At the risk of sounding nutty myself, I find that I am quite sensitive to electromagnetic fields. I think this can be developed with listening energy. For example, if I close my eyes and shift around, I can line myself up with magnetic north by “listening” to which direction feels right (most comfortable). Other times the direction feels better according to what meridian system is in need of attention, or what time of year it is. Five element theory holds that qi gung should be practiced in different directions at different points of the year to take advantage of the changing chi of the seasons.
As for magnets, I do find them useful. Donna Eden has a lucid section in her book “Energy Medicine” that outlines how to use magnets for pain relief. I’ve successfully used magnets to relieve migraine headache pain by taping small (1/4” square) pieces of those ubiquitous fridge magnets over the relevant acupuncture points. It’s important you get the polarity right. One direction brings chi to the place where you tape it (and thus can intensify pain!), the other disperses chi, which is good for relieving pain and stagnant chi. For pain relief, I find that taping the magnet colored side down, that is, facing the skin, works best. Never use them near your heart. Again, it’s possible to listen and feel what your body needs. You may only need a few seconds, or you may need a few hours. One direction may feel good, the other may not. She also has a segment on how to use magnets to facilitate bone growth after breaks. Strong electromagnets are used on people whose broken bones refuse to heal. The polarity forces a current of energy through the bone, bringing fresh energy there.
Small fridge magnets are certainly no miracle cure, but used correctly, I find they are similar to things like tiger balm—not going to fix the underlying imbalance immediately, but over time can have a gradual effect if you can put up with the annoyance. If I plaster myself with magnets during a severe migraine I can greatly reduce the pain even if it doesn’t quite go away. But use caution and your best judgment—after all, they do have the effect of altering your chi.
For Gene and his standing meditation, I see no harm in it as long as it feels good. There may be days when you don’t need it. I’ll bet if you flip it over and stand on it, it won’t feel nearly as good because the polarity is important. For me, the electromagnetic polarity of my body switches occasionally—like when I’m sick or fatigued. My cat is my polarity indicator : ) When I am well, she faces towards my head when perched on my belly. When I am sick, she faces the other way. So Gene’s standing pad may feel better flipped over on some days.
As for the placebo effect, I’m all for it! Whatever mobilizes the immune system to heal is great. Where the mind goes, the chi follows, so I think it’s best to keep an open mind. If something’s not working, it will become clear in time. After all, even with western medicine 1/3 of all patients get better, 1/3 get worse, and 1/3 stay the same.