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Magnets have been used for their healing properties since ancient times, and now a new study has found that they can reduce swelling when applied immediately after an inflammatory injury.
They placed magnets of 70 milliTesla (mT) field strength, which is about 10 times the strength of the common refrigerator magnet, near ratsâ€™ blood vessels and found that they dilated constricted blood vessels, and constricted vessels that were dilated. The results suggested that the magnetic filed could relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.
In the more recent study, the researchers used magnets on ratsâ€™ paws that had been treated with inflammatory agents to simulate tissue injury. The magnets significantly reduced swelling in the ratsâ€™ paws by up to 50 percent when applied immediately after the injury.
Dilation of blood vessels is a major cause of swelling, and it’s thought that the magnets worked by limiting blood flow.
Muscle bruising and joint sprains are the most common injuries worldwide, and since injuries that don’t swell heal faster, the magnet therapy could have widespread applications.
The researchers envisioned using magnets in place of ice packs and compression to treat injuries in high school, college, and professional sports teams, as well as among retirement communities.
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Science Daily January 3, 2008
American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology November 2, 2007