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Magnetic Therapy being used by Health Professionals

Magnetic Therapy

By Ray Cralle, RPT

A new tool is available to patients and rehabilitation specialists in the United States, thanks to the growing demands of alternative medicine.

Most everyone today is aware of some of the changes in medicine, especially as it relates to finding cost-effective means of providing care and treating ailments. Clinicians in this country found "magnetic therapy" a reimbursable medical expense in Germany, Israel, Japan and forty-five other countries and became intrigued with its possibilities for American health care.

Early manufacturers produced the familiar magnet with north and south poles, but growing numbers of investigators have realized the importance of using only one pole (usually north or negative). This allows for a much stronger magnetic field to be placed against the area of pain, which research seems to indicate the need for, especially in chronic pain or overuse symptoms.

The Office of Alternative Medicine of the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C., has just awarded over a million dollar grant to Ann Gill Taylor, RN, Ph.D. at the University of Virginia, to study the effects of magnets in chronic pain. Dr. Gill Joins a list of doctors and scientists currently interested in this European phenomenon. Prestigious centers such as John Hopkins, Baylor College of Medicine and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are studying magnetic therapy.

I first heard of magnets when a longtime friend and hospital director asked me to go to Dublin, Ireland in 1993 to meet Austin Darragh. MD, a world renowned researcher, who had been using magnets to treat pain. The joy of finding something so simple, yet so effective in helping people relieve pain still fascinates me.

I have practiced for over twenty-four years and have never been as impressed by a technology so simple and effective in helping arthritis, back pain and even fibromyalgia (chronic fatigue). Just to name a few, as safely and cost-effectively as unipole (negative) magnets.

I am convinced that it will soon be commonplace to treat headaches, sports injuries and even allergies with magnets, and that managed care will find it on the top of its list of worthwhile expenses.

Ray Cralle, RPT is a registered physical therapist at Cralle Physical Therapy Services.

Source: The Senior News, April, 1997

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Magnets attracting health-care attention

By Emily Gest, Daily News Staff Writer

Who knows who would be sporting magnets now if Hideki Irabu had lived up to his $12.8 million billing.

The long-sleeve shirt that the former Yankees pitcher wore concealed the newest craze among health and body-conscious Westerners: dozens of small magnets taped to his wrists, arms, chest and back at pressure points. And even though they didn't seem to work for Irabu, the idea behind the magnets is simple, if unproven: They stimulate magnetic fields in the body, improving circulation, and promoting faster healing and general good health. Magnets have been popular in Japan for two or three decades, said Hirofumi Murabayashi, a spokesman for the Japanese Consulate. "They are usually available at most ordinary drug stores without any prescription," he said. Kota Ishijima, Irabu's translator, says the ball-player has sported magnets for several years. "He changes [their position] every day, according to where he feels stresses within his body," Ishijima said. "It is supposed to relieve microscopic muscular tension and opens microscopic blood vessels for better blood flow."

Sean P. Gallagher, a physical therapist at Performing Arts Physical Therapy in Manhattan, said he often uses magnets in conjunction with accupressure points on the body to relieve soreness and swelling. Few scientific studies have been conducted to show how or whether magnets work, but two major universities are planning them.

Dr. Steven Abramson, chairman of the department of rheumatology and medicine at the Hospital of Joint Diseases in Manhattan, says that animal research shows that "by altering magnetic fields, you can alter blood flow or reduce the amount of inflammation by blocking the movement of inflamed cells." Magnets are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr.Alan Steiner of Denville, N.J., who calls himself a holistic dentist, said he doubted the medicinal benefits of magnets when he heard about them from a patient two years ago. Then he tried them.

"I was told I had arthritis in the neck, and I don't have it anymore," he said.

Steiner now offers magnets to patients who suffer from migraine headaches or TMJ (temporomandibullar joint disorder), a painful jaw problem, and is a distributor for a California magnet company.

Whether magnets have physical benefits remains an open question, but there is some evidence of how they may work.

"We need really good scientific inquiry, not just into clinical improvement, but long term, 20 or 30 years later," said Dr. Patricia Muehsam, who studies bioelectricmagnetics at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "The body is exquisitely sensitive, even to weak electromagnetic fields; even one weaker than a hair dryer can affect enzymes in a test tube."

Source: NY Daily News, Aug. 3, 1997

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Opposites attract Doctors who spurned magnet therapy are paying heed

By Bob Condor

Here is a typical story about biomagnetic therapy: A local doctor, who happens to be open-minded about certain less conventional health therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic, has been taking his 12-year-old daughter to see an orthopedic specialist for pain in her elbow. Turns out the daughter has a bone-growth irregularity, and the specialist recommends allowing the bones in the joint to develop more fully before taking corrective action.

About the same time, the father/physician has been talking with a former colleague about magnet therapy. He hears that magnets increase blood circulation to an area and boost the number of red blood cells, thanks to the interaction between an electro-magnetic field and electrolytes like sodium and potassium in the bloodstream.

There might be a catch. The colleague's wife is involved with a Japanese multilevel marketing firm that sells therapeutic magnet products. The colleague provides some product samples, along with a thick stack of translated research literature, which "has been mostly done in Russia."

The physician is skeptical but decides to try a magnet wrap on his daughter's elbow.

"Her pain started to decrease almost immediately," he recalled. "Within a few hours it was practically gone. At first, her elbow would start hurting again if she stopped using the magnet. Gradually, over a few weeks, the pain would go away and stayed away.

"Does magnet therapy work? Does it have a scientific basis? I'm not sure, but I know it helped my daughter."

Anecdotes abound about biomagnetic therapy for pain relief. It's estimated that about 20 golfers on the PGA Senior Tour wouldn't be able to compete each week without magnets attached with elastic wraps, Velcro, belts or medical tape attached to knees, backs, elbows, necks, hips and other body areas.

Jim Colbert, one of the circuit's big winners, credits his success to wide-strip magnets he wears on his back. He also sleeps on a magnetic mattress product, which is typically fabric-covered foam padding with the magnets sewn inside. He said his back pain used to sideline him for a good part of the golf season. Now he hasn't missed a day, and keeps ringing up prize money.


Chi Chi Rodriguez, another popular senior player, has been using a magnetic mattress since a trip to Japan some 30 years ago. Magnets are widely used for pain and overall well-ness in that country, as evidenced by the dozens of tiny ones taped to the body of New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabo.

Pro football players are reporting quicker recovery from injury with the use of magnets. Ronnie Loll, the former all-pro safety with the Oakland Raiders, is a spokesman for Bioflex, one of several American magnet therapy companies chasing the Japanese manufacturer Nikken.

"I was willing to try anything within league limits to relieve pain during my playing days," said Loll, now a broadcaster with the Fox net-work. "But, believe me, I would not have kept using magnets if they didn't work."

Many doctors have doubted that the experiences of such pro athletes can be replicated in clinical trials. But one controlled, randomized study published in the Archives of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine last November is beginning to change some minds. In the experiment, which involved 50 people suffering from pain years after a bout with polio, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found significantly reduced symptoms among subjects using magnet devices with power slightly stronger than refrigerator stick-ons. The results were corrected for any placebo effect.

Of course, more studies are needed to determine if greater magnetic intensity (called gauss) might bring more results, whether the pain relief is temporary or lasting, and whether there is any drop-off in effectiveness if magnets are used constantly.

Even most critics admit there is no physical harm in trying magnets for most people, though there are questions about whether a magnetic field can disrupt pacemakers, insulin pumps, drug patches and pregnancy.

Fiscal risk is another matter. There's little investment at the lower end of magnet products, say $20 or less. It gets more expensive if you want a special bracelet for wrist or elbow pain ($150 range) or a magnetic pad for your bed (about $500 and up).

"For some people with pain symptoms, magnets are not only the best treatment but the least expensive one," said Dr. Julian Whitaker, co-author of "The Pain Relief Breakthrough: The Power of Magnets." (Little, Brown and company). "Most anyone with back pain should benefit from using them."

Whitaker says magnets can be equally beneficial for arthritis, menstrual cramps. carpal tunnel syndrome and various sports injuries. His book details the history of magnet therapy, With its roots in China (where it is still used by some acupuncturists), India and Egypt.

He explained magnets are not respected by American doctors because there are few U.S. studies confirming results. One obstacle is the magnetic fields can't be patented, so any company wishing to prove that magnets work - at considerable expense if government endorsement is the goal - only does the heavy lifting for a host of competitors.

"I think magnets have potential to work for cancer and other diseases, maybe autoimmune disorders," said Whitaker. "I don't know how the mechanisms will work, but think it can be effective."

Source: Chicago Tribune, Thursday March 12, 1998

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A Modern Definition of Qi

By Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming

It is important that you know about the progress that has been made by modern science in the study of Qi. This will keep you from getting stuck in the ancient concepts and level of understanding.

In ancient China, people had very little knowledge of electricity. They only knew from acupuncture that when a needle was inserted into the acupuncture cavities, some kind of energy other than heat was produced which often caused a shocking or a tickling sensation. It was not until the last few decades, when the Chinese people were more acquainted with electromagnetic science, that they began to recognize that this energy circulating in the body, which they called Qi, might be the same thing as what today's science calls "bioelectricity."

We must look at what modern Western science has discovered about bioelectromagnetic energy. Many bioelectricity-related reports have been published, and frequently the results are closely related to what is experienced in Chinese Qigong training and medical science. For example, during the electrophysiological research of the 1960's, several investigators discovered that bones are piezoelectric; that is, when they are stressed, mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy in the form of electric current. This might explain one of the practices of Marrow Washing Qigong in which the stress on the bones and muscles is increased in certain ways to increase the Qi circulation.

It is understood now that the human body is constructed of many different electrically conductive materials, and that it forms a living electromagnetic field and circuit. Electromagnetic energy is continuously being generated in the human body through the biochemical reaction in food and air assimilation, and circulated by the electromotive forces (EMF) generated within the body.

In addition, you are constantly being affected by external electromagnetic fields such as that of the earth, or the electrical fields generated by clouds. When you practice Chinese medicine or Qigong, you need to be aware of these outside factors and take them into account.

Countless experiments have been conducted in China, Japan, and other countries to study how external magnetic or electrical fields can affect and adjust the body's Qi field. Many acupuncturists use magnets and electricity in their treatments. They attach a magnet to the skin over a cavity and leave it there for a period of time. The magnetic field gradually affects the Qi circulation in that channel. Alternatively, they insert needles into cavities and then run an electric current through the needle to reach the Qi channels directly. Although many researchers have claimed a degree of success in their experiments, none has been able to publish any detailed and convincing proof of the results, or give a good explanation of the theory behind the experiment. As with many other attempts to explain the How and Why of acupuncture, conclusive proof is elusive, and many unanswered questions remain. Of course, this theory is quite new, and it will take more study and research before it is verified and completely understood.

Much of the research on the body's electrical field relates to acupuncture. For example, Dr. Robert O. Becker, author of The Body Electric, reports that the conductivity of the skin is much higher at acupuncture cavities, and that it is now possible to locate them precisely by measuring the skin's conductivity. Many of these reports prove that the acupuncture, which has been done in China for thousands of years is reasonable and scientific.

Although the link between the theory of The Body Electric and the Chinese theory of Qi is becoming more accepted and better proven, there are still many questions to be answered. For example, how can the mind lead Qi (electricity)? How, actually, does the mind generate an EMF (electromotive force) to circulate the electricity in the body? How is the human electromagnetic field affected by the multitude of other electric fields that surround us, such as radio wiring or electrical appliances? How can we readjust our electromagnetic fields and survive in outer space or on other planets where the magnetic field is completely different from the earth's? You can see that the future of Qigong and bioelectric science is a challenging and exciting one. It is about time that we started to use modern technology to understand the inner energy world which has been for the most part ignored by Western society.

Dr. Yang has been involved in Chinese Gongfu since 1961 and has more than thirty years of instructional experience. Dr. Yang has published twenty-four books and twenty-eight videotapes on the martial arts and Qigong.

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Doctors, Psychiatrists Turning to Magnets

Dr. Jane Murray isn't ready to prescribe magnet therapy for any of her patients just yet. But that day could be coming.

"I hear testimonials from people right and left," said Murray, a family physician who employs both traditional and complementary therapies at the Sastun Center, a clinic in Mission, Kan. "I don't disbelieve them at all. But I don't know yet how to prescribe magnet therapy."

Magnets have a long history as medical devices. Cleopatra is reported to have worn a magnetic lodestone on her forehead in an attempt to forestall the aging process. For decades, magnets have occupied a place among alternative treatments, alongside herbs and acupuncture. Along the way, they also have become big business. Billions of dollars worth of medical magnets are sold each year, over the Web and in Tupperware-style home parties.

Yet as they've gained adherents, medical magnets also have fallen into disrepute among many medical professionals.

