Researchers at the School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, conducted a trial that not only looked at the effectiveness of these two therapies, but also looked at the perceived credibility of craniosacral therapy vs. magnet therapy in the eyes of the patients enrolled in the study. Sixty-five adults with moderate or severe migraines were divided into groups receiving craniosacral therapy, sham therapy, or magnet therapy.
Craniosacral therapy, also called “Cranial Sacral therapy,” involves a therapist using their hands to manipulate the craniosacral rhythm or flow by massaging or touching the areas on the spine and skull. Magnet therapy is just as it sounds — the use of magnets by a therapist to attempt to influence the magnetic fields of the body, which is said to have various health benefits. Both treatments are still being investigated for firm proof of their beneficial effects in various areas.
In this study, participants received eight weekly treatments. The researchers were careful to make sure that the craniosacral therapy and the magnet therapy matched in terms of setting, visit timing, body positioning, and therapist-patient interaction. This made it possible to determine which therapy better helped alleviate migraine symptoms and which therapy was perceived by the participants as being the best one.
Now for the results: patients perceived and felt that craniosacral therapy was doing a better job than magnet therapy when it came to easing their migraine pain. Those trying the craniosacral therapy had more confidence that their migraine would improve. Interestingly, more participants in the craniosacral therapy group would confidently recommend treatment to a friend than those in the magnet therapy group.
But don’t write off magnet therapy just yet as a migraine treatment — the research team suggests that the design of the study and the way it was executed may have contributed to the difference in results between the two therapies. See the article, Magnet Therapy; An Amazing New Way to Treat Depression, for some positive news about magnet therapy and its potential to treat depression.