Magnetic Bell Boot
Magnetic therapy dates back to the Yellow Emperor's book of Internal Medicine around 2000 BC, which mentions the use of magnetic stones to correct imbalances in health. Egyptians and Hindus in India as well as the Greeks all mention the use of some form of magnetic therapy. Modern discovery of the electron has allowed us to understand more about the affects.
We live in an environment filled with stress-producing electromagnetic fields generated by such things as electrical wiring in homes and barns, computers, televisions, microwave ovens, power lines, overhead lights and other electrical equipment. Add these fields on top of the earth's natural electromagnetic fields such as underground streams and fault zones and we end up with a mixed bag of electromagnetic fields that are not supportive of mammals. These stress-producing fields may often be very supportive to insects and other "pests" such as molds, bacteria and less evolved life forms.
Scientists believe that earth's electromagnetic field is dwindling as a result of many impacts, as are our own bodies and those of our animals. Japanese researcher K. Nakagawa, MD (1) pointed out that the earth's magnetic field has diminished in half over the last 500 years. Both Japanese and Russian scientists (2,3) have concluded that humans and other animals are subject to "Magnetic Field Deficiency Syndrome" (MFDS) as a result of weakened magnetism. Symptoms may include chronic fatigue syndrome, stiff shoulders, back and neck, headaches, chest pains, heaviness of the head, dizziness, insomnia, constipation and general fatigue. Long-term biological consequences of MFDS can cause chronic degenerative diseases, the loss of normal healing ability, weak immune function, and a diminished effectiveness of oxidoreductase enzymes. These enzymes help in the reversal of free radical acids back to molecular oxygen, and the maintenance of the pH at a normal alkaline state. The proper magnetic field can activate the "paramagnetic bicarbonates" in the body and activate these enzymes.
Originating from the earth, the weather, the sun, numerous electrical devices and even our bodies, magnetic fields are everywhere. Almost anything can be magnetized. Magnetism happens on an atomic level where electrons can be directed to all spin in the same direction. Magnetism is an alignment of electrons in iron or other material in a uniform direction between opposite magnetic poles, forming a balance of positive and negative fields. Magnetic fields affect other matter by attracting or repelling the electrons in the other objects (i.e., animal body). Our bodies are "paramagnetic materials" and each individual is slightly different.
Researchers have shown that the body's brain emits magnetic fields and these may control the entire body chemistry through these subtle magnetic fields. A magnetoencephalogram (MEG) can measure the brain's pulsed frequencies. These can be equated to the brain waves states of beta, alpha, theta, and delta. Each body has a unique "endogenous field" similar to its unique DNA. Changes in this field can be measured during illness, sleep, physical activity and other functions. Scientists suspect that each organ and system in the body may well have its own specific magnetic field required to operate normally.
Magnetic fields provide two types of energy response: the negative field spins electrons counterclockwise and the positive field spins electrons clockwise. The field of a magnet is the region around it where objects are affected by its magnetic force. Field lines or "lines of flux" are closer together at the poles of the magnet where the field is stronger. Magnets are stronger and have more field activity on the edges as well.
Magnetic field strength is rated in either tesla (T) or gauss (g). Most magnets used in healing are in the range of 200-3000 gauss. One tesla is the same as 10,000 gauss. Stronger is not necessarily better for healing and often it is the number of flux lines that offer the most opportunity for healing.
Static vs. Current
Magnetism and electromagnetism cannot be separated. An electric current produces a magnetic field around it and Faraday (4) showed that a moving magnet can produce electrical activity. So although sending an electrical current or "pulsed magnetic fields" may have a stronger appearance, moving or rotating magnets can also create a subtle electrical current. Although many pulsed devices seem to have an impact on biological systems, only one frequency has been allocated for pulsating medical devices -- 27.12 MHz, chosen to avoid interference with radio stations. So most studies have only been able to use that frequency. At some point, similar to cell phones, pulsed alternating and direct current devices may be harmful. These studies have not been done to date. Much more research is needed to determine the long-term beneficial effects of pulsed magnetic fields to biological systems.
North Pole vs. South Pole
Another controversial topic is which poles are best for healing. A magnet's pole is determined by the direction of the spin of electrons. Magnets have unpaired electrons and, when brought close to an object, affect other unpaired electrons. Some researchers claim that the negative pole magnets offer the safest and most therapeutic treatment. Physic research does not support these claims because of the nature of magnets. All magnets can affect the body with positive and negative charged electrons looking for other unpaired electrons. However, current thinking supports the use of negative magnets for use to decrease inflammation and conditions that need sedating or slowing down. Positive magnets are most often used for conditions that need speeding up. Mixed pole magnets offer the body a selection of electrons. Mixed pole magnets that move give the body a broad opportunity to choose electrons.
Neodymium vs. high ferrite magnets
In 1983, looking for lighter weight magnets, scientists discovered they could combine rare earth metals or iron, boron, and neodymium and the resulting compound would stay magnetized for a long time. Coated usually in chrome or other hard casing metals (gold, silver), these magnets are very strong and durable and often used in acupoint treatment. High ferrite magnets are heavy, but are composed almost completely of natural iron with no other contaminants. Since magnets operate similar to electricity, any other material the magnets are composed of have the chance of entering the body via cell membranes as the electrons come off looking for other electrons. Iron is natural to the body and even as it breaks down, the magnets are safe.
In general, magnets are safe to use. The more you know about the environmental electromagnetic fields of the earth where you are wishing to use magnets, as well as your animal, the better knowledge you will have for selection. For example, a horse in a field might respond well wearing a low level magnet product, but in the stable it may have no affect due to the strong draw of electrons from the water and electric pipes. If flies are present on a horse, magnetic high ferrite hoof boots may take care of the problem. But if all the horses in the barn have flies, it is probably an environmental issue, not the animal. Then using high ferrite magnets around the stalls and barns may change the low level field to be more supportive for mammals. Flies and insects are attracted to low-level electromagnetic fields.
When using magnets that do not allow for much movement, it may be best to use negative poles. When magnets are allowed to move freely around the body, then mixed poles offer both attracting and repelling fields giving the body the choice.
1. Nakagawa, K. Magnetic field deficiency syndrome and magnetic treatment. Japan Med J, Dec 4, 1976.
2. Novikov VV, Zhadin MN. Combined action of weak constant and variable low-frequency magnetic fields on ionic currents in aqueous solutions of amino acids. Biophysics 1994;39(1):41-45.
3. Moslavac S, Moslavaci A, et al. Three years' clinical application of electromagnetic therapy on 1261 patients: commonly occurring conditions and patient interruptions. Proceedings of the First World Congress on Magnetotherapy, May 1996, London.
4. Faraday M. Experimental researches in electricity. Taylor and Francis, London, 1855 (reprinted 1965).
Mary Ann Simonds is an equine ecologist, natural health consultant, horse behaviorist, and originator of Enlightened Horsemanship(tm) and Enchanted Riding(tm). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , 866-616-0450, 360-573-1958, www.mystichorse.com