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What is the history of the discovery and use of magnets to treat pain?

Magnets have been used for many centuries in attempts to treat pain.a By various accounts, this use began when people first noticed the presence of naturally magnetized stones, also called lodestones. Other accounts trace the beginning to a shepherd noticing that the nails in his sandals were pulled out by some stones. By the third century A.D., Greek physicians were using rings made of magnetized metal to treat arthritis and pills made of magnetized amber to stop bleeding. In the Middle Ages, doctors used magnets to treat gout, arthritis, poisoning, and baldness; to probe and clean wounds; and to retrieve arrowheads and other iron-containing objects from the body.

In the United States, magnetic devices (such as hairbrushes and insoles), magnetic salves, and clothes with magnets applied came into wide use after the Civil War, especially in some rural areas where few doctors were available. Healers claimed that magnetic fields existed in the blood, organs, or elsewhere in the body and that people became ill when their magnetic fields were depleted. Thus, healers marketed magnets as a means of "restoring" these magnetic fields. Magnets were promoted as cures for paralysis, asthma, seizures, blindness, cancer, and other conditions. The use of magnets to treat medical problems remained popular well into the 20th century. More recently, magnets have been marketed for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including pain, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, circulatory problems, arthritis, rheumatism, and stress.

a Sources for this historical discussion include references 1, 4, and 5.

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Medical Warning& Copyright Info: For Ages 13+ This product is NOT being sold as a Medical Device or to replace professionally prescribed Medical treatment. Consult your Doctor before use. DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, WEAR A PACEMAKER, OR ANY OTHER FORM OF ELECTRICAL IMPLANT OR DEVICE FOR MEDICAL REASONS OF ANY KIND. >> Click here for more information

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