Magnetic therapy is a legitimate discipline under medical science and is slowly being recognized all over the globe. The human body is known to possess its own magnetic field. The magnetic therapy is believed to have its origins, in research that was conducted several decades back in the field of bio-Magnetics. The Magnetic fields of the body are extremely weak and can be detected only with such equipments that are extremely sensitive and which successfully manage to block out magnetic fields that act externally. This also includes the magnetic fields of the earth. The magnetic field of the earth covers the entire planet and is a strong force. The magnetic fields of earth have a huge impact on the physical body of humankind. The human body is constantly exposed to the magnetic fields, right from the instance it develops as a miniscule fetus to the moment till a transformation takes place in a fully grown adult, and even after that. Earth’s magnetic environment affects the human activities in a significant manner and it is rather easy to perceive the human body as a constantly changing bio-electric or magnetic organism. This corresponds to all the laws in physics regarding electromagnetism, when the connection between magnetic aspects of the human -body in terms of biophysical chemistry becomes clear. The following write up will briefly cover some aspects of magnetic science.
It is very essential to know the overall effect of the magnetic fields, be the natural radiations of the earth or the ones emitted by man made devices, on the functioning of the human body. It is vital to study their applications in treating various ailments. Though the medical science has evolved tremendously over the years, there is still a scope for development. There is a need to have alternative therapies which are even low cost and even could be afforded by anybody. Magnetic fields have the potential to open up new avenues in understanding the human anatomy and in healing the abnormalities.
It is on the basis of the principles of science that the magnetic therapy has evolved. The laws of magnetism compiled by the Maxwell & Faraday during the 19th century have a key role to play in the development of the magnetic healing procedures. The Chinese healers used this technique to treat people way back in the 2nd century BC. It is only now that the possible explanations are being chalked out for such therapies.
The magnetic healing therapies have been known to the world since over 1000 years. It is only the applicability in medical science is being studied since 30-40 years. It has gained immense popularity in the Asian and European countries. Former Soviet Union is no exception in this case. There is no evidence regarding the use of this therapy in the English speaking nations. If only there existed a better communication with the western nations, there wouldn’t have been a need to reexamine the effects of magnetic science in healing a human body, which was known ages ago to the mankind. There existed numerous writings about the magnetic science, but they weren’t in English.
The magnetic fields have a lot of effects on the natural processes. They highly affect the reactions, movement of ions, fluctuations in charges and many more processes. However, there is no established evidence as to how these processes are driving under the influence of magnetic fields. Many theories have come up regarding this matter, but the explanations are not satisfactory. The available theories in the study of magnetic fields on various processes include parametric resonance, cyclotron, quantum mechanical theory to name a few.
In spite of the research efforts, there is no single theory to explain the possible reasons behind the cause. Like many things and actions in the history of science remain unexplained, this theory as well isn’t backed by enough proof. However, this doesn’t hinder the attention the magnetic therapies are receiving across the globe. Only the safety aspect is the major concern in the use of the magnetic fields in the medical treatments.
There is no doubt about the fact that the magnetic fields can prove to be extremely beneficial in treating various ailments. But before their use become widespread, it is very essential to prove that their usage is safe and the limits also have to be considered. Studying their in effects in detail can also prove to be beneficial in this case.
The therapies involving magnetic & electric fields have been practiced by people in history, even dating back to 3000 BC, without the availability of proper reasoning for their healing benefits. The Chinese are supposed to have written list of rules to use acupuncture and lodestones dating back to 3000 BC. Magnets were also employed by ancient healers to learn about its practical value for the purpose of healing. Cleopatra’s physicians are also believed to have used it. Permanent magnets have been used since the 1800s in Europe.
Characteristics of Magnetic field
The charged particles in motion can affect other particles in motion, with the influence of forces that exist in space. These charged lines of forces are referred to as magnetic fields. Ions in electrolyte solutions and electrons present in wires through which the current flows, are all sources of these forces.
The Magnetic field is produced by each atom, but is very small and complicated to be measured. When a significant number of atoms combine to form a molecule, the measurement of the strength of the magnetic field becomes pretty easy. Solid structures are formed by molecules when they come together. The atoms produce regions of charge around the structures. The charged domains if are not properly organized, then it is difficult to identify the generation of the magnetic lines of force. Magnetic fields are quite obvious when these domains are systematically organized or lined up. The stationary magnetic field found around a permanent magnet follows this theory. In case of a permanent magnet, the flow of electrons is arranged in such a way that the magnetic forces can be detected outside the magnet. Dissimilar arrangements and different capacities for domain association are seen in diverse materials. This enables to calculate the strengths of magnetic lines of force by the use of varying materials.
