Animal Magnetism

March 11th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, magnets | 62 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday March 11, 2006
The Guardian

So last week, it was all about the magnetic ulcer bandages that were suddenly officially available on the NHS: they are made by Magnopulse, who also sell a magnet for the ladies that will give you “softer skin, shiny hair and stronger nails”, and a dog bowl magnet: “given the choice, your pet will always choose to drink magnetic water”. This absurdity didn’t seem to worry the NHS Prescription Pricing Authority, although they were too shy to reveal the evidence they used to make this excellently amusing decision.

And this week, in a brilliant display of joined up government, it was announced that the very same Magnopulse are being taken to the High Court by the Office of Fair Trading, who are seeking an injunction against them over the dramatic and unqualified claims in their adverts, which Magnopulse have consistently refused to tone down.

They have, of course, already passed through the toothless ASA, who ineffectually told them off for claiming that their products were “clinically proven” and “new”. Now, class, the irony of making those two claims in the same breath is that the first placebo controlled trial in the history of medicine was done on magnet therapy in 1784: by Antoine Lavoisier and Benjamin Franklin, investigating the claims of Dr Franz Mesmer, who got his patients to sit with their feet in magnetised water, and hug magnetised trees.

He brilliantly “discovered” that you can cut a patient and make them bleed, and if you pass a magnet over the wound , the bleeding will stop. He also brilliantly discovered that if he waved a stick about, the bleeding would stop too. Anyone who had ever seen a wound stop bleeding by itself suggested to Mesmer that “doing nothing” (or “jumping about and swearing a lot”) might be equally effective, and so, out of a simple desire to compare these two possibilities, with some finessing, the blinded trial was born. Negative trials on magnet therapy have been around for as long as trials and magnet therapy themselves, and if you don’t believe me, see also “Mesmer” (Potter, Dennis et al 1994), the Hollywood flop starring Alan Rickman as Franz. You won’t fault me on the academic references.

And you won’t fault the alternative therapists either. Lilias Curtin, Cherie Booth’s alternative therapist, appeared on GMTV on Tuesday talking about magnet therapy with four small magnets sellotaped to her neck. She delivered the usual chat about how blood contains iron, and then referred to thousands of trials showing the benefit of magnetism. It turned out she seemed to be talking about papers on Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanners, which take pictures of your insides, and don’t treat anything: but Curtin parried that lots of people feel great when they come out of MRI scanners, because they get a “huge dose” of magnet power in there.

Now this got me thinking. Firstly, if people really do believe all this stuff about magnets influencing the iron in blood, it must puzzle them why they don’t bulge when they go through the MRI scanner. But secondly, faced with such a difference of scale, doesn’t it make them want to go and buy a proper magnet? I recently had the pleasure of playing with the extremely dangerous magnetic neodymium used for steering nuclear particles in accelerators, and my big discovery for the day was that a 3″ x 1″ disc shaped neodymium magnet only costs about sixty quid. Two of them, if they get out of control, will easily break your arm. Metal objects turn into airborne projectiles and fly across the room to get near them. You have to think ahead and plan a route before you move these things, because computers and monitors will be affected through walls, discs are wiped, and any clutter lying around will be instantly tidied up in a brief and dangerous session of extreme sports magnetic hoovering. What I’m saying is, I can understand the appeal, and the sense of wonder, and power, in magnets: but they’re not for work, they’re for pleasure. And no, you are not responsible enough to own the 3″ one.

· Please send your bad science to bad.science@guardian.co.uk

UPDATE:

www.oft.gov.uk/News/Press+releases/2006/82-06.htm

Another company, Magna, rather disappointingly backed down before they got to the high court.

Misleading magnetic therapy claims stopped

OFT takes action against Magna Jewellery Limited

82/06 28 April 2006

Magna Jewellery Limited, a company which sells jewellery and other products containing magnets as a form of pain relief, has agreed to change its advertising following action by the OFT.

