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By Ray Cralle, RPT
A new tool is available to patients and rehabilitation specialists in the United States, thanks to the growing demands of alternative medicine.
Most everyone today is aware of some of the changes in medicine, especially as it relates to finding cost-effective means of providing care and treating ailments. Clinicians in this country found “magnetic therapy” a reimbursable medical expense in Germany, Israel, Japan and forty-five other countries and became intrigued with its possibilities for American health care.
Early manufacturers produced the familiar magnet with north and south poles, but growing numbers of investigators have realized the importance of using only one pole (usually north or negative). This allows for a much stronger magnetic field to be placed against the area of pain, which research seems to indicate the need for, especially in chronic pain or overuse symptoms.
The Office of Alternative Medicine of the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C., has just awarded over a million dollar grant to Ann Gill Taylor, RN, Ph.D. at the University of Virginia, to study the effects of magnets in chronic pain. Dr. Gill Joins a list of doctors and scientists currently interested in this European phenomenon. Prestigious centers such as John Hopkins, Baylor College of Medicine and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are studying magnetic therapy.
I first heard of magnets when a longtime friend and hospital director asked me to go to Dublin, Ireland in 1993 to meet Austin Darragh. MD, a world renowned researcher, who had been using magnets to treat pain. The joy of finding something so simple, yet so effective in helping people relieve pain still fascinates me.
I have practiced for over twenty-four years and have never been as impressed by a technology so simple and effective in helping arthritis, back pain and even fibromyalgia (chronic fatigue). Just to name a few, as safely and cost-effectively as unipole (negative) magnets.
I am convinced that it will soon be commonplace to treat headaches, sports injuries and even allergies with magnets, and that managed care will find it on the top of its list of worthwhile expenses.
Ray Cralle, RPT is a registered physical therapist at Cralle Physical Therapy Services.