A Brief History of Magnetic Healing
The use of magnets in healing extends back in time at least as far as there are written records. Egyptian nobility were reported to wear magnetic jewelry to preserve youth and beauty, a property of magnetic treatments just being rediscovered. Many thousands of years earlier, one African tribe apparently used magnetic ores in food preparation; it has recently been rediscovered that magnetic fields can alter the flavor of some foods.
Magnetic therapy (therapy using magnets) has been used in China for more than two thousand years, according to Minda Hsu and Chikuo Fong, two modern researchers of bio-magnetism. The oldest known medical book, the Chinese Yellow Emperor's Book of Internal Medicine, is thought to have been written around 2,000 b.c., and mentions the practice of placing natural magnets on acupuncture points. Hsu and Fong describe a report of patients eating magnetic ore for paraplegia, rheumatism, and arthritic swellings of the limbs. Magnetic therapy has been used in the Orient in many forms right up to the present. Today, the practice has evolved to the use of very tiny magnetic beads applied to acupuncture points.
In the West, Aristotle wrote in 300 b.c. about the use of magnets for healing purposes. In a.d. 100, Pliny the Younger, a Greek physician, wrote about the use of magnets for healing eye diseases. Galen, a third-century Roman physician, observed that magnets can help constipation - a finding I have often verified when friends who had this complaint tried placing a magnet on the abdomen over the colon for a few minutes.
In a.d. 400, a French physician (name unknown) wrote of using a magnetic necklace. Recently, a reference dating from a.d. 750 was found that described the work of a Chinese physician who treated wounds with magnetic powder to stop pain and accelerate healing.
The use of magnets continued for centuries. Writing in 1530, the physician Paracelsus seems to have been the first to mention using the different poles of a magnet for different purposes. This important observation appears to have been lost until this century.
In 1600, William Gilbert, English scientist and physician to Queen Elizabeth, wrote a comprehensive book in Latin called De Magnete that created widespread interest in magnetism, expecially for healing.
In 1777, the Directors of the French Royal Society of Medicine appointed two experts to verify the value of magnets in the treatment of disease. After a careful study, the experts supported the value of magnetic therapy. A few years later, succeeding directors of the Royal Society condemned the notions of the famous Austrian physician and hypnotist Mesmer, whose early experiments involved using magnets as an aid to hypnotizing people. With his very valuable work discredited, Mesmer left Paris. Six years later, other directors of the Royal Society again approved the use of magnets in the treatment of disease.
In the early 1800s, Baron Von Reichenbach was condemned and disbarred from practicing as a physician, apparently because of his use of magnets. Like Mesmer, he was one of the first people to state that some of his patients could see colored sparks or rays at the end poles of magnet, and that when they became well, this perception faded away.
It should be noted that these centuries marked the beginning or rational thought and the scientific method. The Dark Ages were over. Only things that could be observed, measured, and put into the framework of mathematics were acceptable; all else was considered superstition, or, at least, not within the realm of science. "If you can't see it and measure it, then it doesn't exist," was the motto of the age. Since no one could explain how magnetism could possibly work to help the body heal, it had to be rejected as a medical treatment. Besides, it was too simple!
In spite of attempts to suppress or ridicule the use of magnets to help the healing process, their use has persisted to this day - because they work. People keep rediscovering the value of magnets over and over again. Now that powerful permanent magnets are commonly available, more and more people are discovering this simple and natural healing method.
In the 1880s, Dr. C.J. Thacher of Chicago sold a full line of therapeutic garments with hundreds of magnets sewn into them. Collier's magazine called Dr. Thacher the "king of the magnetic quacks." Thacher sold caps, coats, insoles, vests, and back braces. No doubt they worked, but because no one knew how, they were not fully accepted. Around the same time, a physician's wife made and sold a magnetic liniment for the treatment of rheumatism (Buryl Payne, Ph. D., "Magnetic Healing", LOTUS PRESS, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin 1997).
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