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Magnetic Therapy


Counterpoint: Magnetic Attraction by Robert L. Park

The discussions (or rather, laughing at another quack) concerning so-called "magnetic water" remind me of yet another piece of scientific hogwash that is currently making a comeback: so-called "magnetic therapy." Wasn't this silliness thoroughly debunked way back at the turn of the century, when it was first advertised as a "miracle cure" for just about everything? Of course, a great many people these days are not as educated in basic science and history as they should be (I'm not talking hardcore physics, I'm talking simple elementary-school science); and more signifcantly, they're easily seduced by infomercials for "magnetic" braces…not to mention walking into popular places like CVS pharmacy and seeing those silly magnetic straps for sale. Selling your magnetic junk at CVS, which does indeed sell pharmaceuticals, must be enough to put an iota of "credibility" into your claims…why else would magnetic therapy be making a comeback? Typical answer from pro-magnet crowd: "Because the long-suppressed secrets of magnetic therapy have finally been rediscovered and released to the public before the Evil Pharmaceutical Corporations could stop them!" Or maybe it's because of the general decrease in widespread understanding of basic science, and pseudoscientific quackery gleefully rushing in to fill the gaps. Magnetic therapy…Vitamin E being promoted for everything from hair removal to memory enhancement…"electrostimulant" therapy that claims electricity can do anything…a resurgence in ridiculous "alternative medicines" that encourages supposedly reputable pharmaceutical researchers to put gingko in their products because it sells better…it makes me depressed. What's next? Will we see so-called "physicians" prescribing chanting and prayers to their patients and billing insurance companies for these methods? (And to top it off, it's no surprise that the vast majority of Web sites promoting magnetic therapy belong to people and companies that sell magnetic products. It's damn near impossible to find a site that simply offers non-profit information about the "benefits" of magnets.)