Magnetic fields may also be created by charges or the course of ions in various materials. Solar radiation is a classic example of the charged radiation. Magnetic fields are produced by the electrical interactions from thunderstorms and lightning in the sky. It has the ability to influence the biological activities and also the human activities (also known as Schumann resonance). It is possible to produce energetic magnetic fields, based on these principles.
While studying magnetic fields and their effects, the factors like the space time and the intensity of the field are very important. Intensity refers to the strength of the magnetic field. The 3 dimensional outline of the magnetic field is what is space. The time refers to the duration when the magnetic fields are fixed. The period of time over which the magnetic fields are used is what is referred to as the duration.
Some excerpts from the work “Driving force” by the author James. D. Livingston, describes magnets as follows:
The north pole of the magnet always points towards the geometric north of the earth and the south pole always points towards the geometric south of the earth.
The Like poles of the magnet always repel each other and the unlike poles of the magnet attract each other.
The magnetic forces can only attract the materials exhibiting properties of magnetism.
Magnetic forces have their effects only up to a certain distance from the source.
Temporary magnets can be made to behave like permanent magnets by inducing magnetism in them.
When electric current flows through an induction coil, it shows the properties of a magnet.
The strength of an electromagnet increases when a material made of iron is made to cut the lines of force of the artificial magnet.
Electric current is induced into a conductor by a changing magnetic field.
The magnetic force is not experienced by a charged particle, when it moves parallel magnetic lines of force. A force acting vertically to the magnetic field and also in the direction of motion is experienced when it moves perpendicular to the field.
A force acting in a direction vertically to both the wire and the magnetic field is experienced by a current carrying wire in a perpendicular magnetic field.
Orientation in Space
The magnetic fields are categorized as uniform magnetic fields and non uniform magnetic fields. When the value of the field strength and sign remains unchanged, then the fields are referred to as uniform fields. It is not sensible to make use of the uniform fields for healing purposes. They are used only in research studies to study their nature. Even the magnetic lines of the force are not even.
In the non uniform magnetic fields, the intensity of the field and the magnetic field strength is not same throughout. With the increase in the distance from the point of source, the strength of the field reduces. The extent to which the unevenness in the field exists, can be determined with the aid of magnetometers and some calculations. Non uniform magnetic fields are applied in the healing therapies.
It is evident that the strength of the magnetic field decreases with the increase in distance from the source. The polarity of the magnetic field is influenced when the lines of force close themselves in the form of loops . The implies that they can emit from one end of the magnet and then bend around and joint the lines of force from the opposite end. This creates a 3D like structure around the magnetic materials. A three dimensional field encompasses the body of an individual or the part of the body that is being treated.
The uniform and the non uniform magnetic fields, both possess a 3 dimensional shape and they fade off as the distance from the source increases. It is very difficult to study this complex system when there are varying fields being used in any device. It is not possible to create the static fields by bringing about any modification in the pole designs or by varying the intensities of the lines of force of different materials. It is also impossible to create the uniform field by making use of different geometries such as loops, squares, horseshoes and so on. Each of these significantly vary in their configurations of magnetic lines of force.
Variation in Time
Magnetic fields can be fixed or could vary with time, when time distribution is considered. A magnetic field which is static implies that there is no change of the flux density of the magnetic lined of force or the intensity over the duration or a time interval of its use. The magnetic field has the tendency to become unchanging in a material unless it is varied by some opposing energy, once it is successfully created in a material. This is the sole reason as to why the static magnetic lines of force tend to become permanent over time.
The density of the magnetic flux has the tendency to vary at particular frequencies in case of time varying magnetic fields. This happens at a rate of more than 1 Hertz and sustains up to few Giha Hertz. It is around the permanent magnets or the electromagnets can one find the static magnetic fields. By exposing to alternating currents, the electromagnets can be made time varying.
The electrical wires which conduct alternating current are found to have time-varying magnetic fields around them. A magnetic field is generated around the wires carrying electrical current. To create time varying magnetic fields, an alternating current is used. The input current is passed through a box. It is in the box that the signal modification takes place according to the manufacturer specifications. The magnetic field therapy, then makes use of the magnetic fields created by the currents flowing through the coils.
