Cancer remains one of the most prominent medical conditions in the world. It is one of the leading causes of death globally. In 2018, the world saw an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases with about 9.5 million cancer-related deaths. That number is expected to only go up.
The good news is that new treatments and therapies for cancer are constantly being researched. Current treatments typically involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, which can be effective but often results in severe side effects, a weakened immune system, and long, difficult recovery periods. Newer alternative therapies focus on treating the cancer while minimizing recovery periods and side effects.
One such treatment is biomagnetic therapy. Growing research suggests the promise of biomagnetic therapy for cancer and a variety of other health conditions. Read on to learn more about biomagnetic therapy. So, what is magnetic therapy?
Understanding Biomagnetic Therapy
Biomagnetic therapy, also referred to as simply magnetic therapy, harnesses the power of magnets and magnetic fields to:
- Bring about physiological changes
- Boost your physical health
- Potentially treat certain conditions
So, what is magnetic therapy used for? Using magnets to affect health is not a new idea by any means. Some reports suggest that the practice goes as far back as 2,000 years ago when healers in Asia and Europe believed that magnets could be used to pull diseases and impurities out of the body.
Today, the idea behind magnetic therapy lies in the body’s own magnetism. Your body naturally has a weak magnetic field, and it generates electricity (at a small scale), which allows for nerves and cells to communicate and keeps your body functioning as it should. Every molecule in your body possesses a small amount of electromagnetic energy. Health issues may disrupt these magnetic fields, preventing them from properly operating. Applying a magnet or magnetic field may help to balance your biomagnetic field.
Furthermore, these magnetic fields are influenced by ions like calcium and potassium. Ions are charged particles that play a role in how your cells send signals and communicate with each other. By using magnetic therapy, you can potentially change how those ions act and function to benefit your overall health. We even cover specific magnetic therapy benefits.
Some companies that sell therapeutic magnets also claim that the magnets help to increase blood flow wherever the magnet is worn. Increased blood flow suggests more oxygen and nutrients brought to the area, allowing for faster healing.
Types of Biomagnetic Therapy
Biomagnetic therapy comes in several forms with varying applications. This includes:
Static Magnetic Field Therapy
With this form of therapy, a magnet of some kind is placed in direct contact with your skin. This can involve a magnetic bracelet or other jewelry that has been magnetized. Learn here, do magnetic bracelets work? Magnets may also appear as shoe insoles or a type of bandage. Some companies have also developed special mattress pads that contain magnets. You can sleep on these mattress pads and receive magnetic therapy at the same time.
Magnetic Therapy with Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a common component of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting needles into specific points of the body to enact specific physiological responses, from improving digestion to relieving chronic pain. An acupuncturist can combine acupuncture needles with magnets to further support the opening of “energy pathways.”
Electromagnetic therapy involves magnets that are charged with electricity, which also usually means the presence of an electric pulse which makes it a form of pulsed magnetic therapy.
What is Biomagnetic Therapy Used For?
Research on how doctors can use biomagnetic therapy is still ongoing, but considering the broad mechanisms involved, magnetic therapy may have a wide range of potential applications.
General Pain Relief
Magnetic therapy is most commonly cited for relieving pain in a variety of health conditions. This includes arthritis, muscle strains, and post-polio syndrome.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects the muscles and soft tissues throughout the entire body. Researchers believe this disorder is caused by the way the brain and spinal cord process both painful and non painful signals, resulting in extremely amplified muscle pain sensations. Fibromyalgia is most often characterized by widespread pain affecting the entire musculoskeletal system, manifesting as a constant dull ache. People with fibromyalgia also experience fatigue as a result of sleep disruptions from the pain, as well as other sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. “Fibro fog” is another common primary symptom that causes impairments in a person’s ability to focus, pay attention, or perform mental tasks.
Studies suggest that static magnetic field therapy may help to reduce some symptoms of fibromyalgia. Participants with fibromyalgia who used magnetic sleep pads showed some slight improvements in pain intensity level, functional status, tender point count, and tender point intensity following six months of treatment. However, further research is necessary to determine the true effectiveness of magnetic therapy.
Traditionally, fibromyalgia is treated using medication and self-care strategies. Medication is designed to reduce pain and improve sleep. This usually involves over-the-counter pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medication. Therapies for fibromyalgia include occupational and physical therapy, along with general counseling to deal with the stress and other difficulties of the disorder.
Insomnia affects about 25 million people in the country. Consistent periods of inadequate sleep can have severe effects on a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health and potentially pose a danger to others.
For a majority of cases, insomnia can be cured with behavior therapy, targeting underlying causes, and improving general sleep hygiene habits. However, a study suggests that magnetic therapy, in the form of impulse magnetic field therapy, may be beneficial for insomnia. A significant number of patients given active treatment experienced substantial or complete relief of symptoms.
Magnetic Therapy and Cancer
Some researchers believe that biomagnetic therapy may be applied to cancer as a means of reducing tumor growth. One mouse study found that exposing mice to magnetic fields for 360 minutes per day for upwards of four weeks helped to suppress the growth of tumors. Exact mechanisms of action require further study, but the study suggests that exposure to magnetic fields causes tumors to experience cell death via apoptosis, the normal process wherein cells die to maintain the balance of cells within the body.
Other studies suggest the potential of magnetic nanoparticles. The nanoparticles can be delivered directly into tumor cells and then activated using alternating magnetic fields. This essentially causes the magnetic nanoparticles to heat up, allowing for a form of hyperthermia therapy, a treatment that involves applying high temperatures to abnormal tissues, effectively killing them. In fact, magnetic therapy is very promising in killing the cancer cells.
Who Should Not Use Biomagnetic Therapy
While biomagnetic therapy is relatively safe and presents few (if any) side effects, it should not be used by people who use a pacemaker or insulin pump or by anyone who is pregnant. Any magnetic items that you wear should be removed before getting an X-ray or entering an MRI. Magnetic field therapy may cause pain, nausea, or dizziness to some people.
Research on biomagnetic therapy is still ongoing. While it may present a minimally invasive treatment, more studies are necessary to understand how effective magnets can actually be in treating any sort of disease, as well as the specifics of intensity and treatment longevity. If you have cancer, consult your doctor to determine a treatment plan that works for your health.
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.