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Magnetic Pain Relief Bracelets 'Really Work' - 12/17/04
Magnetic Pain Relief Bracelets 'Really Work'
Daily Mail - JENNY HOPE
12/17/2004

MAGNETIC bracelets worn by thousands to relieve the agony of arthritis really work, a study of sufferers suggests.

The gadgets, which cost between Pounds 30 and Pounds 50, ' significantly reduce' pain if the magnetic field is strong enough, the research shows.

They were tested by medical experts commissioned by the Arthritis Research Campaign to try to decide conclusively whether they were genuinely effective or a marketing gimmick.

Researchers used 194 patients aged 45 to 80 who had osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. Some were given a standard- strength magnetic bracelet, others a weak one, and the rest a dummy version with no magnetism at all.

The researchers found pain was significantly reduced in the patients wearing the standard bracelet compared to the dummy one.

There was little difference between the group wearing weak magnets and those wearing the dummy magnets, says a report on the study in today's British Medical Journal.

The analysts, from the Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, said they could not explain the effect.

Some doctors suggest an imbalance in the body's magnetic field can lead to pain and disease, and that an electric current produced by bracelets somehow improves circulation. Around 760,000 people in the UK suffer from osteoarthritis, making three million visits a year to GPs for the condition.

Manufacturers claim the bracelets can reduce pain in a variety of conditions, but research has proved contradictory, with some studies showing pain reduction and others reporting no effect at all.

The researchers concluded that magnetic bracelets were clinically useful, but higher strength magnets were necessary.

They said taking painkillers such as paracetamol costs at least Pounds 20 a year and might cause side effects.

'Larger investigations should now test the safety of magnets relative to the well-known risks of analgesics,' they added.

They said the bracelets should be used to supplement treatments already being taken by sufferers, rather than replacing them.

A spokesman for the Arthritis Research Campaign said: 'Results appear to show that they do reduce pain in people with hip and knee osteoarthritis although it is still unclear how. As they are quite cheap and safe, people with osteoarthritis might want to consider wearing them as part of their self-help regime.'

(C) 2004 Daily Mail. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved





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