Magnetic Therapy For Anxiety

  • Sarvesh Puranik M.Sc. in Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield

Magnetic therapy for anxiety: what you need to know?

Anxiety is a widespread mental health issue impacting millions of individuals globally. It can result in bodily reactions like sweating, shaking, and palpitations as well as symptoms like anxiety, fear, worry, and panic. Anxiety can cause disruptions in day-to-day activities, impacting well-being, relationships, and careers.1

In addressing anxiety, individuals have several options including medication, therapy, relaxation strategies, and adjustments to their lifestyle. Despite the availability of these approaches, some individuals might not derive the desired benefits due to ineffectiveness, side effects, or other limitations associated with these methods.2

Magnetic therapy, categorized as an alternative medical practice, utilizes magnets to enhance overall health and well-being. Its premise revolves around the belief that magnets have the potential to influence the body's magnetic field, thereby impacting the functionality of cells, organs, and bodily systems. Advocates of magnetic therapy assert its effectiveness in alleviating a range of conditions including pain, inflammation, sleep disturbances, as well as mood disorders like depression and anxiety.3

But how does anxiety respond to magnetic therapy? Is it efficient and safe? We will discuss the fundamentals of magnetic therapy for anxiety, its advantages and disadvantages, and frequently asked questions.

How does magnetic therapy work?

Wearing magnetic jewellery, such as bracelets, necklaces, earrings, or rings, is the most popular method of applying magnetic therapy for anxiety. There are other methods as well. The magnets in these jewellery pieces are intended to surround the body or a particular area, creating a magnetic field.

The other method is repetitive Transcranial  Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

TMS uses a magnetic field to send a quick burst of electricity to the brain, which helps activate nerve cells. This process can improve how different parts of the brain talk to each other, especially the outer layers of the brain.

It is thought that the magnetic field affects the body in many ways, including:

  • Increasing blood flow and cell oxygen delivery
  • Raising the body's natural painkiller and mood enhancer, endorphin production;
  • Maintaining normal levels of neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, which are linked to anxiety and mood regulation.
  • Reducing inflammation and stress, which can aggravate or cause anxiety
  • Stress Reduction: Magnetic therapy is believed to have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to alleviate stress and promote relaxation. Creating a soothing environment may offer relief from the persistent worries and tension associated with anxiety.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Anxiety often disrupts sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or restless nights. Magnetic therapy has been proposed as a natural way to enhance sleep quality by encouraging a deeper, more restful slumber. Fostering relaxation may help individuals achieve a more peaceful night's rest.
  • Complementary Therapy: Magnetic therapy can be used alongside other anxiety management strategies, such as mindfulness practices, exercise, and dietary modifications. When integrated into a comprehensive wellness plan, it may complement conventional treatments and contribute to overall well-being.

What are the benefits of magnetic therapy for anxiety?

While more research is needed, some studies suggest that magnetic therapy can have several benefits for people suffering from anxiety.

  • TMS is a non-invasive procedure that does not require surgery or injections. This makes it a viable option for those who are unable or unwilling to use other anxiety treatments.
  • TMS has few side effects and is generally well-tolerated. Some people may experience minor side effects, such as headaches or scalp discomfort, at the treatment site, but these are usually temporary.
  • TMS can be used alongside other anxiety treatments, including medication and therapy. This can improve the effectiveness of treatment.

It's important to note that, while magnetic therapy can help some people, it's not a cure for anxiety and should not be used instead of traditional treatments. If you are considering magnetic therapy for anxiety, you should consult with your doctor to see if this treatment is right for you.

What are the risks of magnetic therapy for anxiety?

Magnetic therapy is generally considered safe and harmless for most people. However, there are some risks and limitations that you should be aware of, such as:

  • It is not scientifically proven. There is not enough evidence to support the claims and mechanisms of magnetic therapy for anxiety. Most of the studies on magnetic therapy are small, poorly designed, or biased. The results are inconsistent and inconclusive. Therefore, magnetic therapy is not a recognized or approved treatment for anxiety by any medical authority.
  • It is important to note that magnetic therapy isn't universally effective. Its impact can vary greatly from person to person. While some individuals may not notice any changes, others might experience negative effects. Additionally, magnetic therapy could interfere with medical devices like pacemakers, defibrillators, insulin pumps, or cochlear implants. It might also interact with specific medications such as anticoagulants and could pose risks for individuals with conditions like pregnancy, haemophilia, or epilepsy. If you have any of these devices, are on these medications, or have these conditions, it is advisable to avoid magnetic therapy or seek guidance from your doctor before using it.4

Considerations and precautions

While magnetic therapy shows promise as a tool for anxiety management, it must be used with caution and awareness. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

  • Consultation: Before beginning magnetic therapy or any new treatment regimen, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are currently taking medication.
  • Quality and Safety: Make certain that any magnetic products or devices you use are of high quality and have been tested for safety. Cheap or poorly manufactured products may not provide the desired therapeutic benefits and may pose risks.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about magnetic therapy for anxiety

Is magnetic therapy universally safe?

