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Copper/magnetic/ionized bracelets: do they really work, and how?

  1. Apr 24, 2007 #1
    I'm wearing one right now. For about two weeks, in fact, and I haven't really felt anything different. Although, I suppose it takes a little longer.

    There's plenty of stories out there praising such devices, and I don't think all of them are false. My own mother, for instance, and her mother, both have stories of how it took away pain, and when they took the bracelet off, the pain came back again. They have absolutely no reason to lie, and I know for certain they wouldn't lie about it.

    But how would such devices make you feel better? I'm confused.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2007 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Beyond the placebo effect, I don't know of any evidence that these actually work. I too have met people who swear by them, but I also note that after a time they no longer wear the stuff.

    Assuming that there might be something to this, which I seriously doubt, the only thing that I can think of is that one absorbs enough copper through the skin to help somehow. I know that if worn long enough, some people have a green band on their skin where the bracelet goes.
     
  4. Apr 24, 2007 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Heh, just out of curiosity...

    http://www.cda.org.uk/Megab2/general/health.htm

    I don't know of any evidence that absorption through the skin would matter in this regard.
     
  5. Apr 25, 2007 #4
    Unless it's some kind of exotic metal, I don't think a magent would even penetrate more than a millimeter, in any real sense.

    Most of the time, these magnetic bracelets are of the refrigerator magnet variety. Take your refrigerator magnet and see how many pieces of paper it can hold up before the thickness of the paper is too great. Not too many. :)
     
  6. Apr 26, 2007 #5

    SGT

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    One claim of the promoters of magnetic bracelets is that, since there is iron in our hemoglobin, a magnet can in some way affect the blood circulation.
    See a more extensive analysis and several links at
    http://www.skepdic.com/magnetic.html
     
  7. Apr 26, 2007 #6

    Alkatran

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    If people had enough money, you could probably convince them to stay in an MRI two hours out of the day in the name of "magnetic alignment" or something.
     
  8. Apr 26, 2007 #7

    russ_watters

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    From what I've heard, magnetic bracelets are so weak the field doesn't even penetrate your skin.
     
  9. Apr 26, 2007 #8

    chemisttree

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    I hear that they all work fine... as bracelets.
     
  10. Apr 26, 2007 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Huh, turns out that my wife swears by her copper bracelets. I didn't even realize that they weren't jewelry, anymore... She says that she has tested it time and time again, and when she wears them, she has significantly greater range of motion in her shoulders which have caused her problems for decades now.

    I can only say that she has been wearing them for years and she is clearly convinced that it helps.
     
  11. Apr 26, 2007 #10
    I'm waiting for researchers to discover that their predominent effect is to impair objective cognition. :biggrin:
     
  12. Apr 26, 2007 #11

    SGT

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    I am not a physician and even if I were I could not diagnose your wife at distance, but one thing that I know about chronical ailments is that they are cyclic, alterning moments when the patient feels very bad with others when the pain disapears.
    The patient only seeks treatment when he/she feels bad. If after treatment the person feels better, it may be because the therapy has worked or because the disease followed its path and the health improved without intervention of the treatment.
     
  13. Apr 26, 2007 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    All true. Considering that she has battled this for years and seen many doctors, combined with the fact that she has worked in diagnostic medicine for over thirty years [X-Ray, CT, MRI], I don't take her claim lightly. Obviously this is not a qualified test, but she is no dummy either.

    Funny thing is, I thought she dumped this bit years ago. Our gardner mentioned that his bracelets helped him a great deal, and out of desperation she tried it, but this was at least three or four years ago. When I mentoned this thread and the bit about copper, and then chuckled about how these are still selling, I was corrected somewhat sternly on the issue of whether or not they work. :uhh:

    Needless to say, no one but me is expected to be impressed, but I believe my wife. And I'm sure that she has paid close attention to the effects, so at the least there must be a good reason to believe that it has helped; at the least a statistical fluke.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  14. May 3, 2007 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    ...and, I should add, medical science had nothing more to offer except more anti-inflammatory drugs that, according to medical science, she was taking too much already.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2007
  15. May 13, 2007 #14

    Mk

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    However, there is also a reason why anecdotal evidence is regarded as not quite the highest.
     
  16. May 13, 2007 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    What is your point? I didn't claim this as proof of anything?

    What is anecdotal to you may not be anecdotal to the observer. Tsu claims to have tested this for a couple of years with clear results every time - reduced pain and greater range of motion. Also, there is no way for anyone to gauge pain except by anecdotal evidence provided by the "observer".
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2007
  17. Feb 11, 2010 #16
    While I agree there is no evidence as of yet, I also know enough not to claim that if medical science hasn't proved it yet, then it must not be so (THAT notion is utterly absurd).
     
  18. Apr 28, 2010 #17
    I am afraid to tell you that such devices are useless. Just believe in science and don't be cheated by those advertisements. Like other bracelets and bangles, they are just made from ordinary metals. Besides, they won't take your physical pain away, either.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2010
  19. May 8, 2010 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    Due to my wife's conviction that the copper bracelets help with her pain, I had done some checking and found that copper could play a role in relieving pain. So if it was absorbed through the skin, at a glance it seems plausible that it may help with pain. Not saying it is, but just that it does provide one potential explanation for the claims. This is not to be confused with the claims about magnetism, ionization, or voodoo magic. Those are different claims altogether. This is about copper.

    She had mentioned it again recently so I did another bit of googling and found this.

    http://www.sabona.com/copper

    It would be interesting to see if we can find any related information in published journals, one way or the other. I wondered about this myself and then found that others are making this claim. Honestly, I thought this was all akin to the "magic pyramid power" claims popular in the 1970s and 80s. I never knew that there was even a claim of a scientific explanation.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  20. May 9, 2010 #19
    Not to say that Tsu isn't feeling what she's feeling or experiencing, Ivan, because evidently she is. Which, great! You mentioned in an earlier post that Tsu is "no dummy", which again, is true. But what's also true is that the placebo effect doesn't require "a dummy" for it to take effect.

    I read recently about testing people who were being helped by sugar pills and whatnot and how by looking at their brain with an MRI, the exact same area of the brain that's stimulated by the medication that helps or affects a certain problem or issue is the same area of the brain that lights up when people are experiencing a placebo effect. Meaning that the trigger necessary to get the brain's co-operation in releasing chemicals to, say, relieve pain, can be stimulated by agents other than medications.

    And there's not a thing wrong with that. I'm a huge fan of the placebo effect. If you can get your body to do its thing spontaneously, why not?
     
  21. May 9, 2010 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    That's all fine, but there is a potentially active role for absorbed copper.
     
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