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Magnet therapy and magnetic blood

  1. Nov 23, 2013 #1
    Hello, Newbie here. Guess this is going to be a pretty odd first post.

    I've recently been having a discussion with a few friends, regarding whether it's plausible that magnetic bracelets could have any form of healing potential (for arthritis and similar conditions). To me, my friends lack of logic is hugely depressing, as I've been trying to explain to them that it's not plausible for magnets to have an effect on blood circulation. (Everyone else in the discussion was in favor of using magnets to redirect blood flow, so my brain is now melting... )

    They claim that the iron in blood is magnetic, therefore can be directed to certain locations within the body by use of magnets. I've been trying to explain to them that if this were true, people would explode when placed in MRI scanners. And that since people do not explode when MRI'd, a tiny magnet will have zero impact upon blood flow.

    Am I wrong? :confused: (Much to my regret, I didn't do Physics as a subject beyond GCSE - but I became a maths graduate instead). I'm aware that magnet therapy is considered pseudoscience, I just find it really depressing that nobody in the conversation understood exactly how implausible it was.

    Would someone mind giving a better explanation of what would happen if blood were magnetic?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2013 #2


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    In a word, “HOGWASH”. I have seen charlatans pass through towns in Central Brasil selling magnetic pillows, bracelets, toilet seats, and even mattresses. They convince poor uneducated folks these things will help cure all their ailments, take large sums of money from them and then disappear over the horizon, never to be seen again.

    Do not be fooled by “pseudoscience”. Here’s what the American Cancer Society says:

    “Although there are reports of individuals being healed by magnetic therapy, available scientific evidence does not support these claims. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers these magnets harmless and of no use for medical purposes.”
  4. Nov 23, 2013 #3
    Thanks for some sanity :)
  5. Nov 23, 2013 #4
    It's a good thing this is nonsense, diverting blood sounds like a pretty dangerous thing to try and do!
  6. Nov 23, 2013 #5


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    Bulk iron is magnetic.

    While hemoglobin exhibits diamagnetic or paramagnetic properties, this is not due to iron being part of the protein molecule, but is due to whether the blood is oxygenated or not.

    So your friends' logic seems to be illogical
  7. Nov 23, 2013 #6


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  8. Nov 23, 2013 #7
    Thanks, that's added another layer of illogic to their argument...
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