— by Cate Stevenson, BA
Magnet therapy has received only intermittent press as a healing tool. There are some that believe that the use of magnets to remedy a specific health condition is nothing more than an ineffective, little-substantiated treatment. Slowly but surely, however, medical scientists are discovering that magnet therapy could have some pretty profound effects on the health of the body. Take the results from a recent study conducted in South Carolina, for example.
Researchers there have found that using magnets to stimulate the brain may ease depression in people who have not found relief from taking antidepressants.
The researchers recruited 190 adults who had been depressed for at least three months. All the adults had taken medication for their depression, but were not helped by the drugs.
The research team then administered magnet therapy to half of the adults. The other group was given a placebo treatment that simulated magnet therapy, but was not the real thing.
After three weeks, the researchers found that about 14% of those receiving magnet therapy were no longer depressed, compared with five percent who were getting the sham treatment.
Encouraged by the results, the researchers continued the magnet treatment for three more weeks for those who were still depressed. They also offered the real treatment to participants who’d gotten the fake treatment. After that period, about 30% were no longer depressed, the researchers noted.
Magnet therapy is believed to work by creating electrical currents in the nerve cells in the left prefrontal cortex. This is the part of your brain involved in regulating your mood. The current may act as a sort of jump-start to the area. This area is often chronically underactive in people who are depressed.
The researchers feel that transcranial magnet therapy is one of the most exciting new developments in depression treatment. New drugs, which come out every year, are all fairly similar to one another and offer no alternatives for those who find that medication does little or nothing to ease their depression — or, even worse, creates significant side effects to deal with on top of the depression.
During the study, the only significant side effects reported were headaches and mild discomfort at the stimulation site. According to the study, most participants remained depression-free for several months after treatment stopped.