Merck Manual

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Magnet Therapy

By

Denise Millstine

, MD, Mayo Clinic

Last full review/revision Feb 2019| Content last modified Feb 2019
Click here for the Professional Version

Magnet therapy (an energy therapy) uses static magnetic fields or electromagnetic fields. Practitioners place magnets on the body to reduce pain or enhance healing. Magnets may or may not be connected to an electric charge. (See also Overview of Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine.)

Medicinal uses

Magnets, in particular, are used in treatment for various musculoskeletal conditions and pain. Magnets are marketed in clothing, jewelry, and mattresses to relieve pain.

Static magnet therapy remains scientifically unproven, especially for pain relief, which is one of the most common applications. Well-designed studies of static magnets indicate that they are not effective for chronic pain, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Possible side effects

It is not clear whether magnet therapy is safe for the following people:

  • Pregnant women (the effects on the fetus are unknown)

  • People who have implanted pumps and devices

  • People who take a drug by patch

More Information

  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH): Magnets for Pain

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
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