The OFT considers that a number of the company’s advertising claims were misleading under the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations. Magna Jewellery Ltd and its officers, Jeffrey Frankel and Laura Neal, have given binding undertakings to the OFT that they will not make advertising claims stating or giving the impression that:

* magnetic products have a therapeutic effect caused by a specified physiological mechanism, such as an increase in circulation. This includes claims like: ‘Their therapeutic properties are derived from tiny but powerful earth magnets, which create a strong magnetic field. As your blood flows through this field it becomes oxygenated, which helps to rejuvenate the body cells. This is needed to reduce swelling of joints and improve circulation, all of which alleviates pain,’ and, ‘The reason the back support is so effective in relieving back pain is a combination of its construction, which holds the back firm, and the 28 powerful magnets which increase blood circulation.’
* the therapeutic effect of magnetic products is established or proven by scientific trials. This includes claims like, ‘Only Magna Therapy Jewellery is clinically proven to relieve pain,’ and that the idea magnetic fields improve circulation, ‘has been reinforced by medical research studies.’
* products have a therapeutic effect due to their magnets (or magnetic fields) and/or will in all cases produce a therapeutic effect for those who wear them. This includes claims like, ‘The pain relieving properties are derived from tiny but powerful magnets;’ and, ‘Magnetic pain relief bracelets really work.’

The undertakings also restrict the publication of advertisements using customer testimonials which repeat any of the above claims.

Magna Jewellery Limited, Mr Frankel and Ms Neal have not admitted that their advertising claims are misleading.

Christine Wade, Director of Consumer Regulation Enforcement, said:

‘Magna Jewellery Ltd targets its products at consumers who are looking for relief from pain. Where advertisements claim products have therapeutic effects it is important they do not mislead consumers. These undertakings given to the OFT will protect consumers.’

If the undertakings given to the OFT are breached, a High Court injunction can be sought. Failure to comply with an injunction may result in proceedings for contempt of court.

The OFT is committed to targeting healthcare as a priority area for the next three years.

NOTES

1. All the undertakings were signed on 7 April 2006 and received by the OFT on 19 April 2006.

2. Magna Jewellery Limited’s business address is PO Box 338, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 8HZ. Jeffrey Frankel is a director of the company. Laura Neal is a director and its company secretary.

3. The undertakings also apply to Mr Frankel and Ms Neal in a personal capacity, preventing them being involved in the publication or dissemination of advertisements of the kinds referred to above by any other business.

4. The OFT obtained the undertakings from Magna Jewellery Ltd, Mr Frankel and Ms Neal under the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 (the CMARs). The CMARs aim to protect consumers and businesses from misleading advertisements and advertisements that make prohibited comparisons. The OFT’s main role under the CMARs is to support and reinforce the existing advertising controls exercised by other bodies, such as the Advertising Standards Authority (the ASA), not replace them. The OFT will usually step in where action by those other bodies has not resolved complaints about an advertisement and it is in the public interest that the OFT should act.

5.The ASA referred Magna Jewellery Ltd’s advertising to the OFT for consideration under the CMARs as the company continued to advertise having not provided substantiation for its claims as required under the ASA’s British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing

6. The OFT can only act under the CMARs when a complaint about an advertisement is received. To come within the scope of the CMARs, an advertisement must be misleading (i.e. it must deceive or be likely to deceive the recipient and affect their economic behaviour, or for those reasons harm the interests of a competitor), and be published in connection with a trade, business, craft or profession, in order to promote the supply or transfer of goods or services, immovable property, rights or obligations. The OFT can take action against anyone appearing to be concerned or likely to be concerned with the publication of a misleading advertisement.

7. Only a court can decide that an advertisement is misleading under the CMARs. It has not done so here.


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62 Responses



  1. Andrew Clegg said,

    March 11, 2006 at 12:58 am

    But secondly, faced with such a difference of scale, doesn’t it make them want to go and buy a proper magnet? … Two of them, if they get out of control, will easily break your arm.

    Aah, but you see, that’s bad magnetism, which is completely different to the good magnetism they make the bandages out of.

