resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
September, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 09
Magnets: A Cause for Pause
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
Recent discussions about the therapeutic use of magnets bring to mind the story of Madame Marie Curie, who discovered the x-ray. Curie and her husband suffered great damage to their fingers from the ionizing radiation they worked with during their research.Apparently they were not aware that their new diagnostic tool, although invisible, could have harmful effects.
The magnetic field has also been shown to have powerful effects - both healing and destructive - upon living systems. In our eagerness to find new therapeutic methods, I wonder if we may be getting carried in our use of magnets.
The effects of artificial magnetic fields on humans became startlingly evident during the early manned space flights. Both U.S. and Soviet scientists were forced to concede that magnetic fields might have a powerful effect upon human health and function. Subsequent investigations confirmed that changes in magnet field intensity, vector orientation and polarity exert significant influence on living systems in space.
These studies have implications for the earthbound as they refute several long-held scientific dogmas. For instance, one principle held that humans do not have any permanently magnetized materials in their tissues. In fact, the brain contains about five million single-domain crystals of magnetite per gram of tissue, and the meningeal membranes contain 100 million of these crystals per gram of tissue.
These findings are of particular interest to those working with the craniosacral system. It is possible that the energies perceived by craniosacral therapy practitioners as signals of membrane restrictions are related to these magnetite crystals. The mobilization of the meningeal membranes through craniosacral therapy may have an as-yet-uknown positive effect upon the magnetic aspects of these membranes.
Meanwhile, the earth's magnetic fields - called geomagnetic fields (GMF) - are constantly fluctuating due to internal and external influences. These fluctuations seem to be self-correcting, such that the natural magnetic fields remain within the limits that make earth habitable. Continental shifts; explosions; earthquakes; sunspots; eclipses; atmospheric pollutants; lightening; thunderstorms; hurricanes; and cyclones can influence the GMF.
For a simple example of how we are affected by subtle changes in the earth's magnetic field, consider what happens during a full moon: some people report experiencing irrational thoughts or malaise. The earth has an overall positive charge that increases during the full moon. Yet most people seem to feel and function better in an abundance of negative ions. It has also been noted that human oxygen consumption goes up during the full moon, and blood and lymph become somewhat less viscous.
The effects of magnetic fields also have been observed at a cellular level. A researcher at Cal Tech in Pasadena, California hypothesized that individual cells may possess sensory systems that respond to weak magnetic fields. He noticed that extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields change the cellular protein structures, which disrupts the transport of proteins and other substances within the cells. Clearly, disruption of the magnetic field of a cell may ultimately disable it to some degree, and may even cause cell death.
By chance, I came across some startling examples of the effects of magnetic fields on living systems in a book by a farmer named Davis. He and a friend became curious about the effects of magnets on crops and farm animals. They divided vegetable seeds into two batches, then exposed them to either the north or south pole of a bar magnet before planting them.
The men noticed that the seeds exposed to the south pole grew more rapidly, and the vegetables grew much larger than the others. Unfortunately, they were also dry, woody and inedible. The north pole vegetables, although smaller, were moist, tender and pleasant tasting.
Next, the men exposed fertilized chicken eggs to magnets. Again, the chickens exposed to the north pole grew slower and remained smaller than the other chickens. Yet here's what really caught Davis' attention: the south-pole chickens were very aggressive. They would fight to the death. By contrast, the smaller north-pole chickens were quite peaceful. If allowed to mingle, the south-pole chickens would attack and kill the other chickens, then pick apart their victims and eat some of the flesh. This particular observation suggests the possibility of hormonal effects caused by the magnet.
After this book piqued my curiosity, I discovered, along with Jon Vredevoogd, my co-researcher at Michigan State University, that we could use magnetic fields to cause and relieve headaches, nausea and mental confusion. We also found that increases and decreases in craniosacral system pulse amplitude were closely related to changing magnetic fields.
I suggest that, because human and other living systems appear able to create their own permanent magnetic materials, they possess some ability, albeit limited, to modify most external magnetic fields to acceptable levels. It also seems reasonable to expect that long-term exposure to unnatural external magnetic fields might ultimately drain these protective systems of their ability to neutralize and/or modify the effects of these external magnetic fields.
If the body's defenses are not able to neutralize abnormal external magnetic fields, many serious things can happen. Magnetic field exposure could lead to distortion in the cellular production of hormones, various cellular dysfunctions and ultimately, cell death.
Externally created magnetic fields can also interfere with normal cellular activity by creating a "static" that interferes with communication between separate cells and structures within cells. This type of exposure has been seen to interfere with the cell's ability to block disease-causing proteins. Thus, the cell may become more vulnerable to disease-causing invaders such as viruses and bacteria, and to the acceptance of toxic substances.
My experience, personally and with patients, has shown that the autonomic nervous system also is sensitive to changes in the magnetic fields. Research supports these observations, noting that the long-term use of external magnets can cause autonomic systems to change their set points and require time to readjust once the magnets are removed. These autonomic effects are manifest in episodes of cardiac failure, brain dysfunction, blood viscosity changes and gastrointestinal problems.
On the bright side, reports are coming in about the successful use of magnets to stimulate nerve growth. I believe this effect may occur, at least partially, because the external field may reactivate magnetic crystals in the nerves. I have only worked with several spinal-cord-injury patients using magnets for limited periods. They all had secondary paraplegia and sensory loss. In sensory and motor responses, the magnetic stimulation produced more definite subjective responses than electrical stimulations.
However, based on the current evidence, I recommend exercising the utmost care when using magnets as a long-term treatment. This invisible, powerful modality is not without risk. I will err on the side of caution until I am convinced that we know what we are doing. The Curies might have faired better had they been more wary.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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