Magnet therapy: what's the attraction?

September 08, 1999

College Park, MD---Magnet therapy--it's a billion dollar business worldwide. Companies are selling magnets that promise to relieve chronic pain...on the golf course, at home, in the gym. A 1997 double-blind study at the Baylor College of Medicine concluded that magnets reduced pain in post-polio patients. But in today's Washington Post, a University of Maryland physics professor casts doubts on magnet therapy--with some simple experiments you can try at home.

Reporting that the Baylor results have not been duplicated or confirmed by researchers elsewhere, University of Maryland physics professor Robert Park has also found no plausible explanation for how magnets could relieve pain. Park, who is also a consultant to the American Physical Society, says that explanations currently being offered are false. Here are some highlights from the article: Park warns that magnet therapy can pose a risk to people who ignore conventional medical treatment in favor of it. "Magnet therapy may not seem like a big deal," Park writes. "Magnets generally cost less than a visit to the doctor and they certainly do no harm. But magnet therapy can be dangerous if it leads people to forego needed medical treatment."

"America's Strange Attraction: Magnet Therapy for Pain" by Robert L. Park in the Washington Post (September 8, 1999)


Robert Park
University of Maryland/American Physical Society

John F Schenck
General Electric, Schenectady NY

Physician Contacts:

Washington, DC:

Sally Satel, M.D.
202-216-0855 x223

New York:

Michael Y. Dubois, MD
New York University Medical Center


James Otis, MD


David Samuel Silver, M.D.

American Institute of Physics

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