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Do copper bracelets do anything?

by ShawnD
Tags: bracelets, copper
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NateTG
#19
Mar3-04, 03:45 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
Sorry people...megnets, copper bracelets, and the majority of ancient folk medicines don't work. The ones that have actually been shown to work do so for scientifically explainable reasons.
What do you mean by scientifically explainable? Scientifically predictable makes sense - science does not explain anything.

What do you mean by 'folk medicine'?

I don't dispute that the people selling copper or magnet bracelets are probably snake-oil salesmen, but that doesn't mean that magnets or copper do not have their place in modern medicine.

Acupuncture is an excellent example of something that was disregarded by science for an extended period of time, but is now accepted as legitemate medicine.

Since copper was brought up, it's worth pointing out that people don't really know how IUD's work, or at least didn't but used them anyway because they work.

If you look at something like monoxadil (not sure about spelling) which is the 'active ingredient' in Rogaine, you'll have a hard time coming up with a good scientific explanation.

It's easy to describe some of the mechanisms of Rogaine - for example increased blood flow to the scalp - but it was only developed as a hair growth product when hair growth was discovered as a side effect in trials for using it as a treatment for something else.

A goodly number of modern medicines are derivatives or analogs of herbal medicines. A short list of these medicines might include Ma Huang (ephedrine), willow bark (asperin), opium (morphene), marijuana, garlic, cloves, or St.John's Wort although there are many,many more.

Even if folk medicines are purely psychosomatic, they can still be effective, and therefore should be considered viable for medicine.
Zero
#20
Mar3-04, 04:04 PM
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Nate, you're missing my point...you can use the viable "herbal" remedies as part of real medicine. You can't use the "mystic healing powers of copper and magnets" to do anything but rip off gullible people.
NateTG
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Mar3-04, 04:22 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
Nate, you're missing my point...you can use the viable "herbal" remedies as part of real medicine. You can't use the "mystic healing powers of copper and magnets" to do anything but rip off gullible people.
What distinguishes a 'viable' herbal remedy from magnets? Would you be less sceptical if the copper was applied with a patch, salve, or in a nasal spray?

Do you think that a Zinc or zinc-plated bracelet is likely to prevent or cure colds, or is that also a plot to rip off gullible people? What about a zinc nose ring?

Would you be less likely to describe this as a 'rip off' if "mystic healing powers" was replaced with "chemical action" or "electro-chemical action"?

Do you believe that someone can reduce the pain from a headache by sticking a needle in your hand or is that also a non-viable mystic healing activity?
FZ+
#22
Mar3-04, 04:48 PM
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What distinguishes a 'viable' herbal remedy from magnets? Would you be less sceptical if the copper was applied with a patch, salve, or in a nasal spray?
Viability has nothing to do with the method of application, and everything to do with rigor and reproducibility in testing. As it is, claims of "mystic healing powers" are invariably accompanied by a diehard resistance to objective testing, and "explanations" that blatantly disregard known laws of physics - let alone biology. Nor has real attempts been made for a theoretical justification - practioners instead choosing to remove their own scientific credibility with metaphysical mumbo-jumbo.

Acupuncture has not been accepted as legitimate medicine, and the chi explanation is generally laughed out of court. It is possibly true that certain psychological effects may result, but again, that has been tested to show it is a real effect.

The hilarity of it all is that much of modern medicine does derive from traditional folk herbals etc. Usually, by picking "alternative medicine", all the patient is doing is choosing a method that had failed scientific testing.
Tsu
#23
Mar3-04, 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
You know as well as I do that the placebo effect is really strong in some people. The problem is that people will sometimes ignore a serious problem while they are letting their minds cover the symptoms.
Yes, Zero. However, I feel the problem is more that conventional medicine frequently fails in helping people with many ailments, including the chronic aches and pains of growing older. Our landscaped maintenance guy, like myself, had been to the Dr. numerous time without result. My Dr. put me on Ibuprofen therapy - which TOTALLY screwed up my stomach - and told me to NOT use my arm (not an option in my job, but he also couldn't put me on any kind of disability while it cleared up)!! I was unbelievably surprised when my tendonitis began to subside. I'd been in constant pain with it for TWO YEARS because my physician could not help me!!

So your idea of the placebo effect is: someone performing a little medical experiment on themselves, knowing exactly the placebo they are giving themselves, and being skeptical (with previous negative experience to further cloud the results) about achieving a positive outcome? Hmmmm. Doesn't sound quite right to me. Are you aware that today's pharmacology is based on the known effects of herbs, roots and trace minerals? Much of it is taken from the knowledge gleened from ancient chinese, indian (american and eastern), south american medicines. (The heart medication, Digoxin, is made from digitalis - obtained from the common plant called Foxglove or Digitalis purpurea.) Not to mention granny's medicine chest! Have you never used honey, lemon juice, and whiskey as a cough syrup? Baby, you haven't LIVED until you've been looped on some of THAT!!