Although magnetic therapy is safe for most individuals, it may not be advisable for those with specific medical conditions or individuals with implanted medical devices such as pacemakers. It is imperative to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before embarking on magnetic therapy, particularly if you have any doubts regarding its safety or compatibility with your current treatments.

What's the typical timeframe for observing the effects of magnetic therapy on anxiety?

The answer is not straightforward, as it hinges on several variables including individual differences, the specific magnets used, how strong they are, how often and how long they are used, among other factors. While some individuals might experience relief within a matter of hours or days, for others, it could take weeks or even months. And, of course, some may not perceive any changes whatsoever. The most reliable way to gauge its efficacy is to try and keep track of your progress.

What level of magnet strength is recommended for magnetic therapy targeting anxiety?

 The ideal strength or dosage of magnets for this purpose remains uncertain. Some research indicates that stronger magnets might yield more noticeable effects, whereas others propose no significant difference or suggest that weaker magnets could be preferable. Magnet strength is typically measured in gauss or tesla, with magnetic jewellery typically falling within the range of 100 to 3000 gauss or 0.01 to 0.3 tesla. It might be advisable to begin with a lower strength and adjust gradually, or to explore various strengths to determine the most effective option for your needs.

Is magnetic therapy a substitute for traditional anxiety treatments?

Magnetic therapy is not meant to replace established anxiety treatments like therapy or medication. Rather, it should be a supplementary method to bolster overall mental health and wellness. Collaborating with a healthcare provider is vital to devising a holistic treatment strategy tailored to your requirements and preferences.

Future directions of magnetic therapy for anxiety

Technique Refinement: Researchers may continue to refine magnetic therapy techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), to maximize their effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders. This could involve experimenting with different stimulation parameters, such as frequency, intensity, and duration, to find the most beneficial protocols.

Long-term Effects and Maintenance: Future research could examine the long-term effects of magnetic therapy for anxiety, such as its durability and potential for relapse prevention. Understanding how treatment effects persist over time can help inform maintenance and follow-up care strategies.

Clinical Trials and Evidence Base: The evidence base supporting magnetic therapy's use in the treatment of anxiety disorders is expected to be strengthened by additional extensive clinical trials as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Treatment guidelines and clinical practice must be guided by solid evidence.

All things considered; magnetic therapy appears to have a bright future for treating anxiety. However, more research is required to better understand its mechanisms of action, establish its safety and efficacy in a range of patient populations, and optimise treatment protocols.5

Conclusion

Magnetic therapy for anxiety may have some advantages, such as being simple, natural, inexpensive, and adaptable. However, it may carry some risks, such as being unproven, inappropriate, and not a substitute for professional care.

In the search for natural and holistic approaches to anxiety management, magnetic therapy is a promising option worth considering. It has the potential to be a complementary tool for people suffering from anxiety by harnessing the power of magnetic fields to promote relaxation and balance. Magnetic therapy, like any other wellness practice, should be approached with caution and under the supervision of qualified professionals.

References:

  1. Chand SP, Marwaha R. Anxiety. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 [cited 2024 Feb 28]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470361/
  2. Chen TR, Huang HC, Hsu JH, Ouyang WC, Lin KC. Pharmacological and psychological interventions for generalized anxiety disorder in adults: A network meta-analysis. J Psychiatr Res. 2019 Nov;118:73–83.
  3. Markov MS. Magnetic Field Therapy: A Review. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. 2007 Jan 1;26(1):1–23.
  4. Wassermann EM. Side effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. Depression and Anxiety. 2000;12(3):124–9.
  5. Cheng JL, Tan C, Liu HY, Han DM, Liu ZC. Past, present, and future of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation: A review in psychiatric and neurological disorders. World J Psychiatry. 2023 Sep 19;13(9):607–19.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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sarvesh puranik

M.Sc. in Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield

Sarvesh Puranik is currently completing his Master's thesis, which centers on Alzheimer's disease research. Prior to this, he earned his Bachelor's degree in Homoeopathic Medicine and worked as a junior doctor, where he managed and treated patients with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and epilepsy and various other neurological disorders.

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