"A lot of fly-by-nighters started promoting magnetics for all sorts of ailments," said Abraham Blechman, an associate professor in orthodontics at Columbia University's School of Dental and Oral Surgery. He has experimented with magnets and uses them regularly in his New York practice.

A couple of years ago, the Federal Trade Commission disciplined some companies for making unsubstantiated claims on Web sites about magnets' power to cure AIDS, cancer, liver disease and other conditions.

"Magnetics in general got a bad reputation," Blechman said. "There are many medical people who don't believe any of the claims being made."

However, he noted, that is slowly changing.

"There are more and more uses of it being promoted with good scientific background," he said. "It's gradually being accepted."

Several controlled clinical studies conducted in the past few years suggest that magnets may effectively treat some disorders. And a few health-care providers are routinely using magnets for a host of conditions.

Blechman, for example, has used magnets for years with orthodontic patients to move teeth and to accelerate new bone growth. Some of his faculty colleagues at Columbia's medical school are using magnets experimentally to reduce pain among people who've had coronary artery bypass procedures, he said.

A small number of studies have found magnets, either "permanent" magnets or electromagnets, to be effective in relieving certain kinds of pain and hastening wound-healing. Perhaps most significantly, electromagnets are being used experimentally at several university medical schools to treat depression. The procedure is known as transcranial magnetic stimulation.

"That's extremely exciting," Murray said. "I think there is clearly something powerful about the human energy field and its interaction with the energy in the world -- electromagnetic, biochemical, and the energy we get from other people and plants and animals."

In transcranial magnetic stimulation, a coil is held next to the patient's forehead and a pulsating electrical current passes through the coil, generating a magnetic field. That, in turn, creates a small electrical current in the region of the brain called the left prefrontal cortex. That is the area of brain thought to be underactive in depressed people.

Three studies have compared transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a procedure in which electricity is applied directly to the entire brain. ECT is effective against depression, although it often causes short-term memory loss and other temporary cognitive problems. It gained notoriety after it was featured in the film based on Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

In the three studies comparing the two procedures, TMS has been as effective as ECT in treating severe depression among people who are not troubled by hallucinations or delusions, according to David Avery, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle. And ECT, he said, is more effective than anti-depressant drugs.

The studies so far have involved only a couple of dozen subjects. Avery soon will begin a study with about 85 subjects.

Researchers theorize that the magnetic therapy may work by activating sluggish nerve cells in the left prefrontal cortex.

Four years ago, researchers at Baylor University in Houston used magnets to treat muscular or arthritic-type pain in post-polio patients. They laid magnets on the painful areas for 45 minutes.

Seventy-six percent of people treated with real magnets reported feeling significantly better. Nineteen percent of those given sham magnets reported significant pain relief.

A team at the University of Virginia gave magnetic sleeping pads a couple of years ago to a group of people with fibromyalgia, a baffling complaint characterized by chronic and pervasive muscle pain. Compared to a control group that slept on nonmagnetized pads, those with the magnetic pads reported significantly reduced pain after sleeping on the pads for six months. Other outcomes did not differ significantly between the groups.

In another study, a large group of people with intense nerve pain in their feet -- a condition known as peripheral neuropathy and common among diabetics -- were given magnetic insoles to wear. A substantial number reported less tingling and burning and numbness in their feet.

Michael Weintraub, the neurologist who orchestrated the controlled study that was conducted at 48 sites last year, said it "clearly shows that magnets work. It's a real response." He expects the study to be published in a major medical journal, and he hopes to pursue further research.

Blechman stressed that the magnets that are sold widely for medical purposes not only vary in strength and design, but may not deliver as promised. He tested some and found that they were not as powerful as advertised.

Nancy Russell, a Kansas City area internist, has used magnets on occasion for years, mostly to control pain.

"If somebody has an injury, like to a joint, (there are) wraps. I've used those myself, like with tendonitis, and it seems that it shortens recovery time."

Source: Health World Online, February 25, 2002

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Drug Addiction and the Brain

By Paul Tyler

Paul Tyler brings us up to-date on findings related to electromagnetism. He reports that the National Institute of Mental Health studied rats addicted to morphine and found that current stimulation to the lower part of the concha (posterior to the external auditory meatus) precipitated signs of morphine abstinence. Researchers (Sjolund, Clement-Jones, Salar and others) have reported an increase in B-endorphins in cerebrospinal fluid following electro-acupuncture and other forms of electrotherapy. Increased rat brain levels of serotonin, tryptophan and hydroxyindole acetic acid have been reported. Numerous studies show changes of calcium ion levels in the brain following the use of magnetic fields.

It is believed that the body's own production of B-endorphins is turned off by drug addiction and that electro or magnetic stimulation enhances the natural production and release of encephalms and £3-endorphins by the body, preventing the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Tyler speculates that calcium is the critical factor and not the endorphin system. He further states that modern medicine has studied and treated the chemical side of the equation but has almost completely ignored the electrical/magnetic side. The body's natural chemicals are released by an electrical signal so it seems plausible that an external signal can do the same at a specific site without drugging the rest of the body.

Source: Scientific Digest EMR and The Brain; A Brief Literature Review, 1/99 prepared for an FDA conference

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Frontier Science (holistic medicine)

Interview With Beverly Rubik Ph.D.
Interviewed By Daniel Redwood D.C.

Beverly Rubik is a leading spokesperson for research in consciousness studies, subtle energies, and alternative and complementary medicine, frontier areas that challenge the dominant biomedical paradigm.

Trained as a biophysicist at the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D., 1979), she conducted postdoctoral research and supervised graduate student research at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory while also serving as a faculty member at San Francisco State University from 1979 to 1988. In l988 Dr. Rubik relocated to Philadelphia to become founding director of the Center for Frontier Sciences at Temple University. The Center facilitated global information exchange, networking, and education on frontier issues of science and medicine. Two important foci of the Center were alternative/complementary medicine and the matter-mind-spirit interrelationship. The Center was the first of its kind in the world linked to a major university and spawned sister centers at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico and the University of Milano, Italy. A journal, Frontier Perspectives, was founded in 1990 by Rubik and was published and distributed semi-annually to over 3,500 affiliates of the Center in 58 countries.

From 1992 to 1994, Dr. Rubik served as a member of the Advisory Panel to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Alternative Medicine and was Panel Chair on Bioelectromagnetics. She presently serves on the editorial board of several journals, including the Alternative Health Practitioner; Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine; and the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Medicine (UK). She is a member of the advisory board of the Journal of Subtle Energies and the European Journal of Classical Homeopathy. She also serves as an advisory board member to the John Templeton Foundation and the Society for Scientific Exploration, and has served the MacArthur Foundation as a nominator of fellows.

In late 1995 Dr. Rubik left Temple University to continue her work as an independent scholar and consultant and founded the Institute for Frontier Science, a nonprofit corporation. She is presently writing a book on the frontiers of science and medicine. An anthology of her writings, Life at the Edge of Science, was published in 1996. Rubik is also an advisor for HealthWorld Online, a consultant for corporations involved in the nutrition and bioelectromagnetic industries, lectures widely at universities and conferences in the United States and abroad, and has a new appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona at Tucson, in the integrative medicine program under Dr. Andrew Weil, and is an adjunct faculty member at Union Institute, California Institute for Human Science, and the University of Creation Spirituality.

In this interview with Dr. Daniel Redwood, Dr. Rubik discusses the limitations of the mechanistic worldview underlying conventional medicine and the emerging research that may constitute the basis of a more inclusive paradigm. In particular, she feels it essential that health researchers and practitioners consider the role of energy flows in living systems rather than limiting their purview to molecular biochemistry. Moreover, she believes the new paradigm must take into account recent research on the role of the mind in healing (including healing at a distance).

DANIEL REDWOOD: You are trained as a biophysicist, but are best known as a proponent of "frontier science." What is frontier science, and what led you in this direction?

BEVERLY RUBIK: It's a term used to differentiate it from mainstream science, which is most academic science, and also to differentiate it from fringe science, which is very unconventional stuff. Frontier science is science that is outside of the mainstream but has a significant number of scholars asking questions within its domain. Topics such as consciousness studies and the science underlying alternative medicine are examples of what I call frontier science.

REDWOOD: What do you see as the primary features of the dominant scientific paradigm, and how does frontier science challenge it?

RUBIK: The dominant biomedical or biological paradigm is where life is viewed mainly as a bag of biomolecules, and a human being is a collection of organs, tissues, and other things that it can be reduced to. In that paradigm, the whole is considered the sum of its parts. It's also a mechanistic or materialistic worldview. For example, in the dominant paradigm consciousness is nothing but brain processes or the results of brain processes. Some of its chief features are materialism, reductionism, and fragmentation.

REDWOOD: What are the problems with that paradigm?

RUBIK: I don't think that a molecular view of life is sufficient for understanding holistic medicine or the whole human being.

REDWOOD: What other factors need to be included to create a larger or more applicable paradigm?

RUBIK: We need to consider energy flows in biology, the subtle energies that can't really be reduced to molecules. A good example is acupuncture. I'm aware that some features of acupuncture have been reduced to molecules, such as the analgesic effects that have purportedly been explained in terms of endorphin release. But the non-locality of acupuncture, and why stimulating at the crown of the head might cure hemorrhoids, is beyond anybody's comprehension from a molecular view. The specificity of that point for hemorrhoids and other points on the body for other internal organs certainly challenge it.

REDWOOD: Why do you think conventional medicine became so focused on the biochemical, molecular level as opposed to the other possibilities?

RUBIK: I think it's pretty obvious. We have a pharmaceutical industry that has grown up in the last 50 years that has been highly profitable and somewhat successful in dealing with acute diseases. So the approach has been to look for magic bullets in medicine. That approach works well with acute diseases, but it does not work for chronic degenerative disease. So we see the failure of that approach. Also, conventional medicine has failed to treat the whole person. It tends to reduce the person to their diagnosis, to the disease. In hospitals, people are even referred to as their disease [i.e. the pancreatic cancer in room 205]. Increasingly, people are upset at this. Patients want to be treated as whole persons, whose minds and spirits have something to do with their healing.

There's a body of evidence from frontier science that leads us to believe that mind is more than brain function, because conscious intention and prayer operating over even long distances can have beneficial effects on people. There have been experiments on distant healing and prayer, showing that people can have effects on other people as well as on microorganisms. I myself have conducted some of these experiments.

REDWOOD: Is the electromagnetic field of the body involved in human health? Can there be external influences that impact upon it negatively and thereby cause disease?

RUBIK: I think that both are true. We have some epidemiological evidence that humans, especially children, placed in schools or homes around power lines, have higher incidences of leukemia, lymphoma, and brain tumors. There were also reports about ten years ago that pregnant women sleeping under electric blankets (at least the older ones) had higher rates of miscarriages and birth defects in their offspring. It's not so clear for adults, however. The electro-pollution from our environment poses yet another stressor on our lives. The way stressors act upon us is that one plus one plus one may equal nine, and then you snap and get sick.

So it's very hard to point the finger to say bioelectromagnetics directly causes a particular tumor. It's not so simple, unfortunately. Our bodily systems don't work linearly; they're more like chaotic systems. They can absorb stress, they're somewhat resilient, but they get to the point where there's only so much stress they can take, and then they break. So the causal relationship is not clear. It's not like classical mechanics and physics, because once again, I'm considering these things from a new paradigm perspective, not from naive, simple causality. Everybody would like simple causal relations in medicine, but unfortunately, it's not so clear-cut. For chronic degeneration, it's impossible to point to a single cause. This is also true of electromagnetic influences "causing" disease.

I'm certain, however, that the evidence for the other side of the coin -- electromagnetic medicine -- is clearer. There are many devices on the market, some of them FDA approved and most of them not, that can enhance or accelerate healing, lift mood, and can help broken bones heal faster.

REDWOOD: Why do you think they are not more widely used?

RUBIK: That's a puzzling question, especially when they're FDA approved. For example, the bone healing device has been on the market for about 20 years is FDA approved and is used in only about 20 percent of the cases for which its use is indicated. It's probably because doctors don't learn about the possibilities of using them. They're focusing mainly on chemistry, biochemistry, and drugs, and very little on physics, electro-magnetics, and other ways of healing. So it's simply not within the scope of the dominant biomedical paradigm. And I don't think doctors have teams of salesmen pushing electromagnetic medical devices like they have drug salesmen knocking on their doors.

REDWOOD: Do you have an opinion on the therapeutic use of magnets?

RUBIK: I do. I've seen some studies and I'm impressed that the anecdotal reports I've heard all over the place are bearing true in clinical trials in terms of pain relief and reduction of inflammation. I once sprained an ankle and used some magnets obtained from an Oriental health shop in San Francisco. I had some amazing results with the swelling going down quickly and the pain disappearing. It's hard to say how the magnets work on the body. From physics, there's the Hall Effect, whereby if you have charged particles in a stream moving near a magnet, they will be altered in their flow because of the magnetic field. This might explain changes in the flow of blood and lymph, which contain a lot of charged proteins, ions, etc., and that may explain why swelling, pain, and inflammation are reduced.