    Andrew.

  2. AitchJay said,

    March 11, 2006 at 3:43 am

    “Cherie Booth’s alternative therapist”

    Is that meant to be Cherie Blair?

  3. Andrew Pilley said,

    March 11, 2006 at 4:17 am

    “It turned out she seemed to be talking about papers on Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanners, which take pictures of your insides, and don’t treat anything: but Curtin parried that lots of people feel great when they come out of MRI scanners, because they get a “huge dose” of magnet power in there.”

    I could be mistaken, but doesn’t an MRI also go with a dose of slightly radioactive glucose? IIRC, cancer’s a bit power hungry, and likes consuming lots of it, so it shows up on an MRI because of the concentration of the glucose.
    I could be thinking about a CT scan or something tho. If i’m right tho, i imagine being injected with glucose would make anyone feel good regardless fo the magnetic state of their environment.
    Or they could have just taken the oppertunity to take a nap in the MRI machine :)

    Andrew

  4. Ian Patterson said,

    March 11, 2006 at 5:49 am

    Cherie Booth is married to Tony Blair. She uses the name “Booth” rather than “Blair”. I think I would, too.

  5. Ayupmeduck said,

    March 11, 2006 at 8:22 am

    I think that’s neodymium, not neodynium, and I want one. A really big one.

    www.bisbellmagnets.com/materials/neo.htm

  6. S said,

    March 11, 2006 at 10:23 am

    MRI also go with a dose of slightly radioactive glucose?…. could be thinking about a CT scan or something tho

    You are thinking of the PET scan.

  7. glowinginthesun said,

    March 11, 2006 at 11:16 am

    Thank You, Ben. I especially enjoyed the last paragraph. Great. I want more.

    This made my day.

  8. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 11, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    just seen the paper cut the last para for space. grr etc.

  9. Mithent said,

    March 11, 2006 at 1:22 pm

    That’s rather unfortunate, it doesn’t end that well without the last paragraph.

  10. Ithika said,

    March 11, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    They cut the *last paragraph*? But that was the one that got really funny. That was where I was laughing out loud. Why can’t they have removed some of the science instead? ;-)

  11. eugene doherty said,

    March 11, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    It pains me to say it but Curtin does have a certain point. By serendipity some folks suffering depression who were MRI scanned reported feeling better afterwards. Rather than ascribing it to the Hawthorne effect researchers have looked into it and there is evidence to suggested that high intensity fields can effect mood changes, eg
    “Low-Field Magnetic Stimulation in Bipolar Depression Using an MRI-Based Stimulator”
    (ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/161/1/93)
    The most promising results seem to be in the field of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation) but there is still a lot of work to be done in this area

    Of course this is based on high intensity dynamic fields in a half million pound scanner rather than a couple of little static shop-bought magnets strapped to the forehead

    For a similar take on the fun that can be had zapping folks with high intensity magnetic fields check out the work of Michael Persinger who has induced religious experiences in folks although his work is not without it’s critics en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Persinger

  12. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 11, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    that’s great. i just got this over email too:

    Bad Science,
    The Guardian,

    MRI scanner

    I can explain why people feel better after coming out of an MRI scanner. I
    have been in one once. The actual experience is horrible. I felt trapped in
    a pipe which does not allow any movement, with the roof just inches above
    one’s face. When the thing is switched on and presumably doing its work
    there is a loud jarring noise.

    The pleasure is in being told that it is over and they slide you out.

    It is the same feeling as ceasing to bang your head against a wall.

    yours,

  13. pv said,

    March 11, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve had my head in an MRI scanner too (there’s a surprise). Did nothing for me. It wasn’t a nice experience, very claustrophobic and noisy, and I was somewhat relieved afterwards that it was over. My son has had this experience on two occasions, for which he was anesthetised both times, and I can’t say he was over the moon about the experience either.