Here is a list of ingredients in the arthritis medication most recommended by the Arthritis Pain Cure Center (http://www.arthritis-pain-cure.com/a...medication.htm):

(yes, it's considered a homeopathic. BUT! millions SWEAR by it!... like I said - whatever works for ya! (Ibuprofen or Arthritin... God or no God... Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer choice... surely everyone is entitled to make their choice without being talked down to or treated like a nutcase by those who don't agree. Don't you think? Especially if their choice is based on personal experience...

"Arthritin is a powerful formula - a blend of the most effective arthritin pain relief ingredients available today - with 36 arthritis pain relief ingredients specially targeted to joint health and arthritis pain relief. The Arthritin arthritis pain relief formula contains;


A complete glucosamine an amino sugar produced from the shells of chitin (shellfish) structures that includes N-Acetyl-glucosamine, Glucosamine Sulfate, Mixed Glycosamin-oglycans and Glycoproteins. These glucosamine structures are critical in rebuilding connective tissues, necessary for cellular regeneration and synergistically more powerful than any one single glucosamine supplement.

100% pure shark cartilage (OMG!! ISN'T THAT CONSIDERED...'HERBAL' OR SOMETHING!?) is naturally rich in the full spectrum of glycosamin-oglycans and chondroitin sulfates to aid in restoring and regenerating the tissues responsible for healthy joints.

Chondroitin Sulfate helps joints and surrounding tissues heal and regenerate, while devascularizing cartilage and promoting healthy bone growth.

The anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties of Boswellia Serrata (oh dear, another PLANT) are shown more effective than Phenylbutazone..

Perna Canaliculous (green-lipped mussel!!???) offers a full spectrum of glycosamin-oglycans and chondroitin sulfates restore and regenerate healthy joint tissue.

Capsaicin desensitizes sensory receptors to effectively block pain signals from being processed.

DL-Methionine, an essential amino acid containing sulfur, is a powerful antioxidant preventing free-radical damage to tissues and actively detoxifies heavy metals from the body.

Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), an essential Omega 6 fatty acid, increases permeability and flexibility of cell membranes.

DL-Phenylalanine, an amino acid, nutritionally aids and lengthens the biochemical life of the naturally occurring endorphin and encephalin "pain-relievers" of the body.

Manganese Ascorbate, a mineral, promotes structural maintenance in the bones and tendons.

L-Ornithine, an amino acid known to be a very powerful stimulator of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), promotes the growth of muscle and other tissue.

Boron, a mineral, displays great significance in the ability to retain and add bone tissue.

Yucca, an herb, is an effective agent against arthritis and rheumatism by diminishing the amount of toxic build up around and within the joints.

Actea spicata,(PLANT) a homeopathic remedy, relieves swelling of joints and rheumatism of small joints.

Apis mellifica, (tincture of honeybee!) a homeopathic remedy, relieves rheumatic pains in back and limbs and edema of hands and knees.

Ledum palustre (PLANT) is a useful remedy in gout.

Rhododendron (PLANT): Relieves rheumatic tension and drawn muscles.

And more."

How do you suppose it was 'discovered' that these ingredients do what they are purported to do?

Too 'homeopathic' for you? Then consider the history of aspirin. Do you ever take aspirin?
http://www.bayeraspirin.com/press/fa...in_history.pdf

So how do you think Hippocrates discovered that the bark and leaves of the the willow tree provided relief from pain and fever? Did he TRY it on someone (or HIMSELF?) and actually experience the fact that "OMG! I now feel...BETTER!!"?

The thing is, we are still learning things about the human body and it's physiology. Science knows so little about the human mind that "we donít even know what percentage of the brain workings we understand" (quote by Dr. Charles Gross, neuroscientist at Princeton University). Who really knows what the human mind is fully capable of? And if there were a little more open-mindedness about what people experience, conventional medicine might be a bit more advanced than it is.
ShawnD
#24
Mar3-04, 11:21 PM
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Originally posted by Monique
But I agree, principally copper bracelets probably don't work. There are so many crackpot medications on the market, just look at the miracle weight loss pills for instance :S
Actually those miracle weight loss pills work; it's a fact. The only problem is how they work. The working ingredient in those pills is aphedra which causes your heart rate and metabolism to go through the roof. Those weight loss pills are comparable to the drug speed. That is why most of them are now illegal in the US.
Evo
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Mar3-04, 11:58 PM
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Originally posted by Tsunami
100% pure shark cartilage (OMG!! ISN'T THAT CONSIDERED...'HERBAL' OR SOMETHING!?) is naturally rich in the full spectrum of glycosamin-oglycans and chondroitin sulfates to aid in restoring and regenerating the tissues responsible for healthy joints.
Shark liver oil is the ingredient in Preparation H, it shrinks hemorrhoids.

