An ionized bracelet is a bracelet made of copper and zinc that is worn on the wrist for the purpose of reducing pain. Also known as ionic bracelets or ionized bracelets, this type of bracelet is believed by some with an interest in alternative health therapies to affect the body’s energy field by using negative ions to reduce painful sensations. An ionized bracelet is typically marketed with claims that the metals have been ionized in such a way as to produce an abundance of negative ions.
Many consider the whole idea of using an ionized bracelet to be pseudoscience since no actual evidence supporting the effectiveness of these bracelets exists. In the absence of sound scientific proof, however, many manufacturers of alternative health bracelets use anecdotal evidence to support claims that ionized bracelets work by balancing the body’s chi or energy. In a double-blind study where individuals experiencing chronic pain were divided into two groups with one group wearing an ionized bracelet for 28 days and another group wearing a placebo that looked identical to an ionic bracelet for the same amount of time, both groups reported significant reductions in pain regardless of which bracelet was actually worn. Researchers interpret these results as meaning that merely thinking that an ionized bracelet works to reduce pain is enough for patients to actually experience a pain reduction.
Other energy therapies have proven to have more optimistic results. Magnetic therapy, in particular, has been proven to have a slight effect on pain although more research is needed before it can be widely accepted for use in medical treatment. In this type of therapy, magnets may be useful in increasing the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, blocking pain signals en route to the brain and creating balance between the amount of cells that die off and those that continue to grow.
Some may confuse a magnetic bracelet with an ionized bracelet. Despite the confusion, however, magnetic therapies differ from the claims made by ionized bracelet marketers. The most notable difference is that manufacturers of an ionized bracelet purport that metal bracelets have been ionized to increase negative ions in order to relieve pain by changing the body’s chi despite any scientific evidence that this actually occurs. With magnetic therapy, however, there is no attempt to increase negative or positive ions and evidence does suggest that this therapy may be of benefit in relieving pain.