  14. Paul said,

    March 11, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve spent long periods (up ro 2 hours) in mri scanners at various doses (1.5Tesla, 2T and even 3T).
    I always feel much better when I get out.
    I conclude therefore that MRI scanners make one feel better. (Haven’t noted a dose-dependent effect though).

  15. AitchJay said,

    March 12, 2006 at 11:23 am

    Thanks Ian, I didn’t know that. Here they are referred to as ‘the Blairs’.

  16. Teek said,

    March 12, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    why, oh why, oh for f**k’s sake why are quacks like “Lilias Curtin, Cherie Booth’s alternative therapist,” allowed to spew this total crap on TV…?! and to a generally accepting audience on breakfast TV at that?!

    MRI story # 5: i felt bloody awful when i came out of my MRI scan, altho that might have had something to do with the cruciate ligament tear that was giving me a bit of grief at the time… ;-)

    i have no idea if this could be related, but i did see some magnet therapy years ago. my grandfather had parkinson’s he had three sessions a week where he’d strap a band of magnets to his arm, and put his arms into a tube where a magnetic field was applied that alternated in its polarity (according to the therapist). this was claimed to reduce my grandfather’s tremors, and as such was used to relieve him of his symptoms. i was sceptical at the time (being eleven years old), and would like to know if this is the same type of magnet therapy as is being described by Curtin…?

  17. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 12, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    to be fair Curtin got a pretty hard time from the team on the sofa, and from the tv doc they had too.

    what’s really frightening, to me, is seeing live in front of you on t’ telly the kind of made up pseudoscientific nonsense that the first lady and her husband apparently love to swallow hook line and sinker. you can’t expect irrationality like that to exist in isolation, in one little corner of someone’s brain. to quote myself (pompously) from the “science and the left” thread in the forums,

    www.badscience.net/?a=xdforum&xdforum_action=viewthread&xf_id=1&xt_id=185&pstart=0#lastpost

    we have a prime minister, let’s not forget, who apparently believes in: alternative therapies, god, the dangerousness of mmr, creationist teaching, the innocence of american torture programs, and weapons of mass destruction in iraq. these extraordinary beliefs cannot be taken in isolation, when they form such a clear pattern.

  18. pv said,

    March 12, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    Maybe the Blairs/Booths have financial interest in a magnet company. Magnet Windows maybe (do they still exist?). Maybe they’re just suckers for New Age tripe. Anyway, Isaac Newton had a fair few strange preferences too so it’s probably nothing to do with “intelligence”.

  19. MDW said,

    March 13, 2006 at 2:01 am

    Ben:
    But secondly, faced with such a difference of scale, doesn’t it make them want to go and buy a proper magnet? … Two of them, if they get out of control, will easily break your arm.

    Andrew:
    Aah, but you see, that’s bad magnetism, which is completely different to the good magnetism they make the bandages out of.

    It’s a homeopathic cure. Lots of magnetism can break bones, so a very small amount of magnetism can fix them.

  20. Andrew Clegg said,

    March 13, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Shoulda seen that one coming…

    Andrew.

  21. Delster said,

    March 13, 2006 at 12:00 pm

    i just have this insane urge to get one of those magnets and take a slow stroll through our server room! :-)

  22. Digital Goldfish said,

    March 13, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    Creationism to be included in GCSE science courses – Why>?!!!! news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/education/4793198.stm

    In RE classes, yes, but science no way…

  23. Tessa K said,

    March 13, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    If magnets improve your circulation then does that mean the blood goes round faster, ie your pulse rate goes up? I just tried putting a few fridge magnets on me and my pulse rate remained the same. I think this proves something. Possibly that I have nothing better to do. But it’s about as rigorously scientific as some of this guff about magnets.

  24. MDW said,

    March 14, 2006 at 12:45 am

    So how do you go about shipping one of those insanely powerful 7.5cm magnets? I have images of a small corregated cardboard package immovably affixed to the side of the courier van. You could ship with a C-shaped chunk of soft iron, with the magnet in the gap. Then the field lines will preferentially go through the iron, greatly reducing the external field. The problem comes after delivery, when you have to extract the magnet from the gap…

    If you got a smaller magnet, so it would fit into a standard envelope, I wonder what it would do to the post office’s letter sorting equipment? Whats the odds that there is some bit of over-broad legislation which lets them prosecute you as a terrorist for trying? (Sabotage of a communcations network or something.)