The course of output current is modified to suit varying frequencies, field orientations, waveforms and intensities. Electric charges are produced along the conductor carrying an electric current in addition to the magnetic field. The shielded wires do not possess any electric field around them, but certainly have the magnetic fields which can help in the healing process during the treatments. This forms the foundation of the PEMF treatments.
It is possible to show time-variation in the DC current also. Example: The PEMF devices operated via batteries display this phenomenon. DC current in this situation is forced into coils and wires which produce magnetic fields.
Intensity and Magnetic Flux Density
The density of the magnetic flux is expressed in Tesla (T) according to Science today. The definition of unit states that if a force of 1 Newton acts on a wire of 1 meter long through which current of 1 Ampere flows in a magnetic field which is uniform, then this field is said to possess a 1 Tesla magnetic flux density. Gauss (G) is a popular terminology often referred in relation to Tesla. The conversion factors are: 1 Gauss = 10-4 Tesla (0.0001 Tesla), 1 Tesla = 104 Gauss (10,000 Gauss), 100 mT (100 x 0.001Tesla) = 1000Gauss and 10 mT=100 Gauss.
The intensity and the density of magnetic flux describe the magnetic field strength, based on technical and scientific literature. For intensity the symbol “H” is used and for describing the density of the magnetic flux, the symbol B is used.
If you consider the magnetic fields generated by coils and wires, the magnetic field intensity is calculated as directly proportional to the strength of the current flowing through the wire and is inversely proportional to the to its distance from the current carrying wire. This means H= (0.5)pr, where I= intensity of current in amperes, r= the distance from the current carrying wire in meters and p= ?. Ampere/meter (A/m) is the unit of the magnetic field intensity [H]. It is defined as the field intensity at a distance r= ½ p from the wire where a 1 A current is flowing. Based on the older terminology, Oersteds were used as the unit of measurement. 1 Oersted= 79.6 A/m.
The key factor in PEMF therapy is the magnetic field intensity. It has been reported in the scientific studies that a magnetic field applied externally produces an adequate intensity at the cellular levels then the therapeutic results might not be visible. If the targeted tissue is kidney, then the MF should be really strong to penetrate and have an impact in the desired region.
Static magnetic field designs
The designs of static magnets considerably affect the power of the magnetic fields. When individual strong magnets are added to magnetic materials, they usually generate stronger fields, irrespective of whether they are positioned in alternating arrays. In case of large magnets, there is significant variation in the magnetic field strength at the surface levels. Alternating design of the poles tends to be very complex in their field patterns, but it is also possible that the varying pole designs increase the strength of the magnetic field of the materials which are flat and flexible.
Field strength measurement
Magnetometers & Gauss meters are used to measure the magnetic fields. In the measurement of the alternating currents, different meters might be needed to measure AC fields in comparison to permanent magnets. The different outlooks to measurement devices are: use of the Hall Effect, NMR and Faraday’s Law. Measuring meters are accessible for all the designs mentioned above. Hall meters vary remarkably in the price factor ranging from devices which can be used at home to research application devices. Very high and low intensities can be detected by the sensitive devices and therefore it is important to select the correct device for the specific application that is being calculated.
Actual field strengths and Advertised field strengths
To calculate the actual amount of the magnetic energy the body is being subjected to, it is very essential to measure the strength of the magnetic fields. The actual field strength of the permanent magnets roughly turn out to be 50% of the proclaimed strength provided by the manufacturers. Only few manufacturers specify the actual value with much accuracy. Due to the absence of magnetometers and lack of knowledge on how to use it properly to measure the strength of the permanent magnets, in order to get at least an approximately real value, you need to deduct 50%. The therapy doesn’t prove out to be effective if the strengths of the magnetic field deployed are way too less.
Lower field strength also has some benefits. They show up with time and not instantly. The measurements of the strength of the magnetic fields around any magnet can significantly vary based on the kind of substance used. It also depends on various other factors.
PEMF Field strength
It is not an easy task to measure the strength of the time varying magnetic fields and also of the PEMFs. This is dependent on several factors such as the system design, the design of the applicator and the setting of the coil & many such factors. The expression of intensity in forms of peak intensity is done because the PEMFs created by the therapeutic devices are heterogeneous. The intensity of the PEMFs decreases as the distance from the source increases. When the applicator is in contact with the healing regions on the body, the intensity of the fields is highest at that instant. At the other end, the intensity is lower. The change in locations of the applicator can help in achieving the desired magnetic field intensities. The intensity of the radiation has certainly a major role to play in the healing process.