REDWOOD: What questions is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) posing that conventional medicine may have the most difficulty answering?

RUBIK: Most people are using multiple modalities of CAM for a chronic condition. That is, they may be taking dietary supplements, doing biofeedback, going for acupuncture treatments, and practicing relaxation techniques. These may be acting synergistically, and they may also be tailored for the individuality of the patient. Conventional medicine uses more standardized procedures, largely ignoring patient individuality. So, here we see one major clash between conventional medicine and CAM: standardized scientific approach vs. individualized treatment.

Secondly, in CAM, optimization of self-healing is the goal; whereas conventional medicine throws out any self-healing response and maintains that the cure is something contributed by the drug or other medical intervention. What this means is that the gold-standard of conventional medicine, the controlled clinical trial, is much less meaningful as a test for CAM, since it does not address individuality of patients, nor does it respect self-healing.

Daniel Redwood is a chiropractor, writer and musician who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is the author of A Time to Heal: How to Reap the Benefits of Holistic Health (A.R.E. Press), and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain

According to biomagnetic researcher William H. Philpott, M.D., of Choctaw, Oklahoma, magnetic field therapy has many applications for the relief of pain. "The negative magnetic field (traditional south seeking pole) provided by magnetic therapy is ideal for relieving pain symptoms due to its ability to quickly normalize the metabolic functions that create the conditions in the first place," Dr. Philpott says. He points out that the negative magnetic field does not act as a painkiller, or analgesic. Instead, it is a "normalizer of disordered metabolic functions."

One of Dr. Philpott's patients was a woman in her seventies who came to him suffering from a fibrous clot in her left groin that made climbing stairs painful due to the way it impinged on the blood flow of her left leg. Dr. Philpott had her sleep on a negative field magnetic pad with magnets also placed at the crown of her head. After one year of treatment, the woman was climbing stairs freely without pain and it was discovered upon further examination that the clot, which had been present for over thirty years, was healed despite the fact that it had never been treated directly.

Dean Bonlie, D.D.S., of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a colleague of Dr. Philpott, also employs magnetic field therapy to treat a variety of chronic pain conditions. One of his patients was a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces who had been released from service on medical grounds for being 48 percent disabled due to three injuries to his lower back. His condition was so severe that he had been operated on and received a spinal fusion. He had also tried medication, heat treatments, chiropractic and physiotherapy, all without long-term results.

Dr. Bonlie applied a four by six inch negative North Pole magnet directly on the injured section of the man's back for twenty-five minutes and the man experienced substantial pain reduction. Moreover, upon standing up, for the first time in years, he did not experience the flash of burning pain down his upper right leg that had previously been one of his symptoms. Dr. Bonlie suggested he begin sleeping on a magnetic sleep pad and the man soon confirmed that, after twenty-five years, he was finally free of his pain.


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Magnet Therapy Reduces Pain in Post-polio Patients

A small magnet strapped to post-polio patients' most sensitive sore spots reduced pain acutely in a study of 50 people at Baylor College of Medicine and The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) in Houston. Results of the double-blind study were published in the November issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

"The majority of patients in the study who received treatment with a magnet reported a significant decrease in pain, and most of the patients who were given a placebo, or inactive magnet, reported very little or no improvement," said principle investigator Dr. Carlos Vallbona. He is a professor of family and community medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor and director of the Post-Polio Clinic at TIRR.

Vallbona evaluated the magnet therapy in adults diagnosed with post-polio syndrome who were experiencing arthritic pain in the joints or had identifiable points of pain in their muscles. Thirty-nine women and 11 men participated in the study. Most were in their 50's and had developed post-polio syndrome during their 40s. All patients were asked to press on the "trigger point" where they felt the severest pain and rank that pain on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the worst. The patients were then randomly given and active or inactive magnet to strap against their trigger point for 45 minutes. After the magnets were removed, patients rated the intensity of their pain again.

Twenty-nine participants received an active magnet. Their average score of pain was 9.6 before the treatment, and 4.4 after wearing the magnet. The placebo group had an average pain score of 9.5 before treatment, and 8.4 afterward.

The low-intensity magnets, less than a half-inch thick and slightly stronger than refrigerator magnets, were available in four formats to accommodate different areas of the body: a credit-card-size rectangle, a six-inch strip almost two inches wide, a disc the size of a silver dollar and a disc the size of a CD.

"Seventy-six percent of the patients who had the active magnet reported a decrease inpain, but only 19 percent of the patients treated with a placebo felt an improvement," Vallbona said. None of the patients reported any side effects from the treatment.

"We do not have a clear explanation for the significant and quick pain relief observed by the patients in our study," Vallbona said. "It's possible that the magnetic energy affects the pain receptors in the joints or muscles or lowers the sensation of pain in the brain."

The Baylor-TIRR study consisted of one treatment per patient and did not evaluate how long the reported pain relief lasted. Vallbona said more research is needed to determine whether magnet therapy should be recommended as an alternative to the standard treatments for pain in post-polio patients, such as physical therapy, support braces, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medication.

Vallbona's co-principal investigator for the study was Dr. Carlton F. Hazlewood, Baylor professor of molecular physiology and biophysics.

Source: Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030

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Magnet Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Over the past decade, chronic pain sufferers have become avid consumers of magnet therapy. Unfortunately, doctors and consumers alike know very little about the clinical effects of these products.

In a new study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine , researchers from the University of Virginia describe the largest and most rigorous clinical trial to date of a magnet therapy used to treat patients with chronic pain. Results were obtained from 94 patients with fibromyalgia, a syndrome affecting 2 percent of the general population and responsible for widespread pain, fatigue, fitful sleep and anxiety in sufferers.

Researchers randomly separated participants into five treatment groups to test the effects of magnetic sleep pads on several measures of participants' pain. Ratings of subjects' pain were measured over six months using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, pain intensity ratings, tender point counts, and tender point pain intensity.

One group slept on pads that administered whole body therapy with a low magnetic field. A second group received magnet therapy that varied in intensity. A third group slept on the pads but received no magnetic therapy while a fourth group were instructed to stick to their normal pain treatment regimens with no magnetic therapy.

Ann Gill Taylor, R.N., from the University of Virginia, says, "We did find a statistically significant difference in pain intensity reduction for one of the active magnet pad groups. The two groups that slept on pads with active magnets generally showed the greatest improvements in outcome scores of pain intensity level, number of tender points on the body and functional status after six months."

Alan P. Alfano, M.D., from the University of Virginia, says, "The results tell us maybe this therapy works, and that maybe more research is justified." However, he cautions, "You can't draw final conclusions from only one study."

Source: Ivanhoe Newswire, Feb. 27, 2001

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Magnetic Healing Does it work?

by Tom Edward

The idea of magnetic energy or magnetic therapy is centuries old. Legend has it that Cleopatra wore magnetic bracelets and necklaces for healing. Though actively employed by medical doctors in America in the 1800's and early 1900's, magnetic therapy eventually fell out of favor. But in the past decade, magnetic therapy has become a 100 million dollar a year industry in this country (magnetic therapy has long been used as an effective healing tool in China, France, India and Japan, especially in repairing soft-tissue injuries).

Studies on magnetic therapies in the Journal of Electro-and Magnetobiology led some pioneering doctors in this country to experiment with magnets in their practice. Their activities helped to standardize the use of some magnets, the magnet size and strength-in treating various conditions. The length of exposure to a magnet for healing certain ailments was also determined. Because of their work we know which magnets work most efficiently-for example, a magnet placed in one specific area of the body may not activate the entire body's healing power, whereas sleeping on a magnetic bed pad radiates a magnetic field that can penetrate evenly into every part of the body and boost the entire immune system.

Through the growth of the magnetic therapy industry, different magnetic products have been designed which can be useful in treating many conditions. Some of the most commonly used magnetic products include the previously mentioned magnetic mattress which can alleviate insomnia, joint pain, muscle spasm and fibromyalgia. Magnetic inner soles for shoes are often helpful in relieving painful inflammation resulting from bone spurs, and for gout and to improve circulation. Magnetic pads and wraps which can be secured to the lower back, knees and elbows are recommended for arthritic joints, inflamed tendons and carpal tunnel syndrome.


In any material that is capable of being magnetized, there are groups of atoms with their own magnetic orientation arranged haphazardly in the material. When that material comes into contact with a strong magnetic field, it rearranges the groups of atoms so that they are in alignment. As the groups of atoms become aligned, they project a magnetic field.

Magnetic energy has different names. Some people call it energy or life force; the Chinese call it Chi, the Indians know it as Prana. Whatever you choose to call it, magnetic energy is a basic force of life-it pulses throughout the galaxies and is found everywhere in nature.


Some researchers and doctors say that magnets don't actually heal the body. Science knows that the human body is composed of numerous cells that combine to form blood, tissues, bones and organs. These cells are in the constant state of renewing themselves. Dr. Robert Becker, one of the leading medical doctors who advocates the use of magnets in healing, believes that the force which stimulates ,cellular growth and division is electromagnetic energy.

He and other scientists contend that the charge on the cells of the body gets depleted as cells perform their normal daily functions and that the body tries to "recharge" the worn down cells by sending pulses of electromagnetic energy from the brain through the nervous system.

James Souder, President of Norso Biomagnetics in Raleigh, North Carolina, claims that studies performed on animals, and microscopic examination of blood vessels, indicate that capillary blood flow is stimulated by the movement of magnetic fields through tissue and is the dominant factor in magnetic field therapy.



As previously stated, magnetic energy is a basic force of nature and necessary to all biological systems. Magnetic energy pulses from far-off galaxies; the sun showers us with magnetic fields. Our earth, itself a huge electromagnet with north and south poles, protects us from harmful cosmic radiation. Cosmic radiation is so potent that it is capable of penetrating a 12 foot thick block of lead. But it cannot penetrate the earth's protective magnetic shield.

There is increasing evidence that there are harmful effects from high pulsating magnetic energy emitted from power transmission lines, TVs, radios, computers, microwaves and myriad electric appliances. The ordinary 60 cycle alternating electromagnetic fields created by technology seem to exert stress on the body's cellular level. It is reported that they can cause memory loss, headaches, changes in heartbeat and blood chemistry. Melatonin production can be reduced, and the brain's electromagnetic signals to the cells can be blocked, diluting the body's disease-fighting ability.

Studies of exposure to alternating electromagnetic fields have shown mutagenic effects, cancer cell promotion and a lowering of the body's pH to a more acidic level.

In addition, energy deprivation caused by living in concrete buildings also appears to have negative effects on the body. Dr. Kyochi Nakagawa, Director of Isuzu Hospital in Tokyo says that "Magnetic Field Deficiency Syndrome," produces symptoms such as headaches, back and neck pains, insomnia, heaviness of head and general lassitude.


While there are many applications claimed for magnetics from the reduction of scar tissue to the treatment of internal organs, the predominant use of magnetic devices is the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and myofacial pain. While, as previously stated, the mechanism by which this pain relief occurs is subject to much conjecture, there is a consensus that heightened blood flow to the area under the footprint of the magnet is one of the primary results of magnetic treatment. The results have been demonstrated by both thermographic and nuclear medicine studies. There have also been evidence of pain blocking phenomena in certain nerve fibers related to the application of magnetic fields. And researchers have been able to demonstrate changes in the electrical potential of nerve cells which raise the threshold for transmitting pain impulses as a result of magnetic fields.

Some scientists subscribe to the "Hall Effect," which promotes the idea that ions in the blood are manipulated by magnetic fields thus producing a heating effect in the magnetized area and increasing blood circulation. James Souder disagrees, and insists that "from a biological perspective, magnets activate or turn on capillaries creating extra blood supply at the cellular level as opposed to the older notion that magnets produce a local heating effect to stimulate blood supply which is essentially what the Hall effect is about."

Dr. Dean Bonlie, Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the North American Academy of Magnetic Therapy, explains that when the body is fatigued, a "loss of static charge" on the body's cells causes a "clumping of red blood cells." Through magnetic field supplementation, he says, chemical reactions are enhanced, building up the charge on cell walls which cause the cells to repel each other, reducing the clumping. With more surface area available, he says, the oxygen-carrying capacity of the cells is increased which in turn reinvigorates the body.

Another source of disagreement among magnetic therapy advocates is the healing quality of negative and positive poles. Such prominent voices in the magnetic therapy movement as Dr. Philpott say that "there are distinct and opposite effects of the two separate magnetic poles on metabolic terms of biological response, the separate negative and positive polarities are as distinctly opposite as day and night, hot and cold, and acid and alkali." Dr. Philpott claims that his clinical observations show that negative magnetic field energy should be used to fight infection, normalize acid base balance, increase cellular oxygen and reduce fluid retention. He claims that using positive magnetic field energy can actually decrease cellular oxygen, accelerate microorganism growth and result in acidic metabolic response. James Joseph, an independent research consultant for Optimal Living Associates, agrees with Dr. Philpott.

