Historically it is reported that magnets have been around for an extremely long time. Magnets were first documented around 2500-3000 years BC. Their origins are first noted in Asia Minor in a vast land called Magnesia. The earth there was enriched with iron oxide which attracted metals to it. The locals named it Magnetite.
Another story is told of a young boy, who lived 2500 years BC, called Magnes, a shepherd on Mount Ida. One day he was tending his sheep whilst wearing sandals which contained iron in the sole. He found it hard to walk up the mountain as his feet felt heavy and stuck to the rock face. Mount Ida was found to contain a rock called Lodestone, which is the first known magnetic mineral. It is reported that Lodestone was named Magnes after the boy who discovered it, and it later came to be known as magnet.
Cleopatra was probably the first celebrity to use magnets. It is documented that she slept on a Lodestone to keep her skin youthful. The therapeutic knowledge was passed to the Greeks who have been using magnets for healing since 2500 BC Aristotle and Plato talked of the benefits of Lodestones in their work.
Magnets have been used in Chinese medicine from around 2000 BC in-conjunction with reflexology and acupuncture. It is still used today as a first line treatment for many common complaints.
3,500 years after they were first discovered, magnets have gained popularity in Europe and the USA. In the 15th century a Swiss physician Paracelsus recognized the therapeutic powers of magnets. He wrote medical papers on the influence of magnets on the inflammatory processes within the body.
In the 16th century an English doctor Dr William Gilbert made a scientific study of electricity and magnetism. He published one of the first books about magnetic therapy called “De Magnet”. Dr Gilbert was also Queens Elizabeth I personal physician and it is said that she used magnets under his direction.
Michael Faraday, also known as the founder of Biomagnetics made extensive discoveries in magnetic healing during the 18th century. His work is still used as a framework for modern day magnetic treatments. Dr Mesmer (the father of hypnotism) and Dr Samuel Hahnemann (the father of homoeopathy) also contributed to his remarkable work.
20th century pioneers include Dr Kreft a German doctor who in 1905 studied the healing effects of magnets on rheumatic disease, sciatica and neuralgia. 1926 revealed Dr Criles work on the impact of magnets on cancer cells and this was followed 10 years later in 1936 with Albert Davis carrying out tests on the effects of the north and south poles of a magnet.
However the last 15 years has shown a prolific increase in medical research into magnetic therapy. There have been over 57 studies in the USA into incurable diseases and magnetics. Some of the most recent are:
1990- University if Hawaii tested magnetic fields on patients with osteoarthritis.
1992- Stiller et al a randomised double blind trial of wound healing in venous leg wounds.
1999- New York Medical College tested magnetic insoles on diabetic patients.
2001- University of Virginia tested magnetic mattress covers on patients with Fibromyalgia.
2004- University of Exeter and Plymouth tested magnetic bracelets on patients with osteoarthritis
Magnetic therapy is gaining in popularity worldwide with many celebrity devotees including: Cherie Blair, Bill Clinton, Anthony Hopkins, Prince William, Queen Elizabeth II, Shirley MacLaine, Venus Williams, Michael Jordan, Andre Agassi, Jack Niklaus and many more.
Magnetic devices are now registered as prescribable medical devices in 54 countries worldwide With new research being completed each year and doctors at last acknowledging that it is not witch doctory we shall hopefully see, with in the next few years, magnetic devices being prescribed on the NHS in-conjunction with conventional pain killing drugs.
Debbie Shimadry is as an expert guest on magnetic therapy for BBC Radios and is also the managing director of leading magnetic therapy company worldofmagnets.co.uk.