Magnet therapy
Magnet therapy


Magnet therapy involves applying a magnet to the skin or close to the skin to improve a condition such as pain.

The strength of magnets is described in terms of "gauss" or "Tesla." A Tesla is equivalent to 10,000 gauss. Magnets used for treatment usually have a higher magnetic strength than typical refrigerator-type magnets. Therapeutic magnets are most often in the range of 200-10,000 gauss. Typical household magnets are typically around 200 gauss.

Magnet therapy is most often used for pain or swelling. It is also used for other conditions, but there is no good evidence that magnet therapy works for any condition.

Magnet therapy is a big business. Worldwide sales of magnets for treatment is estimated at over $5 billion annually. In the US the market is about $500 million.
Magnet therapy is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people. In scientific studies, some side effects have been reported, including painful menstrual periods, heavier menstrual periods, nausea, diarrhea, abnormal sensations in the arms, and a feeling of "fuzzy headedness." But it is unclear whether these side effects were caused by the magnet therapy.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of magnet therapy during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Epilepsy: There has been some concern that magnet therapy might make people with epilepsy have more seizures. However, there is no reliable evidence to support this. Nevertheless, if you have epilepsy, use caution if you choose to try magnet therapy.

Pacemaker or implantable defibrillator: If you have a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator, use magnets cautiously. Magnetic mattresses might interfere with these devices and make them work incorrectly. Most other magnets seem to be safe if not placed within 6 inches of the device.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. Clinical research shows that placing a specific magnet over the carpal area for 45 minutes for 6 weeks does not improve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Muscle soreness caused by exercise. Research shows that applying magnets to muscles or using magnets after exercise does not reduce muscle soreness caused by exercise.
  • Foot pain. Some clinical research shows that wearing a specific shoe insole containing a bipolar magnet (2450 gauss) for at least 4 hours daily and for at least 30 days does not reduce foot pain or heel pain.
  • Heel pain. Early research shows that wearing a specific shoe insole with a bipolar magnet or a magnetic coil does not reduce heel pain.
  • Pain after surgery. Placing a magnet over a surgical wound while anesthesia is wearing off does not reduce pain or the need to use narcotic pain-killing medications.
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Athletic performance. Early research shows that wearing a magnetic shoe during practice or games does not improve athletic performance.
  • Back pain. Early research shows that applying a magnet to the back for 6 hours per day, 3 days per week for one week does not improve chronic low back pain.
  • Hot flashes in people treated for breast cancer. Early research shows that using magnetic devices for 3 days does not decrease hot flashes in women. In fact, it may be worse than using nothing at all.
  • Nerve pain in people with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). While some clinical research shows that magnet therapy reduces pain in people with diabetic neuropathy, other research shows no benefit.
  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Early research shows that putting a magnet on the pelvic area may decrease menstrual pain.
  • Fibromyalgia. Some research shows that sleeping on a magnetic mattress pad might improve pain and tiredness in women with fibromyalgia. But this research has been criticized because the women in the study were able to tell if they were in the magnetic mattress pad (i.e., treatment) group.
  • Fractures. Early research shows that using magnetic therapy for 6-12 weeks helps to heal broken bones. But other research shows that it may not help.
  • Insomnia. Early research shows that using magnetic therapy for 4 weeks may decrease the time that it takes to fall asleep.
  • Migraine. Early research shows that using magnet therapy near the upper back, neck, or shoulders may reduce how often some people have a migraine. It might also help with pain in people who get migraines.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). Early research shows that using magnetic therapy may improve spasticity, tiredness, and tingling in the arms and legs in patients with MS. It might also help people with an underactive bladder. But it may not improve other symptoms of the disease.
  • Muscle strength. Early research shows that magnets do not increase hand muscle strength. But they might help with neck strength.
  • A condition that causes persistent muscle pain (myofascial pain syndrome). Early research shows that magnetic therapy may improve shoulder pain that is from a spinal cord injury.
  • Neck pain. While some research shows that magnet therapy helps to reduce neck pain, other research shows no benefit.
  • Osteoarthritis. The research on using magnets for osteoarthritis is mixed. Some research shows that wearing a magnetic bracelet or placing a magnet in a knee sleeve improves pain from osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. Other research shows that exposure to a weak magnetic field for 48 minutes per treatment, with 8 treatments over 2 weeks, also reduces knee pain. But other research shows that wearing a magnetic wristband for 8 hours a day for 4 weeks or using pulsing magnets daily does not decrease pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis.
  • Pelvic pain in women. Early research shows that applying magnetic therapy to the pelvic area may improve pain in women with long-term pelvic pain.
  • A serious gum infection (periodontitis). Early research shows that magnet therapy does not help the gums to heal after gum surgery.
  • Nerve damage in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy). Early research shows that magnetic therapy may decrease pain in people with moderate to severe nerve damage in the foot.
  • Symptoms such as muscle weakness and fatigue that affect polio survivors. Early research shows that using magnet therapy for 45 minutes may decrease muscle pain in people with a disease called post-polio syndrome.
  • Complications after childbirth. Early research shows that using magnet therapy around the pelvis may help the area heal faster in women that had a vaginal birth.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research shows that taping a specific type of magnet to the knee for one week does not improve pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis of the knee.
  • Sexual problems that prevent satisfaction during sexual activity. Early research suggests that using pulsed magnetic stimulation improves sexual problems and sexual satisfaction in women with inadequate bladder control.
  • A sleep disorder in which people temporarily stop breathing while asleep (sleep apnea). Early research shows that using a special device containing magnets to help pull the jaw forward may decrease sleepiness during the day time in men with sleep apnea.
  • Stroke. Early research shows that using magnet therapy does not help improve muscle function or reduce spasticity in people that have had a stroke.
  • Painful conditions caused by overuse of tendons (tendinopathy). Some early research shows that wrapping the elbow with magnets does not decrease pain. But using magnetic therapy on the shoulder may decrease pain.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Some early research shows that placing magnets near the ears for 15 minutes every day for one week decreases ringing in the ears. But it may depend on the type of magnet used.
  • Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence). Early research shows that magnet therapy may improve symptoms such as the urge to pee in women with overactive bladder, stress incontinence, or urge incontinence. But most of this research is low-quality. Also, the ideal method for applying magnet therapy has not been established. It's unclear if magnet therapy has benefit in men with loss of bladder control.
  • Leg sores caused by weak blood circulation (venous leg ulcer). Some early research shows that magnetic therapy improves wound healing but not quality of life in people with ulcers due to bad circulation. Other research shows that magnetic therapy does not improve healing or decrease the rate of infection.
  • Wound healing. There is some early evidence that placing magnets in the form of patches over cosmetic surgical wounds might reduce pain, water retention, and discoloration.
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
  • Seizure disorder (epilepsy).
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED).
  • A type of anxiety marked by recurrent thoughts and repetitive behaviors (obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD).
  • Parkinson disease.
  • A type of anxiety that often develops after a terrifying event (post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD).
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Swelling.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate magnet therapy for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate and safe use of magnet therapy depends on several factors, such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.

Magnet therapy might involve wearing a magnet or laying or sitting on furniture with a magnet inside of it. These magnets can be programmed to be on all of the time, part of the time, or to constantly alternate between being on and off (pulsing).

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines. Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.


The body has many naturally occurring electromagnetic fields. It is thought that magnets might alter these fields in the body and improve their function. But there isn't enough information to know exactly how magnets might work in the body to treat disease or pain. has licensed monographs from TRC Healthcare.
This monograph was last reviewed on 30/03/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 26/12/2021 23:01:53. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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