    Since writing that, I’ve looked at the NZ post office’s website – the “Dangerous Goods” classification includes “goods that are highly magnetic”, so it is forbidden. There is no mention of any punishment worse than confiscation.

  25. Ciarán said,

    March 14, 2006 at 12:00 pm

    check out all the magnets u can buy at froogle
    tinyurl.com/ok86u

  26. Jellytussle said,

    March 14, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    I seem to remember that the strength of a magnetic field decreases at a rate of 1/r^3 from the source. So for any small magnet, even a very powerful one, wrapping it in a few cm of foam and packing in a moderate sized box should make the thing easy to handle.

    The superconducting magnets in a MRI scanner are a couple of metres across, which makes a big difference.

  27. Peter said,

    March 14, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    I sent an email to my MP (Adam Holloway, Gravesham) via www.theyworkforyou.com

    He replied very promptly. Although he described himself as “…a mere lowly new MP in the Opposition party” he will look into it. (Top points to Mr Holloway).

    This is tax money paying for and giving credibility to quack medicine so your MP should be bothered, why not email them too. I’m sure they’d like to know.

  28. NG said,

    March 15, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    “I think that’s neodymium, not neodynium, and I want one”

    Paradoxically a good source for neodymium magnets to play with is an old Hard Disk Drive (not too old though as they didn’t use them).
    Even the small ones can give a nasty pinch.

  29. Charlie said,

    March 15, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    We bought some neodymium magnets off eBay – even the 1cm cubes ones are extremely powerful and can make the smaller ones leap off tables etc. Also invented magnet darts with a baking tray. Hours of fun…

    Incidentally, they were shipped via Royal Mail without incident.

  30. David Cantrell said,

    March 15, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    These neodymium magnets which attract metal objects from all around. You can order them off the interwebnet. Am I very bad man for wondering what they do to all the other stuff that’s being shipped in the same post office van?

  31. Mithent said,

    March 15, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    David Cantrell:

    www.firebox.com/index.html?dir=firebox&action=product&pid=909

    Firebox sell a small one. They seem to put it in the centre of a box which is a fair bit larger than the magnet ‘to prevent it from interfering with it’s immediate surroundings’. With larger ones, though..

  32. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 15, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    you can get the three inch one for a hundred dollars, the company says their normal warehouse staff refuse to pack them. i think they package them in a wooden box inside a bigger wooden box.

  33. outeast said,

    March 17, 2006 at 9:53 am

    Hey, Ben, don’t pussyfoot with 3 inches – your hundred bucks’ll get you a real man’s 4″ magnet! As it says in the description, ‘Never try to put it against heavy iron or two magnets together. The force is so great it will crack from an impact. If your hand would be between magnet and heavy iron or worse another big magnet, you figure out what would happen. … It need to be locked after use in wooden or plastic bigger box with iron shielding all around.’ (The grammatical errors are not mine!)

    They’ll ship internationally, too!

  34. outeast said,

    March 17, 2006 at 9:57 am

    Also, fwiw froogling for these neodymium magnets brings up thousands being sold for therapeutic purposes, though they do tend to be a tad smaller…

  35. eleanor said,

    March 17, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    “given the choice, your pet will always choose to drink magnetic water”.

    Given the choice, my pet prefers to drink the greenish water standing in empty flowerpots (when outside) or from the toilet (when inside). What can we learn from this for our own better health?

  36. martin g said,

    March 17, 2006 at 7:41 pm

    Here’s a short clip from Charles Mackay’s essays ‘The Magnetisers’

    From his book :

    ‘Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions’

    written in 1841 (ish)


    1. Six wine glasses, filled with water unmesmerised, were placed on a table, and Jane Okey being called in, was requested to drink from each of them successively. She did so, and no effect was produced.