Dr. Philpott concluded that positive magnetic field energy creates an acidic condition in the tissue and negative magnetic field energy creates alkalinity after performing before and after saliva tests on patients being treated with a whole-body negative magnetic field. Dr. Bonlie, in a similar test, found that patients who had tested over-alkaline in pre-testing became more acidic, indicating that whole body treatment with a negative magnetic field brings normalcy from either end of the spectrum. Dr. Bonlie claimed that this happened because of "simple rules of physics." "When an atom is placed in an increased magnetic field," says Dr. Bonlie, "the charge is increased on the atom for a fraction of a second. This increase in energy is expressed by an increase in the velocity of some of the orbiting electrons and protons. In the case of paired electrons, one is sped up and the other slowed down. This imbalance causes a phenomenon known in physics as precession (wobble). This is much like increased molecular action which takes place from heating a solution to make a chemical reaction take place. Precession causes electron transfer which is the basis of all chemical reactions in the body. In summary, when the magnetic field is increased in which the atoms of the body exist, body chemistry is enhanced, assisting it in normalcy which improves body performance and healing."

While the physics of magnetic energy is debated, its benefits are being experienced by people around the country. Dr. Ronald Lawrence of Agoura Hills, California asserts that magnets have been extremely effective in the control of arthritic pain in many of his patients. Dee Massengale, an exercise physiologist in Atlanta, Georgia suffering with fibromyaglia since 1982, says that of all the therapies she's tried magnetic devices have been one of the most valuable tools for pain management.

In one of our own experiments, Anne Ziselman of Hollywood, Florida slept with magnet wraps strapped above her kneecap. She reported a reduction of arthritic swelling and a softening of the inflammation after four nights of use. "Sometimes the swelling goes away by itself, but the only times my knee has softened was when I had a cortisone shot," said Mrs. Ziselman.


First some caveats. Magnets are not meant to be used with pacemakers or automatic internal defibrillators. Nor in cases of pregnancy.

There are some other basics to know about magnets. To begin with the power of a magnet. The strength of a magnet is measured by a gauss meter in gauss units power by the iron weight it can lift (the term gauss denotes the electromagnetic unit of magnetic flux density equal to one maxwell per square centimeter). For example, a magnet that can lift two pounds of iron weight has 530-600 gauss power; five pounds of iron weight has 900-1250 power; 25 pounds has 2500 gauss power. The magnet's strength is determined by its size, weight and the type of materiaI it is made of.

Magnetic therapists have general guidelines for magnetic use. Magnets with 1000 to 3000 gauss power are recommended for chronic diseases like rheumatism, paralysis, backache and injury to large muscles. More delicate parts of the body such as eyes or ears require less gauss power of around 500. 500 gauss should also be employed when treating children.

The depth of penetration of a magnetic field into the body is another important factor in magnetic healing and is in direct relationship to the size of the magnet as well as its gauss power. A magnet can have a strength of over 10,000 gauss but if it is small it might only penetrate an inch or two into the body. But a magnet of 4x6 and 1000 gauss can penetrate the body completely (magnetic energy has not been fully standardized in terms of application for all diseases, but a rule of thumb for use established by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare is a minimum of 500 gauss for any significant illness).

Drinking magnetically treated water is another way to reap the benefits of magnetic energy. Magnetically treated water is relaxing to the body. Put an 8-ounce glass of water on the negative pole of a magnet for five minutes or longer and drink twice a day as a general preventative.

Lastly, scientists have been recording the strength of the earth's magnetic field over the past 158 years and they claim that its magnetic field, and subsequently the intake of magnetic energy into our bodies, has been reduced by more than 8% in that time (this rate of decline has been verified by measurement of the decrease of north-south orientation of magnetite crystals in deposits in volcanic flows and sediments that date hack as far as 4,000 years). As the human body is electromagnetic by design composed of charged particles such as atoms and ions-advocates of magnetic therapy say that chemical and electrical actions of the body can be strengthened by exposure to the right kind of magnetic fields.

The range of healing using magnetic energy has been found effective in treating complaints from acne to asthma, but knowing the proper gauss strength, how and where to place a magnet on the body and the duration of exposure to magnetic energy are variables that a trained practitioner would know best. Keep an open mind as you explore this alternative therapy, but be practical and find a therapist who can help you to maximize its benefits rapidly and safely.

Source: Newlife, July 1996

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Biomagnetic Therapy

By Dr. Michael Tierra L.AC., O.M.D.

Magnetic energy is a structuring force of the universe. As such, it is a reflection of the order that causes the infinite stars and planets throughout the galaxies to revolve and spin at incredible velocities while remaining in their respective orbits. As one of the four fundamental forces of nature along with gravity, nuclear energy and radioactivity, electromagnetism is equivalent in definition to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concept of 'Qi', or the East Indian Ayurvedic definition of 'Prana'. These concepts are what many in the West, regard as the 'life force'.

Personally, I have had long occasion to experiment and use magnets beginning with myself and then extending to family, friends, students and patients. Two particular occasions on myself were most convincing. Both were soft tissue injuries, one to my elbow and the other, a ligament injury of my knee, which I will describe further on. The elbow pain stemmed from an unknown cause, perhaps an injury or strain. It had persisted for at least 2 weeks during that time I tried acupuncture and herbal treatments, which offered only minor temporary relief. As is well known, soft tissue injuries can take some time for repair. It would be most helpful, however, if during that time, there was a simple, non-invasive method to hasten the healing and relieve the pain.

I decided to experiment using magnets to treat the problem. While I had previously heard of magnet therapy, basically that there was a difference therapeutically between the magnet's North and South polarities, I had no previous experience or further knowledge of their use. When I taped a small 1000 Gauss acuband magnet directly on the skin over the 'trigger' point or center of the pain in my arm. I was amazed to find that the pain almost completely disappeared within 5 minutes. I decided to experiment further, first by removing and reapplying the magnet a few times. Each time the pain returned when the magnet was removed and all but completely disappeared again when reapplied. I then experimented by turning the magnet over to change its polarity from North, which is cooling and dispersing, to South, which is heating and building. I discovered that when the South side of the magnet was against the skin, the pain intensified and by reversing the magnet to North, it was alleviated.

Since that time, I have been intrigued with the therapeutic possibilities of bio-magnetic therapy. However, I still had no idea whether the magnet treatment to my arm was only symptomatic or could eventually promote complete healing. Further, I found that there were discrepancies both in print and from various distributors concerning the importance and definition of the North and South sides of a magnet. Despite my confusion, I tentatively began to use magnets on my patients. Because, however, I had such an unsure grasp of any basic theoretical or practical methodology, my results were inconclusive.

I say all this because there may be others who, like myself, felt or presently feel unsure about the value and results of an experience of biomagnetic therapy. Through my example they may appreciate a further corroboration by another who has become fully convinced that biomagnetic therapy may well be one of the safest and most powerful natural healing methods, especially for the relief of pain ever discovered by humankind.

My interest in magnets was rekindled a few years later when I had a crippling soft tissue injury to the medial aspect of my right knee. It was particularly debilitating because there were few positions either standing, sitting or reclining that could provide relief. Having nearly all but forgotten about my previous experience with the magnets on my elbow, I began by using acupuncture, moxabustion (heat applied to specific acupuncture points) and herbal poultices, fomentations and liniments. Everything helped but I still could barely walk or find a comfortable position to either sit or recline.

I certainly was not looking forward to having to stand and be present at a forthcoming natural products trade show that included a promised diversion to my excited young son to a nearby entertainment park. In desperation I remembered the all-but-forgotten magnets that I stored in a cupboard near my bed. I systematically applied the North magnets to the trigger points located near the site of pain around my knee. Estimating what meridians were involved, I positioned the South magnets further up the femur and hip on the Gall Bladder and Bladder Meridians. I found, however, that it was the local application of the North magnets around the knee that was most effective. Within two hours after their application, the pain was 95% gone.

Again, I decided to conduct the same experiments on my knee that I had done a few years previous on my elbow pain, by removing and reapplying them, changing the magnets to irrelevant locations and reversing their polarity. My previous findings were absolutely corroborated. I eventually discovered that I needed to wear the magnets on the trigger points around my knee nearly continuously for about two months before the problem became sufficiently stabilized and resolved.

After this second powerful experience with bio-magnetic therapy, I decided to apply magnets on all my patients along with the acupuncture, dietary and herbal therapy that was part of my normal practice. I wanted to discover for myself the range of their effectiveness for a wide variety of complaints. Since that time, I have found biomagnetic therapy to be around 90% effective for the relief of pains and conditions caused by inflammation. For examples, a woman with diagnosed symptoms of colitis, had tried many forms of conventional and non-conventional treatment over the year previous but was relieved with the application of magnets to her lower abdomen within a week. Another man with arthritis in his hands and fingers with only minimal response from acupuncture and herbal therapy used magnetic balls to relieve and eventually remedy his condition completely. Similarly, another man had encroaching stiffness in his fingers that was threatening to impair his main love, playing the guitar. He also found the results he was seeking with the use of magnetic balls. As a pianist, I can only imagine the benefit these simply magnetic balls could be to the many who have suffered injury from repetitive use or wrong playing.

Everyone, who had acute or chronic lower back, elbow or knee problems found relief and in many cases, complete recovery from the local application of magnets. Patients with asthma, found that the application of magnets to their upper back or chest would provide them the relief they desperately needed without any further external medication. The list goes on to include patients with upper respiratory allergies, gastro-intestinal and digestive complaints, migraine headaches -- all were relieved with the use of magnets -- and the list of conditions continues to expand. Now with the expanded methods of application using magnetized water, magnetized oils, magnetic mattresses and mattress pads, jewelry and so forth, I am convinced that there is no condition that bio-magnetic therapy would not be at least helpful.

Because of my experience with traditional Eastern systems of medicine, including Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) and East Indian Ayurvedic medicine, I was able to tangibly experience the fundamental energetic basis of healing with magnets described in various traditional healing systems around the world. I could tangibly understand that the North facing side of a magnet was equivalent in energy to the definition in TCM of Yin, or in Ayurveda of Shakti energy. The South facing side was equivalent to TCM Yang, or Ayurvedic Shiva energy. I also understood that the relative strength of a magnet determined whether it was to be used as an important energetic nutrient when in low strength (under 1000 gauss), or a high powered therapeutic tool in high strength (over 3000 gauss) that should be used with due respect. Essentially, like other forms of natural healing energy, if reasonably used, magnets are very forgiving. Except for the obvious contraindications noted, it is rare that anyone would experience anything more than a minor discomfort or aggravation usually caused by using magnetics that are too strong, applying the wrong North-South polarity for a given area or generally an overexposure to a strong magnetic field. If, for instance, one misapplies them over a wrong area, uses the wrong polarity or uses magnets that are inappropriately too strong, there may be a period of minor aggravation and discomfort that is easily remedied as soon as they are appropriately changed or removed. As with herbs, acupuncture and all other systems of natural healing, trial and error is a valid approach to biomagnetic therapy.

Science recognizes a close relationship between electricity and magnetism. In 1820, Hans Oersted of Denmark discovered a direct relationship between electricity and magnetism by showing that an electric current flowing in a wire caused a nearby compass needle to be deflected. Following the discoveries of Oersted, Ampere, the 18th century physicist whose notable achievements were germinal to the harnessing of electrical energy, discovered a quantitative relationship between the strength of an electric current with the magnetic field it creates (Ampere's theorem). Noting the close relationship between electricity and magnetism, he described magnetism as "electricity thrown into curves".

Just as the stars and planets revolve in galactical orbits, each atom has a nucleus around which spins various positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons that in turn generate a magnetic field. To reiterate, health represents a balance of these positive and negative forces described in TCM as Yin and Yang, in Ayurvedic medicine as 'Shiva' and 'Shakti', and in Western physiology as the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.

The current theory of 'free radicals' as the cause of degenerative diseases and aging, is based on the concept of a negatively charged electron spinning out of their orbit, invading another cell which in turn causes a cellular disruption that sends other subatomic particles off their respective orbits. This results in cellular chaos. Biomagnetic healing is able to passively provide a stimulus for the restoration of balance at a subatomic level and offset the devastating domino-effect of harmful free radicals.

Because every atom generates an electromagnetic (EM) field, we, along with all of nature, are imbued with the power of electromagnetism. It is also possible for us to channel our innate positive electromagnetic energy for healing both ourselves and others.

Stressing the importance of electromagnetism, Einstein said, "we may therefore regard matter as being constituted by the regions of space in which the field is extremely intense .....There is no place in this new kind of physics both for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality." (Our italics)

The mystic founder of Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky states similarly in different terms when she describes: "Matter is spirit at its lowest level and spirit is matter at its highest level."