Magnetic fields and their permeability to tissues
The following equation describes the relation involving H & B: B=mH, m denotes the environment permeability M = mr x m0, where mr signifies the relative permeability and m0 denotes the permeability of a vacuum. Human tissue permeability lies between that of vacuum or air permeability and therefore B ? H in the biological systems. This denotes that in case of biological systems, the magnetic lines of force definitely penetrate without any restriction or intensity reduction. PEMF may even pass right through the area without being bounced or getting exhausted. This is a significant feature of PEMFs of lower intensities & frequencies. They are usually found to be able to infiltrate the body completely, even through clothing, footwear, bandages, etc. But the PEMF device needs to have sufficient intensity for this purpose. The magnetic fields penetrating the body are not cut off or influenced by any magnetic field entering it.
Magnetic fields and permeability of metals
In case of several metals and the system of coils that are designed in such a way to effectively block external MFs; the relative permeability is very restricted. That means, the magnetic field will get cut off or avert the field very often, irrespective of whether it is static or pulsed when metals are placed in their path. This proves that implants or prostheses in human and animal body have a tendency to corner to change the course of the magnetic lines of force in a particular area. The magnetic fields get completely blocked by devices like Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices. These are most frequently used in specific research and medical applications.
Magnetic fields are found to decrease swiftly with increasing distance. This decline in field intensity is responsible in creating a gradient in the field or slope. This gradient is represented as the strength of the field over a particular distance. The unit is represented as T/m. The gradient becomes higher with increase in number. This diagram also shows at the boundaries of a stationary magnet that the magnetic field is found to drastically drop.
The figure depicts the rapidity with which the magnetic field of a static magnet declines with increasing distances from the magnetic surface. The field is found to drop sharply with intermittent pole magnets when compared to solo pole magnets. When a stationary field falls in its intensity to a value of the magnetic field of earth that is to around 0.5 Gauss, then it is no more beneficial further than the impact of the magnetic field of the earth itself. This indicates that the human beings are continuously exposed to the magnetic fields of the earth.
Mechanisms of Interaction
The living beings are influenced by the magnetic fields through three established mechanisms.
The following information is relevant to the various kinds of the magnetic fields and their subsequent relations.
The Electrodynamic relations with electrolytes in motion are dependent on the Lorentz forces. The charge carriers in motion which are ionic have the potential to stimulate electric field in the tissues. This kind of dealing is the foundation for magnetically-induced flow of blood.
Only time-varying fields have Faraday currents. According to most scientists, this interaction explains the mechanism of therapeutic process involving fluctuating magnetic fields.
The following are relevant to stationary magnetic fields:
Torque is experienced by diamagnetic and paramagnetic molecules. It has a tendency to arrange itself in a pattern that minimizes its free energy inside their field. A magnetomechanical action becomes less effective when the weak magnetic signals are used during the treatments.
Static magnetic fields with high gradient display magnetomechanical action which in turn results in the movement of either ferromagnetic or paramagnetic particles. The magnetic fields with high gradients decline with increasing distance. It is believed by the scientists that the magnetic field gradient can play a significant role in the cellular levels within the body during the treatment process. As the magnetic fields travel through the tissue, the field strength experienced by different tissues varies & this can significantly result in charge development across them.
The actions of Free & non free radicals significantly influence certain reactions. The stationary magnetic fields highly influence the spin states at the electronic levels. This interaction causes short lifetimes, but it can still have enough influence to have a strong effect on biological activities. The cellular impairments get rectified by means of kinetic changes that occur in various reactions.
Current Density and Faraday’s Law
The laws of induction formulated by Faraday are a fundamental law of electromagnetism. The law explains how the electromotive force is produced by the interaction of magnetic fields and electric current. The phenomenon of induction of an electric field by varying magnetic fields is also explained by this law. The Maxwell Faraday equations explain the very same concept in much detail. The reasons as to why the electric currents and the charges produce magnetic and electric fields are explained by the Maxwell’s equations. It even sheds light on the fact about the generation of electric fields in the presence of magnetic fields and vice versa.
In case of time varying magnetic fields when compared to static fields, they have been used commonly in therapy because if the key mechanism of action is induction of small electrical currents or charges in the tissue, then time-varied fields are able to do this in a more effective manner when compared to static magnetic fields. PEMFs or pulsed electromagnetic fields are a better approach to induce currents in tissue for therapeutic purposes.
