It seems the days of discounting Magnetic Therapy are over. Although still considered a pseudoscience, there are more and more legitimate medical uses for magnets and magnetic fields.
A recent study has found that using magnetic fields can effectively reduce migraine.
One in four women and one in 12 men suffer in the UK. As yet, there is no cure although there are several treatment options including common painkillers but now the watchdog NICE is recommending Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as an effective option.
TMS stimulates neurons to alter brain function and is already used in some patients with depression. It involves using a portable device that is placed on the scalp to deliver a brief magnetic pulse.
Prof Peter Goadsby, chairman of the British Association for the Study of Headache, said many migraine patients stood to benefit from trying TMS.
In a trial in 164 patients, TMS worked twice as well as sham or placebo therapy and about 40% were pain-free two hours after using the device.
Wendy Thomas, chief executive at the charity the Migraine Trust, said: “Huge numbers of sufferers find their lives blighted by migraine. We welcome NICE guidance that may help deliver brighter futures to many people for whom other treatments have not worked.”
Dr Chris Chambers, who specialises in TMS at Cardiff University, spoke last year of a similar study, where TMS was using to help people quit smoking: “This is a neat, well-controlled study… Its main contribution is to add to growing evidence that brain stimulation, when applied to specific parts of the frontal lobe, can boost our ability to overcome addictions.
He also added, “This is exciting and has a myriad of applications in psychiatry.”