Too 'homeopathic' for you? Then consider the history of aspirin. Do you ever take aspirin?
http://www.bayeraspirin.com/press/fa...in_history.pdf

So how do you think Hippocrates discovered that the bark and leaves of the the willow tree provided relief from pain and fever? Did he TRY it on someone (or HIMSELF?) and actually experience the fact that "OMG! I now feel...BETTER!!"?
Actually it was from observing animals that were eating the bark.
hitssquad
#26
Mar4-04, 02:33 AM
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Originally posted by Tsunami
DL-Phenylalanine, an amino acid, nutritionally aids and lengthens the biochemical life of the naturally occurring endorphin and encephalin "pain-relievers" of the body.
My understanding is that only the right-hand ("D") isomer has that property...
http://www.google.com/search?q=Pheny...+l+isomer+pain

...whereas the left-hand ("L") isomer has an anti-depressive property.





-Chris
Tsu
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Mar4-04, 02:53 AM
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Originally posted by Evo
Shark liver oil is the ingredient in Preparation H, it shrinks hemorrhoids.
And who was the first to discover that shark liver oil rubbed on or stuck up their butt shrank their hemorrhoids??!!!
Monique
#28
Mar4-04, 03:24 AM
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Researchers are tracking out in the wilderness and planes in search of plants, microorganisms and such which contain compounds not yet known to us. Tsunami, why do you make it seem that the arthritis medicine is herbal just because it contains chitin and plant materials?

The point is whether those compounds work or not. I'm interested in the supposedly rejuvenating properties of the amino acid glucosamine..
Tsu
#29
Mar4-04, 07:06 PM
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Originally posted by Monique
Researchers are tracking out in the wilderness and planes in search of plants, microorganisms and such which contain compounds not yet known to us.
Yes. Let's hope they find what they're looking for before we burn down all the forests that the plants, microorganisms and such live in!

Tsunami, why do you make it seem that the arthritis medicine is herbal just because it contains chitin and plant materials?
Because Arthritin is considered a 'natural' (or homeopathic)medication, and some people cop real attitudes about anything that smacks of non-conventional (or 'alternative') medicine, such as herbal medicine or acupuncture, etc. If all researchers thought this way, we'd never even HAVE conventional medicine, OR the technology to advance it for that matter. I really don't know why people look down on alternative medicine. It came about because the options given to patients within 'conventional' medicine were becoming pretty unacceptable. The longer I work in the field of 'conventional' medicine, the more I look at 'alternative' medicine options to supplement conventional medicine, because I see every day the failure and misery associated with conventional treatments that don't really work - or they work to a certain extent, but quality of life has suffered a most MAJOR blow!

The point is whether those compounds work or not. I'm interested in the supposedly rejuvenating properties of the amino acid glucosamine..
EXACTLY!!! Glucosamine/chondroitin was first introduced as an 'alternative' medicine back in the fifties, (although 'ancient chinese medicine' has been using ALL parts of the shark FOREVER! ) and research continues on it to this day. The funny thing is, many conventional physicians are now prescribing it for their patients with arthritis because they've discovered that, for many people, it truly seems to help! Go figure! (There is a LOT of information {both pro and con} about it with a quick google.)
Moonbear
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Mar7-04, 12:22 AM
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Okay, first I'll discuss herbal remedies. Those I do believe can work. Many are simply the natural form of drugs with proven effectiveness. Some we don't know what the active ingredient is, but they work nonetheless. Prozac is no better...we know what it does generally, but why that relieves depressive symptoms is really not understood. My only problem with herbal remedies is the way they are marketed. Without regulations, dosages are inconsistent (imagine if your prescription blood pressure medication varied from 5 mg to 20 mg per pill...how would you know whether to take one or 4 pills or cut one in half?), and people are misled to believe they are safer than prescription drugs. Just because it's herbal doesn't mean it's safe or doesn't have side effects or can be combined with any other herbal remedy or prescription drug. It's also the concern that often these treat symptoms and not the disease, so someone may be getting progressively worse without being aware of that and not seeking medical attention to determine this because they are feeling better.