Electric fields that are used in therapies do not generally penetrate deeper in the human body since the electric field gets absorbed by the fluids present within the body. Also, electric fields that stimulate generation of heat in tissue may do more harm than good. Electric fields can help treat warts, cauterize bleeding, treat skin lesions, etc. For therapeutic purposes, PEMFs of low intensity are used to infiltrate the body easily and they are also not trapped in the tissues while passing through them. But, According to Maxwell’s equations, charge is induced into the tissues by PEMFs as they cross through them. The human body absorbs this induced charge and uses it for various healing activities.
Polarity plays a significant role in the study of magnetic fields and hence is given importance. This concept comes into picture with the Earth itself acting as a huge magnet with its polar areas. The Earth has 2 kinds of poles: Geographic & Magnetic. Both the poles aren’t located close by. There is a lot of confusion about the magnetic poles. When a compass is freely suspended, it comes to rest in north south direction. This implies that the north pole of the earth is actually the magnetic South Pole when considered geographically. The north side of the compass needle points towards the South Pole of the magnet & this leads to a lot of confusion. To get eliminate the confusion, the terms positive and negative are often used by the scientist instead of north & south. The positive pole is the North Pole.
Magnetic fields do not possess any charge like the electricity. It is for this reason that the terms negative and positive aren’t the same thing when compared to electric fields. The law of Magnetism proposed by Gauss stated that there are no magnetic charges which can be analogous to the electric charges. Instead, the magnetic field is generated by the dipole. Currents represent the magnetic dipoles bear similarity to the magnetic charges. They are bound tightly and do not possess any net magnetic charge. The law also states that the lines do not initiate or terminate at or from a particular point. Instead, they form loops. This implies that the magnetic lines entering a specific volume have to exit the same value. Through any Gaussian surface, the total magnetic flux remains zero.
The theories of physics state that the poles of magnet do not have any specific actions and neither one pole is in any form stronger than the other. The energizing and the relaxing of the pole do not occur. No scientific explanations exist proving that the poles have unique roles to play. Polarity is purely subjected to the static magnets. Even with the limited amount of literature the entire concept is still questioned by many. The magnetic fields of the magnet bend over the other side and reverse the polarity. This implies that the magnet placed in the body has the potential to cause bipolar exposure.
According to the Gauss’s law, once the magnetic line of force initiates, it tends to infinity and loops in without any further motion. In all cases, the human beings are constantly being exposed to the polarities. Polarity is not significant for most of the researches conducted using time varied magnetic fields. PEMFs can either be positive or negative, though there have been no systematic differences discovered in one polarity when compared to another.
Interaction of Magnetic Fields
We all know that the interaction of magnetic fields takes place. This can be witnessed if an attempt is made to keep 2 bar magnets together. They would either attract or repel each other. The use of alternating pole arrangements in case of static magnetic systems, the strength of the field is significantly reduced as well as the extent of penetration of the field below the surface of the skin is reduced. This is because a large amount of cancellation takes place. PEMF interact, but not as noticeably as with static magnetic fields. PEMFs fields when added to the like fields can amplify their effects, especially with respect to resonant frequencies. They may also interfere with each other or terminate each other and the best correlation for this is shown in the wave interaction in a pond, rocks either amplify or cancel each other’s wave, when rocks are thrown into water in different locations. The intensities of the PEMFs interact, along with the frequencies, when they push each other as in case of wave analogy.
Actions of Static Magnet
The manners in which the magnetic fields are able to bring about biological effects are still unknown. A concept called the Hall effect states that, when a magnetic field is applied perpendicular to a flowing charge, it causes a variation of some or all of the charges in a third vector. Static magnets do not move, but the tissues through which transport do not block or absorb them, but they have either currents flowing or other activity. These molecular motions and static currents interrelate with the static magnetic field in different ways to encourage the healing process in the tissues. In the book “The Body Electric” authored by Dr.Robert Becker, demonstration of induction of anesthesia in the salamanders has been done with the aid of static magnetic fields. He observed that the electrical activity of the brain was significantly reduced according to the Hall Effect. This proves that it is possible to reduce pain using static magnets, according to the Hall Effect principle.
The static magnetic fields as well cause the variation in the acupuncture meridians like the Hall Effect. He also pointed in his studies that the acupuncture meridians bore resemblance to the DC current system. Hence the magnetic laws could be applied to them as well.