The last 40 years were very good for the magnetic industry. People keep buying magnetic jewelry, wraps for joints, sleeping pads and even magnet-conditioned water, hoping that 'the invisible power' of magnets will cure their ailments and significantly improve their life. But is there any truth in all this? Can a magnetic mattress cure insomnia and fibromyalgia and offer you a comforting sleep at the same time?
Some say that magnetic therapy works like this: magnets increase blood flow to the area they touch by attracting the iron in the blood, by relaxing capillary walls, surrounding muscle and conective tissue. The increased blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to the injured or painful body part, thus rushing the healing.
Others say that iron is bound to hemoglobine inside our blood cells and consequently cannot be affected by the presence of any magnetic field produced by a comercial magnet.
The one thing everyone agrees on is the lack of negative side effects of magnets. But beware of the serious contraindications of magnetic therapy: pregnancy, small babies, or if you are wearing a pacemaker, a defibrillator, an insulin pump or any other implanted electro-medical device.
The magnetic mattress is usually 2 to 4 inch thick and is made of stripes of 50 to 200 circular or square magnets sewn into a resistant fabric. The stripes are covered on both sides with foam or polyester fibers, so you don't feel the shape of the magnets when you lay on the pad. The final layer is made of a hypo-allergenic soft material, like cotton or damask.
The magnets used in this type of mattress or pad have between 200 and 10,000 gauss rating (a variable that describes the force of a magnet, determined by the amount of magnetic energy released). The higher the gauss number, the more powerful the magnet. All magnets are permanent, which means that they don't lose their power in time, but the human body does get used to the magnetic energy pretty easy. That's why most doctors who recommend this type of mattress to their patients also advise them to take breaks from sleeping on it, to keep therapy efficient.
What can a magnetic mattress do for your health? Well, according to the manufacturers, static magnets can cure as follows: joint pain, insomnia, back pain, fibromyalgia, circulation problems, bone density issues, post polio, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, stress incontinence, erectile dysfunction, migraines, peripheral neuropathy, epilepsy, nicotine addiction, lupus, emphysema and many other ailments and illnesses.
The truth is that researchers have not yet succeeded in proving the efficiency of magnetic therapy. Most of the studies finalized until now show no conclusive results. What we know for sure is that FDA has temporarily allowed magnet mattress claims to be made for general pain-relief and won't object to the following assertions about a magnetic pad:
For you to feel really comfortable on a magnetic pad, it needs to be placed on a supportive mattress, like foam, latex or air. Will you toss and turn on such a pad? Well, it all depends on the material used inside it. If it's memory foam or latex, the pressure exerted by the pad on your body will be reduced to a minimum and you'll experience a very relaxing sleep, but if the manufacturers preffered polyester fibers, you will toss and turn a lot.
A king size magnetic mattress pad costs between $200 and $2,000, depending on the producer, magnetic strength and quality of the inner material used to cushion the magnets. But be careful when buying such a mattress pad. There are lots of so-called prestigious companies on the Internet that convince you to pay lots of money on fake products.
Whether you believe in the healing power of magnets or not, don't buy a magnetic sleeping mattress or pad before discussing it with your MD.