Do copper bracelets do anything?

  1. ShawnD

    ShawnD 986
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    I've seen solid copper braclets. I've seen chain copper bracelets. I've seen magnetic braclets. All of them claim to do one thing or another, but is any of it true?

    It sounds a lot like BS but then again, humans do have strange fields around them. When I'm near a radio, I cause lots of interference. My best friend's mom sets off theft detectors whenever she walks through them (even when she's not stealing things ).

    Do any of these bracelets do anything?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. No, they don't do anything. The magnets, for instance, are much less powerful than the magnets in a commom speaker, so whatever minor magnetic effect they could possibly have(which wouldn't do anything anyway), would be cancelled out by all the electromagnetic backround noise around you anyways.
     
  4. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    If it's not scientifically proven, I wouldn't believe it to have any effect. On the other hand though, the body works in strange ways. I've heard news about tumors that go into remission when exposed to certain colors of light.
     
  5. Tsu

    Tsu 638
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    It's STORY TIME!!
    Many years ago, I'd heard about copper bracelets helping people with chronic back pain. Since I've had a careerful of lifting/moving patients and other heavy items and equipment, I purchased a (pure) copper bracelet and wore it for 3-4 months. It didn't help my back at ALL!! I put the bracelet in my jewelry box. Years later, I started suffering from acute and chronic tendonitis in my right shoulder (from throwing the ball into the creek for the dog to swim after on a daily basis). One day, we hired a landscape maintenace crew to help with some property clean-up. The owner was wearing copper bracelets on both arms for tendonitis in both shoulders. He swore when he wore the bracelets, the pain was MUCH less than when he took them off. After nearly two years of constant pain in my shoulder, I thought 'What the heck. We'll just test this whole concept!' I got out my copper bracelet and put it on my right arm. MUCH to my surprise, within two weeks, the two-year pain in my shoulder was subsiding!! Within a month, it was nearly gone. I was able to lift heavy objects with my right arm again! Now, I'm perfectly willing to concede that the effects may be purely psychological, although the fact that I was so surprised leads me to believe that I really didn't think that it would work. Whatever. As long as the dang pain was gone!! Pain and it's treatment are unique for each individual. For some people, aspirin won't touch a headache. It's ibuprofen or nothing. For others, it's the other way around. (Some are allergic to aspirin!) I've had NUMEROUS positive testimonials from friends, co-workers and patients about those Q-ray ('ionic'?) bracelets. What makes these people feel so much better when they wear their bracelets? When queried, they can't explain it. I say, if it works for ya - go for it. No matter how 'unconventional'. Modern medicine doesn't have all the answers. The alternative is pain. Your choice.
     
  6. Anecdotal evidence has proven them to turn skin green around the braclet site.

    Nautica
     
  7. LMAO!
     
  8. 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.
     
  9. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Why are you laughing? Copper does that you know.
     
  10. Yes, it does...that's about the only thing a piece of copper on your wrist is EVER going to do. I would have posted something witty about magnetic bracelets and hanging yourself on the refrigerator door, but I couldn't think of a good way to phrase it.
     
  11. ShawnD

    ShawnD 986
    Science Advisor

    About that green skin... isn't that a bad thing? If I'm not mistaken, copper is fairly poisonous.
    Although it's poisonous, copper is a very strong metal (it doesn't dissolve in water like aluminum does, and most acids are unable to break it down) which usually makes it safe for things like water pipes and cooking pots.
    If your skin turns green from the copper bracelet, wouldn't those copper ions (which are green) get into the blood stream and do major damage? More than 6mg of copper per day in an adult body can cause copper poisoning.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2004
  12. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    You hit the nail on the spot, in NL they have sued a famous Dutch miracle healer because she supposedly told a famous Dutch personality that she didn't have cancer. She died early 30s of.. cancer, because she didn't seek treatment from conventional medicine.