    2. The same six glasses stood on the table, the water in the fourth having been subjected for a long time to the supposed magnetic influence. She was requested in like manner to drink of these. She did so, and again no effect was produced, although, according to the doctrine of the magnetisers, she ought to have been immediately fixed on drinking of the fourth.

    3. In this experiment the position of the glasses was changed. There was no result.

    4. Was a repetition of the foregoing. No result.

    5. The water in all the glasses was subjected to the supposed magnetic influence from the fingers of Dr. Elliotson, until, in his opinion, it was strongly magnetised. Still no result.

    6. The glasses were filled up with fresh water unmesmerised. No result.

    7. The water was strongly magnetised in each glass, and the girl emptied them all. No result.

    etc etc.

    He ends :

    “ In England, the delusion of magnetism may for the present be considered as fairly exploded. “

    that was in 1841 remember – if only he knew . . .

    The whole lot, and much more wonderful stuff, can be found here : ( follow links to ‘The Magnetisers’ )

    www.litrix.com/madraven/madne001.htm#1

  37. Frank Morgan said,

    March 18, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    Complimentary and “alternative” therapies are not the same and this issue is not addressed at all. I find this rather odd. It would seem that there is a rather discriminatory approach taken by many a need to make fun of alternative/complementary if indeed this is what readers mean or indeed if they are aware of the difference. Magnopulse is seriously used on racehorses and from results published seems to be very successful no need to say it is psychological.

  38. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 18, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    ok then frank, what’s the difference between complementary and alternative?

  39. Frank Morgan said,

    March 18, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Ok Ben,

    Complimentary is used in conjunction with orthodox medical treatment and is intended to compliment rather than replace orthodox treatment .Alternative suggests to many “unenlightened scoffers” that it is meant as a replacement. There is a vast difference.
    Frank

  40. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 18, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    that definition is based on the way an individual practitioner or patient uses it, it is not a property of any given treatment.

    “take this homeopathy tablet instead of your asthma medication”

    vs

    “take this homeopathy tablet alongside your asthma medication”.

    homeopathy in both. “complementary” or “alternative” is not a property of any treatment, therefore “magnet therapy” cannot be described as either “complementary” or “alternative”.

    next?

  41. Frank Morgan said,

    March 18, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    Ok Ben,

    Not a property of any given treatment? Argumentative not enlightening. Sorry.
    Frank

  42. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 18, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    qué?

  43. Frank Morgan said,

    March 18, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    Ok Ben,
    Seems you plough your own furrow. Kind wishes.
    Frank

  44. Brain Jim said,

    March 18, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    “You suggest that X is a property of items in the group A: however, I can demonstrate that X is a property of the people who use items in group A, not a property of the items themselves.”

    “You are very narrow minded.”

  45. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 18, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    it’s not enough to be right these days. you have to be REEEEALLY understanding towards the people who are wrong as well.

  46. Frank Morgan said,

    March 19, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Ben,

    Kind of you to consider being nice to those who are wrong when you are “right”
    Speaks volumes. Brain Jim sounds just what he is. No comment.
    Best wishes,
    Frank

  47. Robert Carnegie said,

    March 20, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    I’m kind of interested in a magnet that can wipe tape recording, including video. At work I can use a machine which we bought for computer discs. My brand of video tape started arriving with diagonal stripe interference that my VCR can’t erase properly, although may that should tell me to look for another brand, or for a hard disk PVR.

    Maplin used to sell a square boxy magnet. Apparently anything that you put through the middle was wiped. Yeah, where you keep it is a challenge, it’s easy to forget and there’s an accident.

    The magnetised water experiment should have led to an early bathroom break, or several. I suppose the subject was allowed to leave the room between times.

  48. Ian said,

    March 20, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    It’s petty, I know – but surely complimentary therapy (post 39, Frank Morgan) is telling someone their hair looks nice so they feel better, yes?

