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J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jun;14(5):577-82. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.0827.

Static magnetic field therapy: dosimetry considerations.

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Helfgott Research Institute, National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR 97201, USA.


The widespread use of static magnetic field (SMF) therapy as a self-care physical intervention has led to the conduct of numerous randomized controlled trials (RCTs). A recent systematic review of SMF trials for pain reduction concluded that the evidence does not support the use of permanent magnets for pain relief. We argue that this conclusion is unwarranted if the SMF dosage was inadequate or inappropriate for the clinical condition treated. The purpose of this communication is to (1) provide a rationale and an explanation for each of 10 essential SMF dosing parameters that should be considered when conducting trials of SMF therapy, and (2) advocate for the conduct of Phase I studies to optimize SMF dosimetry for each condition prior to implementing a large-scale RCT. A previous critical review of SMF dosimetry in 56 clinical studies found that reporting SMF dosages in a majority of those studies was of such poor quality that the magnetic field exposure at the target tissue could not be characterized. Without knowing what magnetic field actually reached the target, it is impossible to judge dosage adequacy. In order to quantify SMF exposure at the site of pathology (target tissue/s), that site must be clearly named; the distance of the permanent magnet surface from the target must be delineated; the physical parameters of the applied permanent magnet must be described; and the dosing regimen must be precisely reported. If the SMF dosimetry is inadequate, any inferences drawn from reported negative findings are questionable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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