Washington, Jan 7 (UNI) Magnets, been touted for their healing properties since ancient Greece, is still widely used for various treatments from arthritis to depression.
A recent study demonstrates that the use of an acute, localised static magnetic field of moderate strength can result in significant reduction of swelling when applied immediately after an inflammatory injury.
Lack of regulation and widespread public acceptance have turned magnetic therapy into a five billion dollars world market with consumers buying bracelets, knee braces, shoe inserts, mattresses, and other products that are embedded with magnets for a non-invasive and drug-free cure for their ailments, the Science Daily reported.
''The FDA regulates specific claims of medical efficacy, but in general static magnetic fields are viewed as safe,'' stated Thomas Skalak, professor and chair of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia.
While experimenting on laboratory rats the researchers found that magnets increases blood flow.
Dilation of blood vessels is often a major cause of swelling at sites of trauma to soft tissues such as muscles or ligaments.
Since muscle bruising and joint sprains are the most common injuries worldwide, this discovery has significant implications.
''If an injury doesn't swell, it will heal faster and the person will experience less pain and better mobility,'' stated Dr Skalak.
This means that magnets could be used much the way ice packs and compression are now used for everyday sprains, bumps, and bruises, but with more beneficial results.
Researchers envisions the magnets being particularly useful to high school, college, and professional sports teams.
The ready availability and low cost of this treatment could produce huge gains in worker productivity and quality of life.
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