It is said that what may be described as matter, the nucleus of an atom, is so infinitesimal that if we were to gather all the nuclei of a human body, it would be no larger than a period at the end of a sentence. Thus, modern physics theorizes that what we call matter may not be particles at all, but the presence of an impenetrable electro-magnetic field.

Life, comprised of a complex chain of bio-chemical and physiological processes is activated and animated by an invisible bio-magnetic force. Apropos of this, Dr. F.K. Bellokossy of Denver Colorado, described life as an "infinitely intelligent interaction of electro-magnetic energies carried by chemical substances."

Modern medicine has come to depend upon such high tech diagnostic procedures as the (ECG) electro-cardiogram, the (EEG) electroencephalogram, the (EMG) electromyogram to measure the electrical activity in the heart, the cerebral cortex and the skeletal muscles respectively. If there were no electrical energy in the body, such tests would not be possible.

From the perspective of bio-magnetics, health is based upon the individual cells of the body vibrating at a characteristic normal frequency. Disease, on the other hand, represents an abnormal change in cellular vibration. The therapeutic application of magnets and herbs, at the deepest level, is based on the principle of restoring normal cellular vibration.

This understanding should make magnetic therapy very accessible to those who have an energetic approach to treatment and it would include Traditional herbalism, TCM, Ayurveda and some Western 'holistically' oriented mind-body therapies.

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Healing Power of Magnets

By Richard Dean Jenkins

Magnetic fields work much more quickly and effectively than heat, infrared light, anti-inflammatory drugs, trigger-point injections or microwave diathermy. It's likely to be four or six months before an injured skier or other athlete is back in play again from the conventional treatment of ice, followed by heat to reduce swelling. Heat alone will not stimulate therapeutic repair of injured tissue or muscle. An ample supply of nutrient-rich blood is needed. Healing requires resumption of normal blood flow to the injured site, not simply pain relief. In magnetic therapy, knee braces can be removed more quickly; weightlifters can reduce lower back pain; sciatica (inflammation of sciatic nerve running down the hip and thigh) and carpal tunnel syndrome can be relieved.

Osteopathic physician Sanford Paul, Mercerville NJ, is convinced of the effectiveness of magnetic therapy. "Though I use conventional medical methods I find that the application of biomagnets has helped in some difficult traumatic-injury cases. I feel that biomagnets should be part of the total armamentarium of future physicians," he says. However, "Unless used properly, their value is no greater than that of a regular magnet."

Orthopedic chiropractor Kurt Vreeland, White River Junction, Vermont, physician for the U.S. Olympic ski jumping team, uses magnets for ski and other injuries. "I have used magnets with good results on everything from rotator cuff injuries to what they used to call in football 'hip-pointer'.

Source: Fitness Magazine, February 1992

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Golfers Can Now Benefit From the Amazing Therapeutic Power of Magnets

By Martin Meyer, Herbologist - Nutritionist

You can obtain more energy, enhance your ability to focus and relieve chronic pain just by applying a magnetic bracelet or magnetic wrap. Are you tired of daily pain killers for knee pain, neck pain, sciatica, arthritis, bursitis, muscle pain, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, back pain. Then why not try magnetic therapy? The newest neodymium rare earth permanent magnets have helped millions and are used worldwide.

A powerful magnet smaller than a penny placed near a pain or injury may do wonders for you and relieve your pain as many have experienced. The magnetic field produced by permanent magnets is a safe natural energy source. There are no known harmful exposure levels and no limitations by Governmental agencies. All Magnet Force magnets are of the highest energy neodymium rare earth and are identified, differentiating between south pole and north pole.


The science and use of Magnetic Therapy has been known ever since Egyptian times, and has been continuously practiced all over the world. Because many Americans have been fed up with the ever burdening cost of medical care and its sometimes failures, it has forced them to look for alternative therapies for their aches and pains. A host of therapies have surfaced some old, some new. Chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, herbal, vitamins, biofeedback, homeopathy, and permanent magnetic are just a few therapies offered. Magnetic therapy has the most appeal, because of its effectiveness. It is a natural therapy, non toxic, no pills, no needles, no salves, no side effects and most important, a one time low cost for everyone. Magnetic therapy, when coupled with professional therapy, proper nutrition and exercise, has proven to be the most effective and economical. Magnets can be used over and over, and will last for years.


Biomagnetism works in the human body through the circulatory system, the nervous system and the endocrine system. Magnetism is continuously penetrating every known particle, right down to the single cell. Its ordering effect on living systems arise from the fact that magnetism is a blueprint of life itself. All known energies have, as a base, this electromagnetic field. The latest research indicates that magnetism has a very significant beneficial biological effect on human beings.

Blood contains ferrous hemoglobin (iron) that functions as a carrier of oxygen and carbon dioxide. As blood circulates the lungs, fully magnetized ferrous hemoglobin is able to transport more oxygen to cell tissue as well as taking more carbon dioxide waste from the cell back to the lungs for removal. This means more energy and less fatigue as tissue cells and internal organs stay substantially healthier. Also golfers report an energy reserve allowing their play on the 18th hole to match first tee energy, this in turn enables greater concentration and execution for your game. Magnetic bracelets and wraps recharge the body's magnetism. The body, like the earth, is a biomagnetic unit that vibrates at approximately 7.9 cycles per second direct current. Our electric devices, TV, computers, lights, appliances etc. vibrate at 60 cycles per second alternating current. Magnetic devices serve to balance the body and counter the deleterious excitement of the 60 cycle per second vibration.

Dr. Nakagawa, of Isuzu Hospital in Tokyo Japan, has identified a malady that he calls "Magnetic Deficiency Syndrome". It is believed that we call this problem Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


Magnets are used in spacecraft to protect the astronauts from bone loss, disorientation, and other magnetic deficiencies. Magnetic Therapy is the cutting edge of a healing, health, energy boom that is sure to revolutionize the way we treat our bodies. Magnets will not only help your golf game it could also improve the length and quality of your life and that of your loved ones.

Source: Long Island Golfer Magazine, October 1997

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Life Begins At 50 For Players on Mature Tour

GOLF By Ken Fidlin

LANCASTER - The promotional slogan invites us to come on out and "Walk With A legend." It doesn't even scratch the surface.

At Hamilton Golf and Country Club this week, you can indeed walk with a legend. You can even talk with a legend. You can get a legend's autograph without getting your head bitten off. You can share a joke with a legend. You might even get a golf lesson from a legend. Or free medical advice from a legend. There is no end to what a legend can do to enhance your day on one of Canadian golf's most spectacular pieces of real estate.

The players on the PGA Seniors Tour who will compete in the du Maurier Champions tournament tomorrow through Sunday are different from any group of professional athletes you'll ever find.

For starters, most of them don't take themselves too seriously. Probably comes with having grandkids.

For example, as lee Trevino and DeWit Weaver prepared to hit their tee shots on the ninth hole of a practice round yesterday, a toddler appeared from the gallery and was immediately swept into Grandpa Trevino's arms. A photo opportunity for the astounded father.

When Trevino realized it was a video camera in dad's hands, well, being the Merry Mex, he had to spin a yarn. So he talked about attending a granddaughter's important piano recital, how he photographed the event, then taped over the proud moment.

These for the most part are men who long ago learned that the world doesn't owe them a living. In fact some of the most successful seniors have turned out to be guys whose PGA careers were less than stellar.

Nobody fits that mold more precisely than Jim Colbert, currently the king of the tour. He led in money last year and continues to do so this year.

His emergence from a middle-of-the-pack PGA career to star status as a senior resulted from two factors: magnets and equipment.

Equipment, we can understand. But magnets?

Ever since he was 15 years old, Colbert has been plagued by painful disc degeneration in his lower back. Several years ago, a fellow pro named Mickey Gallagher told him about a doctor who was getting amazing results with back problems by using magnets.

Colbert tried it and the rest is history.

"During the last three years, any day I wanted to play golf, I could," he said. That was something entirely new for me."

He has a special mattress made of magnets. He tapes magnets to key areas on his back and neck. Other touring pros like Tom Weiskopf and Bob Murphy have used varying forms of the therapy for pain and arthritis control.

"For a lot of years there were a lot of days when I just couldn't play he cause of the back pain," Colbert said. "And on the days that I could, I was so full of medicine and muscle relaxants that I couldn't score anyway."

Magnets. Hey, we don't make this stuff up.

There is an understanding from these old pros who ply their trade from week to week on the Mature Tour that the world does not necessarily revolve around them. They have come to Hamilton and are of one voice in praise of the golf course.

"You won't hear anything but raves from anyone this week," Weaver said. "If anyone says this isn't the nicest golf course we've played all year, I'd like to know which one he's thinking of."

"We don't get to play many of these special old courses," Colbert said. "You can't buy or build what 100 years of natural evolution can bring."

"Can we play here the rest of the year?" Trevino asked. "You should see some of the ranches we play on."

Imagine that. A professional athlete, appreciative that he has been invited into our midst.

A senior event on Canadian soil would be incomplete without a visit from our own legend, Moe Norman. Trevino himself has called Norman the finest striker of the golf ball ever, and hundreds were crowded around Norman, including many of the touring pros on the range yesterday for one of his famous clinics.

Ho-hum, Moe hit 'em straight again.

I've heard people say that life begins at 50 and never once considered that it could be true. Until you stop and consider Colbert and many of his buddies. "We always ask ourselves if we could lock in at a certain age, what would it be," Colbert said.

"For me, it would be my early 50's, the way my life is going. The most fun I've had to date has been Senior Circuit."

Take a walk with a legend and you might begin to believe it.

Source: The Financial Post, Wed. June 12, 1996 Section: SPORTS

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Athletes Put Their Faith in Power of Magnets

By Sal Ruibal

Contributing: Jim Lassiter

Denver Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski KO's quarterbacks, then sleeps like a baby on a magnetic mattress pad. Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu throws a wicked split-finger fastball with dozens of magnets stuck to his body. Senior PGA Tour golfer Jim Colbert swings for the greens with dollar bill-sized magnets strapped to his lower back.

Magnetic therapy is the hottest trend among professional athletes. But the idea of using magnetic fields to increase blood circulation in injured tissue and encourage healing by stimulating the nervous system goes back thousands of years to ancient Greece and Egypt. The original Olympic athletes might have used magnets. And in the same way that today's top athletes influence fashion and language, their eagerness to embrace alternative healing techniques is influencing the public: U.S. consumers will spend more than $500 million this year on magnetic pads, bracelets, shoe inserts, back wraps and seat cushions, the magnet companies say. The trend is so lucrative, athletes are adding brand-name magnets to their list of endorsements, along with sneakers and soda pops.

Romanowski began using magnets seven years ago while a member of the 49ers but didn't take them seriously. The team trainer had recommended them, but it was not until Romanowski had off season surgery that he adopted the idea. "I'm a believer, definitely," he says. "The first time I tried them, I got pain relief. It wasn't mental. I know it wasn't mental because I know my body." Because they know their bodies, it's natural that top athletes would be attracted to alternative therapies, says Dinnie Pearson, a Cranial-Sacral therapist with the Mind/Body Center in King of Prussia, Pa.

"Athletes use a lot of mental imagery, visualizing the correct muscle movements for their sport," Pearson says. "They can use that same powerful tool for healing, contacting injured areas to focus on that tissue to help it in the natural healing process." They had an acupuncturist travel with the team earlier this year. The team credits the therapy with helping second baseman Quilvio Veras get over hamstring problems.

"I think it's great," Towers says. "I know it worked on me. It blocks the nerve endings and takes the pain away. It's very relaxing. I'd go back."

Not understanding how an alternative therapy works is no roadblock for jocks in search of relief, but it can be for the federal government. Magnetic therapy has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but the National Institutes of Health are investigating the phenomenon.

The NIH Office of Alternative Medicine, which was created only five years ago, is funding a study of magnetic therapy at the University of Virginia's School of Nursing.

Broncos safety Steve Atwater isn't waiting for the scientists to bless his magnets. "I don't know what it is, but it works," the 30-year-old, seven-time Pro Bowl player says. "I figure it can't hurt me, and it may help me."

Source: USA Today, Wed., Aug. 20, 1997 Section: SPORTS

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Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy… How Does It Work ?

By Dr. D. C. Laycock, Ph.D. Med. Eng. MBES, MIPEM

All living cells within the body possess potentials between the inner and outer membrane of the cell, which, under normal healthy circumstances, are fixed. Different cells, e.g. Muscle cells and Nerve cells, have different potentials of about -70 mV respectively. When cells are damaged, these potentials change such that the balance across the membrane changes, causing the attraction of positive sodium ions into the cell and negative trace elements and proteins out of the cell. The net result is that liquid is attracted into the interstitial area and swelling or edema ensues. The application of pulsed magnetic fields has, through research findings, been shown to help the body to restore normal potentials at an accelerated rate, thus aiding the healing of most wounds and reducing swelling faster. The most effective frequencies found by researchers so far, are very low frequency pulses of a 50Hz base. These, if gradually increased to 25 pulses per second for time periods of 600 seconds (10 minutes), condition the damaged tissue to aid the natural healing process.

