets emit a subtle force, which saturates the space and influences the human mind and body.
Observations of Paracelsus inspired scientists to conduct bio-magnetic experiments on plants, human beings and animals. Uan Helmont (1577-1664 A.D.) propounded the theory that human body radiates magnetic fluids which may be guided by the individualâ€™s willpower to influence the minds and bodies of others. This is known as the doctrine of â€˜Animal magnetismâ€™.
Richard Mead, of England, highlighted the fact that the planets do not only affect the tides of the oceans but also the air, and so fluids in the human body would also be altered by their influence. He published his work in 1704.
Franz Anton Mesmer (1766), an Austrian doctor, built further on the works of both these men.
At the end of the 19th century, Daniel David Palmer, opened a school, in the state of Iowa USA, for the study the therapeutic qualities of magnets.
Slowly, but steadily, the number of people who, like the ancients, started believing/ discovering the healing properties of magnet, increased. Some doctors with strong convictions, continued to work with magnets. Two of the more prominent of these practitioners were, Doctor Birch of England who, in around 1810, used magnets for healing bones. The second practitioner was a German Doctor called Kreft, who was convinced that magnetic therapy could cure rheumatism and some nerve problems. According to him, magnet therapy could help calm or eliminate involuntary muscle convulsions.
Dr Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy, and Dr F.A. Mesmer did remarkable work in this field during the 18th century. They discovered that a number of ailments could be cured by stroking patientsâ€™ body in different patterns with magnets.
The conviction of the pioneers that magnetic waves have a far reaching affect on human body got a scientific boost In the twentieth century when it was found that those astronauts who stayed in the outer space in the absence of the earthâ€™s magnetic field for prolonged periods had an adverse affect on their bone density which was corrected by creating artificial magnetic field on the space station, made the modern medical fraternity take note of this major phenomenon.
In 1997, Dr. Carlos Valbona of the Baylor College of Medicine, published a study that reported a significant decrease in the arthritic joint and muscle pain of patients treated using permanent magnets vis-Ã -vis those who were treated by conventional methods.
Dr. Michael Weintraub of New York Medical College has shown that those diabetic patients who use magnetic insoles have much less foot pain as compared to those patients who do not use such insoles.
Agatha P. Colbert, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA. Have concluded "Sleeping on a magnetic mattress pad provides statistically significant and clinically relevant pain relief and sleep improvement in subjects with Fibromyalgia. No adverse reactions were noted during the 16-week trial period."
There are numerous other clinical trials conducted in Italy, Japan Russia and the USA that prove the efficacy of magnetic therapy.
In India, a number of Magnet-therapists, have proved beyond doubt that magnet is highly useful in healing painful afflictions like cervical spondylitis, sciatica, rheumatism, eczema, urinary disorders, etc.
The World Health Organization may not have formally acknowledged the therapeutic qualities of Magnets but has confirmed that the type and Gauss strength of magnets used in magnetic therapy offer no health hazard.
The magnet therapy is here to stay as a simple and effective discipline of alternate medicine