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The Arthritis Bracelet: Can Copper And Magnets Really Help?

Oct 22, 2007
Despite modern advances in medicine, alternative medicine has always been around as the cheaper, natural option, often times being the last resort. These alternatives usually have been passed on from generation to generation and are at times actually effective. Upon research, most of them have been found to have underlying scientific basis.

Arthritis bracelets are among the alternative treatments popularly embraced by consumers as aids to current arthritis pain management. The most accepted ones in the market are made of either copper or magnet. Although not yet conclusively proven to be effective as claimed, they enjoy widespread acceptance and have been reported in some studies to indeed have beneficial effects.

Magnets for Pain

Magnets are objects that produce a type of energy that is called magnetic fields. Magnets targeted to consumers for health uses are mostly static or permanent magnets. Magnetic bracelets are also popularly used to relieve arthritic pain and can also come in the form of mattresses and pads. Various manufacturers of these magnetic bracelets claim that magnets may effect pain relief by any of the following principles:

1. Magnets may change the the way the cells function.

2. It may potentially affect growth and life span of the cells.

3. They are believed to enhance blood flow, therefore increasing oxygen and nutrient supply to the different organs of the body. This is believed to happen because of the presence of the metal iron in the blood that can be affected by magnets.

4. Nerve cell response to pain is believed to be altered by weak pulses from magnets.

5. It may affect the way the brain responds to or perceives the pain.

6. Lastly, magnets might affect white blood cell production, which is involved in body defense against infection and inflammation.

Whatever the mechanism, the benefit from magnetic bracelets seems clinically useful based on different trials performed by researchers.

The Case of Copper

Wearing of copper bracelets was popularized in the 1970s as a means to stop arthritic pain. Copper from the bracelet is believed to be absorbed through the skin and into circulation. In one study, it was found that 13 mg of copper was absorbed in one month on average by people wearing the bracelets. This being an additional source of copper is believed to bring the beneficial effects of having copper in the diet.

Copper in the body is known to be required for the transport of calcium in the body and in building the matrix of bone. It has been found to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies on subjects wearing copper bracelets versus placebo control bracelets that are coated to resemble copper have been performed and they indicate possible benefits.

But results have not yet been conclusive enough to guarantee its effectiveness. Another concern regarding its use is that if indeed copper is absorbed through the skin, it is being absorbed in unregulated amounts that might possibly lead to toxicity. Consideration must be given to patients with zinc deficiency since excessive copper in the blood can further lead to its depletion.

Are These for You?

Living with arthritic pain can be very crippling, and patients searching for alternatives or other adjuncts to pain relief should be careful when choosing forms of treatments. The beneficial effects of these bracelets have not yet been proven since different clinical trials have been giving conflicting results.

Furthermore, arthritis bracelets are not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and some companies' claims of benefit have been contested by the FDA and Federal trade Commission (FTC). Despite these, there have been a lot of patients who attest to their effectiveness in relieving their pain and there are no reported toxicities by consumers as of this moment.

If a patient does decide to use arthritis bracelets, it should be borne in mind that consultation with their physician and proper prescribing of medications remain important and integral in the treatment of arthritis to decrease or control pain.

Since arthritis bracelets are not yet regulated and standardized, it would be wise for the consumers to always check the reputation of the company they are planning to buy from with existing consumer protection agencies. One should also be aware of possible contraindications of magnets or copper in certain disease conditions to avoid any untoward side effect.
About the Author
Visit Arthritis-Education.com to learn more about arthritis medicine for dogs and arthritis pain treatment.
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