Magnetic jewelry includes pieces of magnetic material, such as magnetite or hematite, that is intended to have therapeutic effects on the body. The beneficial properties of this jewelry are touted by many alternative healers, but have not been proven and are not widely accepted by the conventional medical community. The jewelry comes in nearly any form imaginable, including rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Magnetic insoles, blankets, and even water are also available.
Proponents of magnetic jewelry claim that the magnetic fields that exist around magnets improve physical function and are helpful in managing pain. For this reason, jewelry or other products may be worn at the site of injury or pain — such as a magnetic bracelet for a patient with carpal tunnel syndrome. Magnetic jewelry is sometimes claimed to enhance blood flow by affecting charged ions in the blood.
Detractors are concerned that there is no sufficient explanation or consensus regarding the mechanism by which magnetic jewelry supposedly works. Conducting scientific studies on the efficacy of this jewelry is not practical, as the test subjects can easily figure out whether or not they are wearing actual magnets. In addition, some of the claims are based on scientific fallacies; for example, the iron ions in blood do not exhibit the type of magnetism affected by this jewelry. In the United States, it is technically illegal to market magnetic jewelry with medical claims.
Perhaps the best argument in the favor or magnetic jewelry is anecdotal; many patients have experienced significant pain relief and increased function as a result of wearing it. It remains unknown, however, whether this is due to the properties of the jewelry or to a placebo effect. The jewelry should not be used as a substitute for medical care, and it is essential for pain sufferers to discuss any chronic issues with a healthcare provider.