    Ian

  49. simond said,

    March 20, 2006 at 3:18 pm

    There’s a page in today’s Metro that seems to have picked up on the magnet/Ofcom thing. They also criticise a couple of other alternative therapies, and there’s an odd ‘roadtest’ of some of the magnetic health gadgets. Doesn’t seem to be online, though if you’re in London you’ll no doubt find a copy on the floor.

    Overall, looked pretty sensible (though I only skimmed it in our *cough* gents just now), which is vaguely encouraging as the Metro comes from the same stable as the Mail (I think).

  50. simond said,

    March 20, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    (Not Ofcom, sorry – I think telecomms companies are probably justified in using magnets at some point in their processes.)

  51. Frank Morgan said,

    March 20, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Complimentary therapy telling someone etc (post 39 Ian) you do have a sense of humour at least well done.
    Frank Morgan.

  52. Hanne said,

    March 21, 2006 at 11:45 am

    martin g-
    Man, she must have needed the loo halfway through that experiment! Did they factor that in?
    But yes, great stuff in that link of yours..

    Ben-
    Yes, you know the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”. Nowadays, it seems like they will..

  53. Frank Morgan said,

    March 21, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Small point all adages are old they dont need to be qualified.
    Maybe a bit petty but ther you are.
    Frank

  54. DK said,

    March 23, 2006 at 10:38 am

    Frank

    Ref #53

    Being even more petty, when does an adage become an adage?

    At some point it has to be new, surely – unless of course you subscribe to the theory that adages were created by a divine being at the start of the universe :-)

    DK

  55. Frank Morgan said,

    March 23, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    DK,

    I dont think you qualify for being petty, senseless rather as far as this goes.. You need to read Troublesome Words, Bill Bryson(revised edition page 3) mabye you would like to write to him to keep him right?. I am sure he would appreciate your thoughts!
    Kind regards,
    Frank.

  56. Big Al said,

    March 24, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    I understand that the iron in haemoglobin is in a diamegnetic, not ferromagnetic state; so it actually ought to be slightly repelled by magnets, not attracted by them. However, I understand these “therapeutic” magnets are no different from fridge magnets anyway, so the field will never make it through your skin.

  57. Colin B said,

    March 24, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    This test conducted 3 times on my sisters dog which by the way does`nt normally like water.
    In each case 2 identical bowls 1 with tap water, 1with magnetised water, and much to the sceptics disbelief the dog went for wait for it the MAGNETISED version mmmmm.

  58. Big Al said,

    March 24, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    Were the bowls always in the same relative position?

  59. Geoff D said,

    March 26, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    I did my PhD on magnetic resonance devices and have wondered about how these magnetic bracelets and bandages could possibly work. My wife bought some acumed pain patches from Boots. These contain small magnets surrounded by ‘copper micro spheres’. Having suffered from an irritatingly painful pain in my shoulder for ten or more years I thought I would give them a go. Rather worryingly they seem to give quite a lot of relief and are cheaper than pain killers. I hang my head in shame. I’ll be taking homeopathic remedies next.

  60. TimW said,

    October 20, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    OK, I’m a tiny bit late here, but I’ve noticed that the magna-health.com homepage includes all this sort of guff hidden away in the HTML:

    META name=”description” content=”Magna Jewellery Ltd markets the Magna Therapy Bracelet and Necklace which has been clinically proven to relieve arthritic pain. The Jewellery incorporates tiny but powerful natural earth magnets. The company offers an unconditional 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee.”
    META name=”keywords” content=”magna,magna jewellery,magna therapy,magnet,magnet therapy,magnetic,magnetic deficiency syndrome (etc. etc.)

    You see some of this stuff if you do a Google search that finds the page, e.g. a search for Magna Jewellery.

    My question would be, does that constitute advertising? Or more specifically, are they in breach of the agreement they’ve made with the OFT?

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  62. Bioflow magnetic collar - Page 4 - Pet Forums Community said,

    October 26, 2010 at 10:14 am

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