PAIN REDUCTION is another area in which pulsed electromagnetic therapy has been shown to be very effective. Pain signals are transmitted along nerve cells to pre-synaptic terminals. At these terminals, channels in the cell alter due to a movement of ions. The membrane potential changes, causing the release of a chemical transmitter from a synaptic vesicle contained within the membrane. The pain signal is chemically transferred across the synaptic gap to chemical receptors on the post synaptic nerve cell. This all happens in about 1/2000th of a second, as the synaptic gap is only 20 to 50 n.-meter wide. As the pain signal, in chemical form, approaches the post synaptic cell, the membrane changes and the signal is transferred. If we look at the voltages across the synaptic membrane then, under no pain conditions, the level is about -70 mV. When the pain signal approaches, the membrane potential increases to approximately +30 mV, allowing a sodium flow. This in turn triggers the synaptic vesicle to release the chemical transmitter and so transfer the pain signal across the synaptic gap or cleft. After the transmission, the voltage reduces back to its normal quiescent level until the next pain signal arrives.

The application of pulsed magnetism to painful sites causes the membrane to be lowered to a hyper-polarization level of about -90 mV. When a pain signal is detected, the voltage must now be raised to a relatively higher level in order to fire the synaptic vesicles.

Since the average change of potential required to reach the trigger voltage of nearly +30 mV is +100 mV, the required change is too great and only +10 mV is attained. This voltage is generally too low to cause the synaptic vesicle to release the chemical transmitter and hence the pain signal is blocked. The most effective frequencies that have been observed from research in order to cause the above changes to membrane potentials, are a base frequency of 200Hz and pulse rate settings of between 5 and 25Hz.

Source: Lecture abstract of 28-01-1995, Dr. D. C. Laycock, Ph.D. Med. Eng. MBES, MIPEM, B.Ed. (Hons Phys. Sc.). Consultant Clinical Engineer, Westville Associates and Consultants (UK).

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Beneficial Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields

Bassett CA.

Bioelectric Research Center, Columbia University, Riverdale, New York 10463.

Selective control of cell function by applying specifically configured, weak, time-varying magnetic fields has added a new, exciting dimension to biology and medicine. Field parameters for therapeutic, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMFs) were designed to induce voltages similar to those produced, normally, during dynamic mechanical deformation of connective tissues. As a result, a wide variety of challenging musculoskeletal disorders have been treated successfully over the past two decades. More than a quarter million patients with chronically ununited fractures have benefitted, worldwide, from this surgically non-invasive method, without risk, discomfort, or the high costs of operative repair. Many of the athermal bioresponses, at the cellular and subcellular levels, have been identified and found appropriate to correct or modify the pathologic processes for which PEMFs have been used. Not only is efficacy supported by these basic studies but by a number of double-blind trials. As understanding of mechanisms expands, specific requirements for field energetics are being defined and the range of treatable ills broadened. These include nerve regeneration, wound healing, graft behavior, diabetes, and myocardial and cerebral ischemia (heart attack and stroke), among other conditions. Preliminary data even suggest possible benefits in controlling malignancy.

Source: J Cell Biochem 1993 Apr;51(4):387-93

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Treating Multiple Sclerosis with EMF

There is no known medical cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), but a promising alternative approach has been developed using electromagnetic fields (EMFs) to treat the pineal gland.

Studies have found evidence suggesting that there is a connection between multiple sclerosis and dysfunction of the pineal gland:

  • During relapses, MS patients have abnormally low nighttime blood levels of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland.

  • Brain scans of MS patients show that all have calcification of the pineal gland.

  • MS patients have low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is a precursor of melatonin, and is regulated by melatonin.

  • The symptoms of MS correlate with those of serotonin deficiency: carbohydrate craving, fatigue, headache, sleep disorders, spasticity, poor bladder control, cognitive deficits, migraines, and a high rate of depression and suicide.

Nutritional or biochemical attempts to enhance serotonin synthesis in MS patients have not worked well. But the pineal gland is very sensitive to EMF, so researchers tried applying extremely low intensity, pulsed EMF in an attempt to "energize" the gland. This treatment was successful in creating marked symptom improvement in 60% to 70% of MS patients in the study, and the remainder noticed mild to moderate improvement. The treatment was most effective at the early stages of the disease. EMF had been shown previously to affect the circadian release of melatonin, and boost the release of neurotransmitters by altering intracellular calcium-ion transport at the synaptic level.

Source: Based on information in: Townsend Letter for Doctors, July 1997
Excerpted from Spectrum Magazine

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Chronic pain causes sleep disturbances

By Rita Cowan,Ph.D., RN

A common but usually undiagnosed and untreated symptom of chronic pain is sleep disturbance. When people suffer with pain, their sleep quality is often disrupted, making the sensation of pain worse. The sleep state is required for humans to rejuvenate and repair the body. When sleep problems occur, the body is hampered in performing its important functions. In "healthy" people, this is a problem; for those who suffer with pain, it becomes especially difficult.

A position paper from the important pain conference at the National Institute of Health strongly recommended that health care providers who treat people with pain take special note to monitor their patients' sleep patterns and any disturbances.

When evaluating sleep disturbances, it is necessary to identify what type the patient experiences:

  1. Difficulty falling asleep,

  2. Difficulty maintaining sleep,

  3. Early morning arousal. It is not unusual for many people with pain to suffer with all three types of sleep disturbances.

For people with pain, the most common reason for sleep problems is the pain itself. Many patients feel exhausted and, while they may eventually be able to fall asleep, they are awakened throughout the night due to their pain.

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Better Sleep Yields Better Memory and Learning

By Carrie Carlisle

Nov.28 (CBSHealthWatch) - Don't skip getting enough sleep tonight if you want to remember today's lessons, according to new research published in the current issue of Nature Neuroscience.

The study found people who get a good night's sleep after learning a simple skill perform better when tested on the same skill days later. Those findings lend support to the notion that sleep is important in memory development and learning.

For the study, researchers asked 24 college students to identify diagonal bars as they flickered on a computer screen during a 60- to 90-minute training session. Half of the students agreed to remain awake until 9 the next evening. The others slept as usual.

Researchers re-tested both groups three days after their initial training. Despite two nights of unlimited catch-up sleep, the students in the sleep-deprived group showed no improvement on the visual test, says Robert Stickgold, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study.

The students in the control group, however, proved to be approximately 25% faster than they had been during the training session.

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Researchers Gain Understanding of Sleep Loss and Fatigue

HERSHEY, PA -- August 20, 1999-- New research from Penn State's College of Medicine shows that even one night of disrupted or missed sleep by a healthy person can drastically alter a person's chemical balance and cause daytime sleepiness and fatigue. The results of such sleep deprivation can reduce productivity as well as increase the chances of accidents at home or at work.

Previous research had shown that obese people and those with sleep problems such as sleep apnea who experienced excessive daytime sleepiness had higher levels of interleukin6 (IL-6) in the blood during the day.

"This new research shows that in young, healthy people who had no sleep problems, that IL-6 was elevated the next day when they were denied sleep," explains Alexandros Vgontzas, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and a psychiatrist at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. "We also know that excessive daytime sleepiness occurs in about 5 percent of the population, so a better understanding of the mechanisms of sleep could help millions of people."

IL-6 is a cytokine -- proteins that act as regulators in immune function, metabolism and sleep.

Vgontzas and his colleagues' paper titled, "Circadian Interleukin-6 Secretion and Quantity and Depth of Sleep," is published in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Vgontzas and his team studied eight healthy young men between the ages of 20 and 29. They were all in general good health, physically active but not excessively, had no sleep complaints and were not taking any medications. Each subject took part in the experiment that lasted seven days. Each subject spent four consecutive nights in the sleep lab and was able to have a normal night of sleep. Blood was taken every half-hour for 24 hours to measure IL-6. On the fifth night subjects were made to stay up and not sleep at all. They were allowed to sleep again on nights six and seven.

"As we had thought, the amount of IL-6 in the blood was greatly increased during the day following the missed night of sleep. Subjects secreted the IL-6 during the day rather than at night. Their bodies wanted to sleep so they experienced daytime fatigue," explains Vgontzas.

Another finding of the study was that light sleep was associated with increased amount of IL-6 during the day while a good night's sleep was associated with decreased day time secretion of IL-6 and a good sense of well being. This finding means that good sleep is associated with decreased exposure of tissues to the potentially harmful actions of IL-6 on the cardiovascular system and bones. In addition, this study demonstrated that healthy people with greater amounts of deep sleep are inherently more capable of tolerating sleep loss, possibly avoiding exposure to the potentially harmful effects of increased IL-6 secretion.

The National Institutes of Health and Penn State's College of Medicine sponsored this work.. Vgontzas and his team plan further sleep studies into IL-6, including testing agents that might neutralize the secretion of IL-6.

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How Sleep Surfaces Affect Our Backs

by Bill Ancell

There are approximately three million beds and mattresses sold annually in the UK. 30% of beds and mattresses purchased are for relief from a back problem, and 35% of purchases result in a disappointment for at least one partner or both.

Traditionally, beds have been viewed as furniture, and marketed in an extremely visual way by retailers. Terms such as orthopedic have been introduced by the bed manufacturers, which, in fact, has very little meaning as to the performance of the mattress incorporated in the bed, other than to suggest some form of medical benefit. To date, there has been little or no medical research on sleep surfaces in the form of randomized controlled clinical trials anywhere in the world.

Mattresses should provide an environment in which the skeletal system is fully supported, whilst maintaining correct postural alignment. Equally, this needs to be achieved with comfort i.e. without exerting undue pressure on the soft surface tissue, bony prominences, or muscles of the sleeper. Shear forces also play a part in causing discomfort, particularly amongst the elderly. This is a stretching of the surface and deep tissue, often the cause of pressure sores in hospitals and nursing homes, one of the few areas that has been widely researched.

In 1997, MAS (Medical Agency Services) carried out a survey of 2500 physiotherapy patients, that showed that 98% of bed purchases were made without any input from a healthcare professional, although they were seeking relief from a medically related condition. Equally, back specialists are reticent to recommend any mattress, as they themselves find it difficult to purchase the correct mattress!

Interestingly, the survey also showed that lighter weight females sought more back and neck treatment where the partner was on average 50 lbs. heavier, and using a firm mattress that they were particularly happy with. The expression 'princess and the pea' is often used by lighter weight females, when questioned about firm mattresses.

Approximately, 28% of all patient visits to GPs involve some form of back or neck related pain; therefore, it is somewhat concerning when many GPs continue to recommend a hard mattress for back pain sufferers, although there is no medical evidence available to support this advice.

Hard mattresses are good for you! This phrase has been over-used, and been the cause of much disappointment for consumers. Hard or very firm beds certainly do support the skeletal system, but take little account of pressure affecting conditions, i.e. arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, bursitis, spondilosis, etc. Equally, this type of mattress can often elevate the pelvis, especially females with wider hips, causing lateral distortion of the lumbar spine and shoulder compression. Back sleepers will force the hips forwards into an unnatural position, and flatten the thoracic spine, potentially causing facet joints to lock, and irritation of sensitive joints.

Post-operative patients, particularly replacement hip recipients, having to lie supine for extensive periods to assist tissue healing, often find themselves suffering from different low back symptoms after this experience on a hard or too firm bed.

For side position sleepers, stress can be increased on the elevated hip, where the limb is brought across the pelvis. This stress would be substantially reduced if the hip in contact with the mattress was accommodated correctly, thus reducing the distance between the elevated hip and mattress surface. Many physiotherapists and other back specialists recommend the use of a pillow placed under the elevated limb, or between the knees, in order to open the gait during sleep.

Equally, height, weight, and weight distribution are key factors to take into consideration when attempting to provide low pressure, low shear, and skeletal support. Wide shouldered individuals, with smaller hips and limbs will generally experience shoulder compression on a hard mattress, although the low back is supported correctly. Narrow shouldered females particularly, with larger hips will not have sufficient upper body weight to depress the shoulder area of a hard mattress, resulting in lateral stress of the spine in the side sleeping position. These individuals will almost always have low back pain or stiffness on waking at some time, in addition to experiencing difficulties in finding the correct pillow.

Pocket sprung mattresses incorporate more springs into the mattress core in an attempt to cushion and redistribute the weight of the sleeper. The springs are normally covered with a type of fiber in order to further cushion the effect of the springs. This is an elastic surface that basically exerts a counter-pressure equal to the downwards force of the sleeper. In order to achieve a more contoured feel, and redistribute weight, many manufacturers incorporate a substantial number (hundreds) of springs.

