No Hokey Pokey

December 22, 2008

Study’s author Thomas Skalak

Magnetic Products have become very popular and widely accepted among consumers. You can find magnetic wraps at the hardware store and in the drug store, too. The $5 billion dollar a year industry may not have total scientific backing but it surely can’t all be placebo.  

Most doctors have not had a personal experience with magnets and only rely on medical studies in their decision making process about products like magnets, yet lay people who have had life-changing experiences easily share the power of their stories by word of mouth. This alone drives the market. Even without studies it is clear to everyone that eating well, exercising and leading a healthy as preventative lifestyle is the key to good health.

I don’t need my doctor to tell me that. In fact I think medical professionals who are trained to work with disease and sickness are often the last to recognize simple ways of being healthy because they weren’t necessarily taught about common sense, diet and lifestyle in medical school, were they? So when it comes to acupuncture (around for 1000 years or so-think it might work?), or yoga or organic grains and beans (traditional foods), people think and choose for themselves although recently there have been more scientific looks into the alternative arena.

Science is catching up not only with nutrition and meditation; a new study finds that powerful magnets do, in fact, have the ability to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. An article in The Week from January 25, 2008, reports that researchers at the University of Virginia applied powerful magnets to the paw injuries of rats, and measured blood flow to the area. They found that through a mechanism not fully understood, the magnetic field opened tiny blood vessels, thus increasing the oxygen and nutrients supplied to damaged tissue, and reducing swelling by a very significant 50 percent. If the same result occurs in tests on humans, study author Thomas Skalak tells, doctors will have to embrace magnets as another tool in the arsenal for treating sprains, bruises, and other injuries. “Let’s say it takes you four or five days to recover from a given injury,” Skalak says. “If by preventing swelling you recover after two days, you’ve cut the healing time by a factor of two.” ” 




Cracking knuckles has always been a subject of conversation, particularly when my kids were teenagers and were doing it for fun!?!  How many of you grew up with the fear that if you cracked your knuckles you would grow up to have arthritis? That your knuckles would get big and you would lose your strength and grip?  Well, in case you still hold that fear- fear not- there is no proof that any of this is true. My mother told me never to crack my knuckles, but I found that if I didn’t my fingers were tight and uncomfortable, not cracking was not an option, although I do try to massage my joints and stretch them often. I was so relieved to find out that there is no hard evidence to back up my mother’s (and your mother’s) fears. The sound is not something dire occurring to your bones, it is the sound of the release of pressure in the form of C02 inside the fluid sac that cradles your joint. You may have noticed that a person can only crack their knuckles once in awhile. This is because it takes awhile for the C02 to replenish itself in the joint. Arthritis is pain and inflammation of the joint and it it is not a result of joint cracking. What a relief. WikiHow does have a page on how to stop cracking your knuckles along with how to stop biting your nails and pulling your hair! They liken knuckle cracking to dislocating your shoulder, which might lead to soft tissue damage of the joint capsule. If you have lost your grip, or have swollen joints and hands, the cause might be the knuckle cracking. The question is why are you cracking your knuckles in the first place. If it is a nervous habit that you want to change then here is an interesting and thoughtful commentary from someone who also wants to break the habit.