As for copper bracelets, if one assumes the copper is being absorbed into the skin, sure, maybe it is having some small local effect. I am skeptical, but I suppose it's possible. If one is suggesting they act by some mystical energy or some such thing, then we're talking placebo effect.

There was an interesting report out recently suggesting a scientific explanation for the placebo effect. It didn't directly test the placebo effect, but that was the implication suggested. It was a comparison of MRI results from women subjected to some sort of pain, I think it was a light shock to the hand...something like that...and women who were shown their husband receiving the shock to his hand. It turned out that experiencing the pain first hand (no pun intended) and anticipating the pain their partner was receiving activated some of the same brain areas. We've probably all heard the term "sympathy pain" where you start to feel like something hurts just from seeing someone else with the same problem. This could explain some of that, and since it's not a physical pain, but a psychological phenomenon, it seems reasonable that a placebo could be sufficient to alleviate this psychological effect.

As I was reading through these posts, I thought of another possibility to how a bracelet might have some effect on certain pain...you might be moving your arm differently if you're wearing a bracelet...just enough to give an overused tendon a chance to recover. But injuries like that do sometimes just resolve themselves too. I had sprained an ankle quite a while ago that continued to ache for about a year and I was sure I had done some sort of permanent injury to it, when for no reason at all, it suddenly seemed to get better over a very short period of time. I think it just needed a while longer than I expected to fully heal. A similar thing happened with a wrist that I had also sprained at a different time, except that had persisted to ache on and off for years later...I was considering getting evaluated for carpal tunnel syndrome...when one day I picked up an overly heavy shopping back, felt something pop, it hurt for a moment, then never hurt again. It was just that I did something that made me move it in a different way than I normally did, and I was less guarded with it than normal, and that was all it took to pop something back into the right place that I didn't even realize was in the wrong place! Had I just happened to decide to try some sort of bracelet or something at that particular time, I might have started to believe it had something to do with it. Correlation doesn't mean causation.
NateTG
#31
Mar7-04, 01:17 AM
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There's a problem because there's a scientific aspect of medicine that's about repeatability, and a pragmatic aspect of medicine that's about healing.

Scientifically oriented people are gernally not interested in using the placebo effect because the repeatability of results is not well understood.

Pragmatically oriented people will generally say - it works, that's good enough for me.

That said, there are a number of different possible mechanism for a copper bracelet to affect something. In theory, it's possible to check them.

Chemical action has been brought up. There are also several varieties of physical action: mechanical effects, heat transportation, and electrical action can all have an effect on the human body. Naturally there is also the placebo effect.
Moonbear
#32
Mar7-04, 10:49 AM
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I actually find the placebo effect fascinating from a scientific standpoint, not just a pragmatic one. We don't understand it, but it is clearly telling us something about pain perception. It certainly fits in with the whole realm of psychosomatic illness.

Back to copper bracelets and the placebo effect, it seems it would be fairly straightforward to test this. All you need is another placebo...a copper-colored bracelet you tell the wearer is copper but actually isn't. Do it have the same effect? Or with magnets, tell the wearer there is a magnet in a bracelet when there isn't. If it makes no difference, then observe subjects wearing the bracelets...do they do anything different in how they hold their arm or move or anything. I know my own tendency when wearing a bracelet it to rotate my wrist and arm more often as I shake the bracelet back into a comfortable position when it moves to far over my hand or back up my arm. If you wear it while sleeping, you may keep your arm in a different position because the bracelet is uncomfortable in your usual position. Stuff like that. Afterall, I have found that something as simple as a pillow can also cure quite a few aches and pains simply by getting me to stop sleeping in a position that stresses some particular part of my shoulders or back or neck. Sure, ibuprofen will treat it too, but it just goes to show that a good deal of Western medicine also only treats symptoms rather than curing disease...and in some cases, the cure can be very simple. What's to say that lying still and relaxed on an acupuncturist's table doesn't go a long way toward curing pain brought on by muscle tension. That's where science comes in, as a way of determining WHY does the placebo effect work...it probably isn't just one answer either. There is something causing a person to feel pain, and something else that alleviates that pain, so what is the mechanism for that action?
NateTG
#33
Mar7-04, 03:59 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Moonbear
I actually find the placebo effect fascinating from a scientific standpoint, not just a pragmatic one. We don't understand it, but it is clearly telling us something about pain perception. It certainly fits in with the whole realm of psychosomatic illness. [QUOTE]

One of the more interesting things is that, perhaps beacause of the mind-body connection, placebos can have some pretty impressive effects.
Evo
#34
Mar7-04, 05:59 PM
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Not all people experience the placebo effect, so perhaps it depends on a person's susceptability to suggestion. Or perhaps the placebo allows them to re-direct their attention from the pain.


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