Water beds are excellent at redistributing pressure as the weight applied is floated across the surface, which has the effect of placing more of the mattress in contact with the body. Unfortunately, weight distribution varies enormously, and as the mattress works on displacement to accommodate the sleeper, postural alignment is difficult to achieve when the larger weight (hips) forces the water to the shoulder area resulting in shoulder compression and a curved spine to side sleepers. Some water beds are compartmentalized, but the chances of getting exactly the right balance of water for both sleepers on a double bed is difficult to say the least! This problem can sometimes be resolved by altering the amount of water.

Latex is widely used in mattresses, and provides for an elastic surface that is already a cushioning surface in itself. Latex is marketed as a natural product, although 80% of the world's latex is now synthetically produced! The latex foam normally contains ventilation holes from the top to bottom surface of the core; this is also used as a way of softening certain areas of the foam core to accommodate shoulders, etc. A mattress ticking is then used to cover the mattress, and further cushioning fibre is often added. The cover is an important component of the mattress, and if it is unable to stretch, then hammocking occurs and pressure is increased on the soft tissue of the sleeper.

Quality mattresses can be very expensive. They may be made with top quality materials but if they do not provide muscular and skeletal support for that individual, then the product is incorrect and unsuitable, irrespective of the cost.

Mechanical pain affects most people at some stage in their lives and postural changes are common. Rotation of the pelvis can cause one leg to appear short, one shoulder to drop, and the head to tilt. Because of the shorter limb, weight is transferred to this leg, often resulting in sciatic pain in one of the limbs. This condition can be extremely debilitating, and a problem for back pain specialists to stabilize if the patient sleeps on an incorrect mattress. 95% of back pain problems are mechanical and can be treated successfully by chiropractors, osteopaths, and physiotherapists.

As we grow older, muscles, ligaments, and tendons shorten, generally resulting in a stiffening of the spine and associated joints. This often leads to postural changes and mechanical pain, as the skeletal system is faced with an imbalance, causing muscles to be used out of equilibrium. One hip can be loaded when walking, causing inflammation of the joint as the hip is constantly used in the wrong alignment. Facet joints of the spine can lock causing a further stiffening of the spine, resulting in back or neck pain.

Mattresses can either assist treatment of mechanical pain, or seriously hinder recovery. If the specialist is able to mobilize the affected joints, there is no point in placing stress on the affected area for eight hours during sleep, as the brain will simply trigger a guarding action, by activating muscles and ligaments to compensate for the lack of support. With deep sleepers who lie in one position for long periods, this can have the effect of allowing the muscles to get into painful spasm. Light sleepers may toss and turn all night to overcome the problem of spasm, but of course they are not getting quality sleep.

Quality sleep is an elusive commodity for millions. The complex process of attaining a quality sleep pattern can be compromised by the wrong mattress. Of course, there are many factors that can affect sleep, not least the taking of alcohol at night to aid the sleep process. Unfortunately, this is only a short term solution, as alcohol affects the natural melatonin produced, which is the hormone governing the sleep pattern. The sleeper will often wake after a few hours, and be unable to get back to sleep. Stress is an important factor when trying to physically get to sleep in the first place. Muscles will be tense, blood flow decreased, the brain will be overactive. Therefore, a comfortable, cosy, yet supportive environment, with low pressure and low shear is required in order to: allow for muscular recovery, remove pressure from bony prominences (shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles) and enable the musculo-skeletal system to relax.

The reduction of pressure will normally enable those with difficulty in staying asleep, to sleep for longer periods.

Profound sleep can have side effects if the individual has postural problems. Lying in the same position for long periods, where some form of pelvic dysfunction is identified, will certainly result in substantial muscle spasm in the lumbar area on waking.

Restlessness during sleep can be extremely frustrating for many individuals, as there is often an uncontrollable urge to continually reposition themselves before and during sleep. Restless legs is a relatively common condition, normally exacerbated by pressure to the hips when sleeping in the side position. It is much misunderstood, but increasingly suggested by specialists that excessive pressure to the soft tissue and muscle surrounding the hips causes these muscles to become traumatized with reduced circulation, resulting in stimulation of the limbs.

Sleep should be a fully remedial and refreshing experience. The average number of movements in sleep is approximately 50-80, although this can be reduced to 18-20 on the correct sleep surface. The human body has approximately 700 muscles, most of which need to relax during sleep! Certain muscles, such as calf muscles act as blood pumps and assist circulation during sleep, but most muscles associated with the spine should relax when sleeping.

Insomnia, a total lack of sleep, can be attributed in many cases to a poor or unsuitable mattress, or even something as simple as an incorrect pillow. Many insomniacs are simply over-sensitive to poor skeletal support, shoulder compression, or dysfunction of the cervical spine (neck). Stress related insomnia can be relieved when the muscular system is afforded the chance to recover during sleep, which will normally give longer periods of sleep to these sufferers.

Viscoelastic mattresses comprised of heat and weight sensitive polymers, have been shown to be of great help in reducing pressure whilst maintaining skeletal support. Used widely in hospitals and nursing homes, these mattresses conform exactly to each individual's shape, and weight distribution, and immediately reform to the new shape when turning in bed. Generally, this type of mattress is only available through a specialist source and is not normally found in retail stores. One advantage of this type of material is that two sleepers of vastly different weights can be correctly accommodated on the same mattress, avoiding the need to resort to twin beds after years of companionship during sleep.

Pillows made from visco elastic material support the skull and neck without applying undue pressure, as they conform to the exact shape of the sleeper, thus spreading the weight evenly and uniformly along the vertebrae.

Pillows are a constant cause of frustration for many. It has been shown that probably 80% of pillow problems are not related to pillows at all. The problem is normally mattress related, where the sleeper is unable to get the shoulder into the correct position, and feels the need to elevate the skull. In addition, on the wrong mattress, the skull is at a different height when sleeping on the back or side. This can have the result of forcing the head forward when turning involuntarily onto the back, resulting in neck pain, and stiffness between the shoulder blades on waking.

The shoulder should not be placed at 90 degrees to the mattress as this may trigger spasm in the trapezius muscle. The trapezius muscles perform a variety of actions, including acting as a platform for elevating the skull, and need to recover during sleep. If the shoulder is placed slightly forward on the mattress, in front of the sleeper, assuming the mattress can accommodate this position, the risk of forcing the scapula towards the spine is reduced. When positioned in the 90 degree position sleepers may wake with upper arm pain and sensation to the little and ring fingers.

If a pillow applies excessive pressure to the neck in the back sleeping position, particularly the C2, C3, vertebrae, then treatment that has been provided will almost always be compromised. Pressure can irritate the nerve sheaths, sensitive muscles, and facet joints in the neck. Equally, if the joints are not resting easy, the inflammatory process may be sustained and any recovery will be much more difficult.

Shoulder compression on a firm surface will often force the scapula (shoulder blade) towards the junction of the upper spine and neck, and affect the C6/C7 vertebrae. The nerve pathway at this site travels down the arm, and causes either upper arm pain or pins and needles in the little and ring fingers or both, especially if there is already a problem in this area.

Many shoulder problems are caused by referred pain from the neck, therefore, stabilizing the neck during sleep is of paramount importance. The skull is, in the main, held up by the shoulder muscles, therefore any compromising of these muscles during sleep will generally not be solved by a pillow, if the shoulders are being compressed for long periods.

How do you buy a bed? A question asked by so many. Surely, if the muscles and ligaments take, on average, 5-7 nights to adjust to a new mattress, how can lying in a bedding showroom for ten minutes or so be the safe route to a successful purchase?

You cannot test a bed when you are awake! Even our night attire will have an effect on the comfort level of a mattress. Tight, daytime clothing can often give a false perception of a bed, as the fabrics do not give on the mattress. Loose clothing should be the order of the day when trying a mattress in a showroom.

Involuntary movements made during sleep, are not normally tested when we are awake in a retail store. Most purchasers in showrooms test their prospective purchase lying on their back, although they sleep on their side for the most part.

Many European retailers allow purchasers to try a bed or mattress for at least a week. Therefore, in order to rest easier, you may have to insist that the retailer allow you to trial the bed or mattress at home!

About the Author

Bill Ancell is the Managing Director of Medical Agency Services (MAS) Ltd. In recent years he has concentrated on designing marketing strategies for healthcare products to both the medical sector and consumers. In 1993, Bill was introduced to visco-elastic materials and became fascinated by the implications of sleep surfaces and the lack of credible medical evidence on mattresses and beds in general.

In 1994 MAS started work with osteopaths, physiotherapists, and chiropractors, in order to gain more knowledge about mechanical pain and the effect of mattresses on treatment provided. MAS currently deals with over 4000 clinics throughout the UK.

Advice from Wendy Emberson MCSP SRP, Chartered Physiotherapist:

  1. If you sleep well on your current mattress and get up feeling lithe and ready for the day - do nothing.

  2. If your mattress is too firm, i.e. your shoulders and hips don't sink into the bed, and you feel as though you're balanced on top of the bed rather than supported by it - then consider the possibility of buying an overlay of the new viscoelastic polymer material.

  3. If your mattress sags in the middle - then consider buying a new supportive mattress that allows for your shape and weight. You may prefer a conventionally sprung mattress - not too firm and probably with standard posture springing. You may like to try the viscoelastic material as a full thickness mattress.

  4. Pain in the neck and shoulders? Sleep with one pillow. Again there are now pillows in this same material. But also look carefully at your mattress - if your shoulders don't sink into the bed then you may be pushing your shoulders into your neck and causing the pain.

  5. Don't forget to check your children's beds as well. They can suffer disturbed nights just like adults. (With the increase in back pain in children, their beds are equally important.)

  6. If you are not sure whether your mattress is a problem, then ask someone who has the required knowledge - not just an opinion!

  7. Ask the supplier if you can return the mattress within a specified time, if it does not improve your night's sleep. You cannot tell by lying on a showroom bed for a few minutes. After all, if you are allowed to test drive a car, then why not a bed?

  8. Buying a new bed can be an expensive mistake. It is not just the cost of the bed, but the loss of work, the loss of income to both employer and employee, and the enormous personal cost in terms of pain and possible disability that can be reduced and maybe even avoided. Most people will keep a bed for about 10 years. Make sure you don't buy 10 years of avoidable pain!

Wendy Emberson, MCSP, SRP is the Public Relations Officer for PhysioFirst [The Organisation of Chartered Physiotherapists in Private Practice] Her main areas of specialist work are with orthopaedic medical conditions including backs, necks and sports injuries.

Having Trouble Sleeping?
Magnetic Therapy Solutions to Improve Sleep due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other causes of insomnia.
Bruce Spiegler, Reg. Magnetic Therapy Practitioner, H.H.P.

The Facts...

Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and is essential if you are to feel your best during the day. Sleep requirements vary widely, but most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Lack of sleep impairs your ability to function properly during the day. 1-in-3 American adults (over 56 million) lose 20 hours of sleep each month due to nighttime pain and sleeplessness. That's the equivalent of three full nights of sleep.

Those who complain of nighttime pain experience back pain most, followed by headaches, muscular aches and pains, and arthritis pain.

Sleep loss decreases the entire brain's ability to function, most significantly impairing the areas of the brain responsible for attention, complex planning, complex mental operations, and judgment. Until recently, most scientists did not believe that lack of sleep caused any significant physical problems. A study at the University of Chicago, Dept. of Medicine found that sleep debt has a harmful effect on endocrine function and carbohydrate metabolism and may increase the severity of chronic disorders, including the sensation of pain. The impact of lack of sleep on the body is astounding. When healthy young men in there 20's were allowed only four hours sleep per night for six consecutive nights their blood test results nearly matched those of diabetics. In addition, they had elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to hypertension and memory impairment.

How do the seasons affect our sleep?

The process of sleep is not fully understood, but we do know that when it is dark, the pineal gland (a magnetically sensitive gland located in the center of the brain) secretes a hormone called melatonin, which is believed to induce sleep. The results of a study conducted at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York on "seasonal affective disorder" found there is strong indication that changes in the earth's magnetic field alter melatonin secretion by the pineal gland, which synchronizes our circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms control our sleep/wake cycle, also known as our biological clock. During the winter months the earth's magnetic field diminishes in strength, leading to increased susceptibility for desynchronization of circadian rhythms and "seasonal affective disorder," characterized by recurrent winter depression associated with hypersomnia, overeating, and carbohydrate craving. The study also found that when the earth's magnetic field is shielded it significantly desynchronizes man's circadian rhythms, which could gradually be resynchronized with the application of a supplemental magnetic field. The practical application of which would be to sleep on a magnetic mattress or mattress pad.

Pain and sleep...

Difficulty in sleeping (insomnia) can take various forms or patterns: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and early wakening. Pain effects sleep patterns: arthritis, leg cramps, fibromyalgia, restless legs syndrome, and other forms of musculoskeletal pain can all interfere with your sleep patterns.

The most common reason for sleep problems for people with pain is the pain itself. While people with discomfort may eventually be able to fall asleep, the pain awakens them throughout the night, and they feel exhausted the next day. Although they may get many hours of sleep, they are fatigued during the day due to poor quality of sleep.

