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What Is Magnetotherapy?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Magnetotherapy is an alternative medical treatment for a wide range of disorders, including pain, inflammation, and digestive problems. It uses low-frequency electrical impulses to stimulate cell activity in the human body. Magnetotherapy might target a certain area of the body to aid healing or address the entire body to improve blood flow.

Modern magnetotherapy commonly occurs with other traditional or alternative treatments. Also called pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, it uses various magnetic frequencies and exposure times during each treatment session. As a holistic form of medicine, treatment is based on the theory that the human body responds to exposure from magnetic fields on a cellular level, where certain enzymes become activated.

One example of benefits of magnetotherapy might involve oxygen content in the blood. Electromagnetic pulses might ionize iron in the blood, making it flow more freely. Practitioners of this form of therapy believe ionized blood removes excess cholesterol and stabilizes blood pressure. They say heart disease might be caused by disruptions in the body’s natural magnetic activity.

Magnetotherapy is also used as a treatment for osteoporosis by stimulating calcium ions in bones. It might slow the progression of osteoporosis, a condition leading to a loss of bone mass common in older people. Faster healing of bone fractures represents another use of this therapy linked to calcium ions.

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Low-frequency magnetic pulses to nerve cells might ease headaches, pain from rheumatoid arthritis, and back pain. Pain relief might also occur when cells in organs receive electrical stimulation, leading to reduction in inflammation. The treatment's use for mental disorders, including depression, has been studied since the 1990s, but doubts exist about its effectiveness in this area.

Magnetotherapy is not advised for people with certain diseases, specifically multiple sclerosis. Patients with implanted pacemakers might also be harmed by these alternative treatments using magnetic impulses. In addition to these conditions, this form of alternative therapy is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or low blood pressure, or bleeding ulcers. Pregnant women should not use magnetotherapy without consulting their doctors.

Treatments typically start with short sessions of low-frequency impulses. As the therapy progresses, the time might be increased up to 30 minutes per session. Some patients choose to continue receiving therapy on a periodic basis after symptoms disappear to promote general health and a feeling of well-being.

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