On magnets and holy water
- September 25, 2007 1:34 PM |
- By Peter Hadzipetros
So we may be throwing our money away if we buy those magnets that are supposed to ease our aches and pains.
Nobody told that to one of the pitchers in last Friday night's baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Don't recall his name, but I do remember the half dozen or so magnetic necklaces he was wearing. The play-by-play announcer noticed them, too. Said that a lot of ballplayers use them to alleviate muscle soreness — and that it must work because a lot of players use them. Then he gave the brand name of the necklace the player was wearing and directed viewers to a website.
Selling magnets for pain relief is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are estimates that as many as 28 per cent of people with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia use static magnets or copper bracelets for pain relief. Static magnets — also called permanent magnets — generate a magnetic field by the spin of electrons within the magnet itself. Electromagnets use an electric current to generate a magnetic field — not too efficient if you want to carry it around in a bracelet.
The theory is that a magnetic field can increase blood flow, causing more oxygen, nutrients, hormones and painkilling endorphins to be distributed to tissues in the affected area.
But the CMAJ says magnets cannot be recommended as an effective treatment.
Too bad. I was thinking of carrying as many as I could while running my next marathon, in hopes of avoiding that post-race full-body seize up.
Copper bracelets are supposed to help ease pain, too. Seems copper's been used as a pain treatment since the time of the ancient Greeks. I do know someone who swore by that remedy, although the only difference I could see in him was a green ring around his wrist.
Maybe I'll turn to the remedies of a not-so-ancient Greek. I remember once driving my mother to an intersection in north-end Montreal.
"Wait to the car," she told me as she got out.
I watched as she walked into the middle of that intersection — under the light of a full moon — and smashed a small bottle that contained a few ounces of water blessed by a priest. Didn't help her pain. But sure kept away the evil eye.
All News blogs
Back of the Pack
- The rewards and risks of extreme exercise
- It's rare that someone dies running a marathon or half marathon. Extraordinarily rare when three people die. Yet that's what happened in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009. Within 16 minutes, three men collapsed and died while running the half marathon... Continue reading this post
- The golden age of running
- For those of us who like to lace up a pair of over-priced running shoes and move one foot in front of the other a little more quickly than most people would like to, this is the best time of... Continue reading this post
- Late night calories could pack bigger punch for your paunch
- We've all pretty much accepted the notion that if we burn as many calories as we consume, our weight will remain stable. Add some exercise to the mix and your body will burn more than it takes in and you'll... Continue reading this post