Sleep consists of two very different states: rapid-eye-movement (REM) and Non-REM sleep. In REM sleep (when dreams occur) your eyes move under your lids, your heartbeat quickens, your body processes speed up, and you toss and turn, which further aggravates a painful condition. Many people wake up in the morning feeling stiff or sore, which can also be a sign that your mattress is no longer comfortable or supportive.

There are several stages of Non-REM sleep, but we will concern ourselves with the deepest stage (stage 4). During this time the body repairs itself and restores lost energy, utilizing a hormone called somatostatin. Lack of stage 4 sleep is believed to be an important factor in chronically painful conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Improving the quality of your sleep...

For anyone who experiences even minor difficulty in sleeping, some simple, common sense measures to help you sleep are:

  • Avoid alcoholic drinks in the late evening. Alcohol may help sleep onset, but can cause early morning wakefulness.

  • Cut back on coffee, tea, and other sources of caffeine, especially in the evening.

  • Avoid eating a large, late-evening meal and heavy, fatty foods before going to bed.

  • Take a walk or do some light exercise such as yoga or Qi Gung before going to bed.

  • Don't use your bedroom as a place to work.

  • Have a warm milk drink before going to bed. Milk products contain an amino acid precursor that boosts serotonin in the brain.

  • Take a warm (NOT HOT) bath (not a shower) before going to bed.

  • Avoid naps if they interfere with your normal sleep pattern.

  • If unable to fall asleep within 20-30 minutes of lying down, get up and do something else until you feel sleepy. This way your body does not associate your bed with wakefulness.

  • Exercise during the day.

For those of you with difficulty sleeping due to nighttime pain or suffer from other forms of insomnia, complementary and alternative therapies are noninvasive and tend to be free of side effects. They enhance physical and emotional well-being and help to relieve and control your symptoms. They are also an important part of an overall wellness program to help maintain your health.

Clinical studies have shown that a properly designed magnetic sleep system provides many benefits to those suffering from nighttime pain and sleeplessness, and those waking up with stiff or sore muscles. Therion Advanced Biomagnetics Sleep Systems takes magnetic sleep systems to the next level by using a multi-therapeutic approach to relieve pain and stress, and vastly improve the quality of your sleep.

Sleep & Magnetic Mattress Pads

How does lack of sleep affect our lives?

Sleep is a key part of maintaining your health, affecting everything in your life, from how you feel to your relationships with others. Lack of sleep negatively affects your physical health, your ability to handle stress, and your general mood. Even one night of disrupted or missed sleep can reduce productivity and increase the chances of accidents at home or work.

Lack of sleep compromises your body's immune system and adversely affects metabolism and memory. On average, people are 50% less successful at simple memory tests after a sleepless night, because the entire brain's ability to function decreases.

One-in-three American adults (over 56 million) experience nighttime sleeplessness due to back pain, headaches, and muscle aches and pains, losing an average of 20 hours of sleep per month - the equivalent of nearly three full nights of sleep. More than 60% of adults over the age of 50 suffer from sleeplessness due to arthritic pain at night.

The earth's magnetic field is essential to all life

The earth's natural magnetic field plays an important role in maintaining proper electromagnetic balance of the body's internal systems. Currently, the earth's magnetic field measures 0.4 gauss. Several thousand years ago the earth's magnetic field measured 4 gauss, which was 1000% stronger than it is today.

Why is this happening?

Scientists are able to determine the alignment of the earth's magnetic poles, as well as the strength of the earth's magnetic field through measurements of iron-rich minerals in sediment samples taken from deep within the earth. Samples dating back 3 billion years have shown that the earth's magnetic poles reverse approximately every 200,000 years, which is believed to be the result of directional shifts in the earth's molten core.

Recently, a team of researchers at UCLA used super computers to analyze data from 33 of these samples, and re-create a history of the earth's magnetic field dating back 800,000 years. The computer model clearly showed that the earth's magnetic field declines dramatically over a several thousand-year period preceding a magnetic pole reversal. This data has lead many scientists believe that the rapid decline in the earth's magnetic field over the past several thousand years is a clear indication that a pole reversal is underway.

How does this affect us?

Scientists are now certain that the declining magnetic field detrimentally affects life on earth. In addition, many scientists believe that modern technology, such as steel structure buildings, cars, and trains absorb the earth's magnetic field, causing a further reduction in its strength.

Since these conditions are very recent developments in the history of man's existence on earth, it seems logical that the human body has not had time to adapt to the earth's rapidly decreasing magnetic field; hence the rapid increase in the rate of chronic illnesses worldwide. Following 20 years of research, Dr. Kyoichi Nagawa, a leading scientist in the field of biomagnetics, concluded that the much weaker magnetic field of modern times has caused what he has termed magnetic deficiency syndrome. The symptoms include stiffness in the shoulders, back and neck; insomnia; chest pains; headaches; and dizziness. The long-term consequences of magnetic deficiency syndrome include the development of chronic and degenerative diseases; the loss of normal healing ability; and increased susceptibility to infections and the effects of environmental toxins.

Can anything be done to help?

Dr. Nagawa, as well as other researchers and medical professionals, believes that correcting this deficiency can easily be accomplished by supplementing the earth's magnetic field with a magnetic mattress pad using negative (north) polarity. Three double-blind clinical studies (two in the U.S. and one in Japan) have shown that properly designed magnetic mattress pads are effective in relieving chronic pain and improving quality of sleep, and that pain relief continued to improve over time.

Why Therion® magnetic sleep products?

Clinical studies have shown that a properly designed magnetic sleep system provides many benefits to those suffering from nighttime pain and sleeplessness, and those waking up with stiff or sore muscles.

Therion Advanced Biomagnetics Sleep Systems takes magnetic sleep systems to the next level by using a multi-therapeutic approach to relieve discomfort, and improve the quality of your sleep.

Why is Prevention So Important?
Bruce Spiegler, Reg. Magnetic Therapy Practitioner, H.H.P.
Steven Schenkman, President Emeritus, New York College for Health Professions

One of the least known and least practiced aspects of medicine is prevention. If you look at a list of medical specialists that have evolved in our system of western medicine, you will not find a Doctor of Preventive Medicine. You will find a physician for every part of our body -- but none for the whole.

Most people do not realize that the essence of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), which finds much of its roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine, really has to do with prevention. It is a little known fact that traditional Chinese doctors were paid on a regular schedule to maintain the total health of their patients. In other words, they were paid to prevent them from getting sick. They would accomplish this by providing regular acupuncture, herbal treatments and other therapies, as well as nutritional counseling. If one of their patients suddenly became ill, the physician's payment was immediately stopped and he was required to treat his patient for free until his health was brought back to normal. At that time, the patient resumed his regular payment schedule to his physician for the prevention of disease and the maintenance of his health. The patient was required to follow through with all of the care and treatment recommendations his physician would make. So in essence, the patient was accepting responsibility for his or her own well-being and practicing prevention.

Even today with the tremendous growth of the complementary and alternative medicine industry we often see that CAM practitioners are being used in the same way that we use our Western trained physicians. That is, if we have a problem we go to the doctor to be cared for. Although there is nothing wrong with seeking help when needed, if we look a little closer we see that there tends to be a certain lack of responsibility for our own health. This is largely due to the expectation that our health care practitioner will take care of our difficulties when they arise, so for the most part we have done little or nothing to take care of them ourselves.

Let's look at this from a different perspective for a moment. Think of a business that has a lot of customers who really depend on a product that the business produces. Now think of your body as being the only machine that produces this product, so everything depends on your working at peak efficiency. If you are properly maintained you will run for many years with only a few minor adjustments. If you are not properly maintained, you break down -- and then what happens? You have a lot of unhappy customers and coworkers. In life, those unhappy people are your family and friends; and you're pretty miserable yourself because, unlike a machine, you have feelings and emotions.

So now that we all feel like a broken popcorn machine in a movie theater on opening night, what are we supposed to do about it? The first step is to accept responsibility for our own physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

The time to start is now!

As we become older, chronic musculoskeletal conditions and injuries become more common. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, over 43 million Americans suffer from arthritis, and nearly 50% of people over the age of 65 have the disease. The CDC reports arthritis sufferers have "a substantially worse" health-related quality of life than those without arthritis. Musculoskeletal problems account for 40% of all work related injuries and diseases worldwide, with back injuries alone accounting for nearly half of that number.

Preventing back injury...

Chronic back pain is usually the result of many years of repeated stress due to an acute injury or a series of injuries. Your spine works 24/7, and if you are out of shape or stressed, you are more prone to back injury. Over time, repetitive stress can cause parts of the spine to degenerate. The condition of your spine at the time of an injury is an important factor in determining how fast you will recover, as well as the risk of the injury turning into a chronic back condition. Your spine has three natural curves:

  1. Cervical -- inward curve at your neck

  2. Thoracic -- outward curve of your middle back

  3. Lumbar -- inward curve in your lower back

Good posture is the result of the proper positioning of your spine, which is properly maintained by having good muscle tone. Recommendations for a healthy back:

  • Learn how to lift, move objects, and reach for things correctly. When lifting, let your legs do most of the work and hold the item close to your body, regardless of its weight.

  • If you smoke, QUIT. Nicotine decreases blood flow to your back, which makes you more prone to injury and increases healing time.

  • Walk or swim everyday. (But don't forget to check with your doctor first.)

  • Change your position periodically during the day. Standing or sitting for too long may aggravate (or even cause) a back problem.

  • Exercises to strengthen your back muscles and improve flexibility, as well as relaxation techniques to relieve stress, can be very helpful. Be sure to have a qualified professional design a program that is right for you.

What Therion products can help a chronic back problem?

  • If you are uncomfortable sitting for long periods, use a magnetic seat pad. A combination of high resiliency and viscoelastic foams relieve the pressure on your back. A deep-penetrating magnetic field is produced throughout the entire pad, relaxing muscles and improving blood circulation.

  • There is also a lumbar cushion available for the pad. Elastic straps and clips to hold it securely in place as it comfortably and properly supports curvature of the spine.

  • Wear a low back brace to help support the natural curve of your spine and relieve stress on your back. Therion's low back support provides a deep-penetrating magnetic field to relieve discomfort. Patented Stomatex neoprene regulates the amount of body heat retained, while providing excellent support and stability for your lower back -- without sacrificing comfort.

  • If your back bothers you while sleeping, try the Advanced Biomagnetics® System 2000. You'll feel like you're floating on air as the viscoelastic memory foam adjusts to your body, relieving pressure on your spine for proper alignment. The magnetic mattress pad soothes your body as its therapeutic magnetic field relaxes muscles and improves blood flow.

Preventing other types of musculoskeletal injury

As we all know there are countless ways that we can injure ourselves, so what we will try to address are some basic prevention recommendations to help keep you from injuring or re-injuring your muscles, bones and joints.

To help prevent falls:

  • Make sure that hallways and stairwells are well lit.

  • Remove or repair anything that could make you trip (loose rugs, electrical cords, toys, etc.)

  • Install handrails on inside and outside stairways.

  • Install traction strips in bathtubs.

  • Rub the bottoms of new shoes on a rough surface, such as concrete before using them to avoid slipping.

  • If you live in a cold climate be sure to put salt or sand on the walkways.

When you are away from home:

  • Watch out for slippery surfaces, curbs and other obstructions while walking.

  • Always wear seat belts while in the car.

  • Never drive after drinking alcohol or while taking certain medications.

  • Be alert for hazards in your workplace and follow all safety rules.

Magnetic therapy has been shown to be very effective in relieving the symptoms of chronic musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Numerous scientific studies and articles are available to you in the Learning Center.

Orthopedic supports and braces have been shown to be very effective in the prevention of injury and for the relief of musculoskeletal symptoms due to an injury or chronic condition. A large-scale study conducted by UCLA on the use of back supports in the work place for prevention of injury, found there was a 34% drop in on-the-job injuries after the back-support policy was implemented.

Are you proactive about your health?

Whether you're a weekend warrior, enjoy playing golf or other sports, or prefer to just relax at home, you owe it to yourself and your family to stay healthy. If you have a chronic condition or a weak area prone to injury, you have to be proactive in order to prevent further injury. By not taking preventative measures, you greatly increase your risk of injury.

Be careful how you bend or perform a task; try not to twist or turn suddenly; and wear the appropriate support or wrap for added stability and relief of discomfort. Therion supports are uniquely designed to provide you with numerous therapeutic benefits with Maximum Field Integration™ and Stomatex® construction. These are the only supports in existence that are comfortable to wear during any level of activity, in any climate, for as long as needed.

While there is no way to completely prevent injuries, if you follow the recommendations provided here, you can substantially reduce your risk of further injury -- and most importantly, the days, weeks, or months that it would take to recover.

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Therion Research - Magnetic therapy for chronic pain management, natural healing, arthritis, and inflammation relief.

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