    I don't think it is right to sue the person for what she says, people should be in their own sanity to make decisions. It stirs up the debate though of all the alternative medicines available in stores, WHICH are reimbursed by insurance companies as valid treatments while the effectiveness of such compounds are not proven.

    So I would just stand still and wonder why the symptoms are there and turn to conventional medicine, and consult alternative methods as a second option. In the case of Tsunami: if it works it works, so what placebo?, and if there are no side effect, why not do it?

    There is a reason why there are placebo's (sugar pills) in clinical studies, there is also a reason why we don't tell people whether the thing they are taking is placebo or not.

    Tsunami/adrenaline: do you know whether it is conventional for a general practisioner to prescribe placebo pills to patients in his office? I've heard about the phenomenon, but I don't know whether that was an exception or a rule..
     
  13. NateTG

    NateTG 2,537
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    Not so long ago, most of western medicine discounted acupuncture, moxibustion, and several other techniques that have been in use in China for thousands of years.

    Many of these treatments are effective, and they are often well suited to problems that western medicine does poorly with such as chronic pain/

    Realistically, medicine is a lot of trial and error, and a very small amount of trial and succeed.

    Specifically regarding copper bracelets - copper is known to be toxic. So I would expect that wearing a copper bracelet will have physiological effects. How effective it is for tendonitis is not something I can test.

    It is also known that animals carry (relatively small) potential differences to their limbs. Creatures that can regenerate - like planaria - can be made to grow heads on both ends by introducing external potential fields. Thus, there is obviously a plausible mechanism
    for e/m fields to affect health. Once again, I have no hard information about whether or how magnets can be used medically, but it's hardly fair to assume that they cannot have physiologially measurable effects.
     
  14. How many more centuries do we give them, then, to show those effects in a scientific sort of way? And, really, shouldn't they do the testing some time prior to selling the product?
     
  15. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Frogs float in an EM field, humans are not the same but simply refuting something as rediculous is all too easy.
     
  16. NateTG

    NateTG 2,537
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    Are you referring to traditional chinese therapies, or new age ones? Most of the traditional therapies have seen more testing that a good number of western medical approaches to problems.

    Regardless, the primary goal of practical medicine is to treat problems, and not to have a consistent or complete theory of treatment. If the goose is laying golden eggs, there's really no need to mess with it.

    Some double blind studies appear to indicate that magnets are effective, but obviously the world is full of snake oil salesmen, and I don't have the time or inclination to research this a whole lot more.

    http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/magnet_therapy.html#target 4
     
  17. 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.

    And no, it isn't enough that they make people "feel good". If "the goose is laying golden eggs", but they turn out to be hollow, what good are they? In fact, they can cause measurable harm, by giving people the illusion of having an effect, thereby keeping them from finding a real cure for what ails them.

    I'll never forget the documentary I saw once, about a woman who went to a faith healing preacher for a debilitatingly painful spinal injury. She went up on stage, the placebo effect kicked in, her mind and endorphins masked the pain, and she jumped up and started dancing. She didn't notice the damage she was doing to her back, because she had convinced herself that she was healed. When she woke up teh next morning, though, she found out that she had not only reinjured her spine, but she wound up causing herself paralysis. That's the sort of harm I see in unproven and unprovable "remedies".
     
  18. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    But you are forgetting that the 'placebo' effect can have physical effects. Feeling in control can be very impowering, a positive mood has been shown to favor a good outcome in cancer.

    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
     
  19. Absolutely the placebo effect can help a person along, real actual legitimate doctors use it all the time, along with positive thinking and lots of other techniques to allow the brain to help the rest of the body to heal. But, that is DOCTORS doing it, after they have diagnosed the actual problem. Imagine using some quack remedy for headaches, and soothing the symptom, while all the while the cause of the headache, say a brain tumor, continues to do its work in killing you. There have been plenty of people who ignored real medicine for quack remedies, and swore by them right up to the day they died, when a surgury or real medicine would have given them a fighting chance of living through teh disease.
     
  20. NateTG

    NateTG 2,537
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    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.
     
  21. 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.
     
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