Magnets: Fact or Quackery?

Magnets: Fact or Quackery?

Postby gene » Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:54 pm

Hello everyone:

There's a guy who's been advertising in Inside Kung Fu for a course called "Magnetic Qigong." The concept seems to be that you perorm qigong exercises and zhan zhuang while standing on some fairly powerful ceramic magnets, which are purportedly therapeutic. Curious - and an easy mark, I suppose - I ordered the course (which comes with some flat magnets to stand on). The qigong exercises are very basic and the zhan zhuang is a simple "holding the ball" posture. I feel pretty good after doing the exercises, but suspect it's either placebo effect or the normal calm feeling I get from doing qigong. I did a brief search on the net, but found no decent articles discussing the concept of magnetic therapy combined with qigong. I'm guessing this is snake oil, but would be interested in anyone's comments or views.

Gene
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Postby tai1chi » Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:34 pm

Hi Gene,

funny, I was on jury duty last year. It was a case about a neck injury. The doctor brought by the claimant was a real shady character. But, to counter him, the defense brought in experts on both the practice and theory of MRI. Anyway, the stuff takes pictures by using the magnet to line up the molecules in the fluid of the body (like putting iron filing in water, and then putting a magnet next to it). It's obviously way more complicated than that.

The important part is that a magnetic field will certainly make the molecules of the body line up. Now, whether lining them up is good or bad, I have no idea. There is plenty of evidence that electromagnetic radiation can be bad. Being near high tension cables might do something similar, in terms of rearranging the polarity of the molecules. It probably makes sense that the body might function better when the molecules are aligned. But, maintenance of that aligned condition will probably be impossible. Of course, high impacts also tend to rearrange molecules.

If Qi is affected by magnetism, then your geographic location might be more important overall than a small amount of time on a magnet. However, there will probably be some effect.

regards,
Steve James
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Postby DavidJ » Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:29 pm

Hi Gene, Steve,

IIRC an MRI image is taken from the particles given off when the molecules snap back to their original position, in other words, their "not aligned" state.

The magnets used theraputically are nowhere near as strong as the magnets used in an MRI. I would not recommend spending much time around strong magnets or magnetic fields.

There are many different molecules in the body and these sometimes funtion in terms of their shape. If the molecules were all aligned they could not attain the shapes they need to function.

Our bodies have magnetic fields and they vary in strength according to different influences. IIRC, smoke, and people who smoke, have a high positive charge, and those who don't smoke generally have a low negative charge, so smoke will be attracted to those who don't smoke.

Water often has a low negative charge too, and showering can reset your magnetic field to normal.

Generally speaking I don't think there is enough known yet about the body's magnetic aspects to say much more than they are a part of life and to avoid strong fields for any length of time.

Some people say that magnets affect rheumatism and I think that's possible. Chances are that standing on magnets for short periods of time can have an effect, but I doubt that it would effect the whole system for the better.

Regards,

David J
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Postby DavidJ » Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:37 pm

Hi again,

I feel that I should add that in the human body some very important stuff goes on which relies upon very small amounts of electricity.

For example, by adding small currents during healing, bones in the elderly heal faster, as though they were young.

Regards,

David J
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Oct 06, 2004 11:59 am

Greetings All,

Interesting post, I have heard of magnet therapy before, but I have not been convinced with any proofs on the subject.

I hope this fits in here, with the forums posting...

I have been wondering of late about the directions of the form an their effects upon the practitioner.

Have the directions been established from necessity for transmission? To teach it easily and universally...

Or do the cardinal points and their elemental equivalents have a stronger more purposefull influence?

I was pondering the possibility of magnetic force in correlation with the directions of the compass...And their correlations to the form.

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:27 pm

Hi Psalchemist,

I was taught to begin facing East - the general direction of the rising sun - as the first move "The Arising" is symbolic of sunrise. "Peng" is done facing South and "Seven Stars Crossing" is done facing North - the direction of "Ursa Major" which is the same constellation as "Seven Stars Crossing."

I read somewhere that the alignment had to do with the Earth's magnetic field.

I heard in the late 70s, through the rumor mill, that the masters who left China when Mao took power kept the old ways while the masters who remained changed the directions to show their disapproval.

Regards,

David J

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 10-06-2004).]

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 10-07-2004).]
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Oct 06, 2004 9:28 pm

Greetings David,

<<I was taught to begin facing West - as the first move "The Arising" is symbolic of sunrise. "Peng" is done facing South, and "Seven Stars Crossing" is done facing North - the direction of "Ursa Major" which is the same constellation as "Seven Stars Crossing." >>DavidJ

If you change West to East, in your statement above, I could see how "The Arising" could be linked to sunrise, how Peng would follow in the South (at least the Right Peng would), and the Seven Stars Crossing would be in the Northern direction.

Interesting about the constellation...

<<I read somewhere that the alignment had to do with the Earth's magnetic field.>>DavidJ

Yes...That is what I was prodding around for...The effect the earths magnetic field has on the body, attempting to correlate magnetic force with therapeutic value...Just as the meridian pathways and internal organ benefits have been considered...
The form is not symmetrical, in part perhaps, for those reasons, so I have heard.
Maybe the directions were established with some sort of regards for its health and longevity benefits Perhaps drawn up at the time of combining the Tuna(Chi Gong) aspects, at the origins...
As we are hearing now of magnet therapy...

<<I heard in the late 70s, through the rumor mill, that the masters who left China when Mao took power kept the old ways while the masters who remained changed the directions to show their disapproval.>>DavidJ

Thanks for the historical tidbit, always interesting...Perhaps their rebellion messed up their own molecules...chuckles...like cutting off ones nose to spite ones face...smiles.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge on the subject.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Kalamondin » Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:27 am

Hi All,

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.

Best wishes,
Kal
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Oct 07, 2004 5:48 pm

Hi Psalchemist,

Yes, I meant East. I appreciate the correction. I emended my original post.

I wonder if what the masters who stayed practiced in private was different from what they taught the public.

Thanks,

David J

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 10-07-2004).]
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:10 pm

Hi David,

You wrote:
<<I wonder if what the masters who stayed practiced in private was different from what they taught the public.>>David J

I think that you could dedicate a thread to a question like that one...

I have been to a Master Yang Jun seminar
and found myself pondering similar thought...whether or not the form presented was the same one he practiced at home or if it was designed moreover to cater to teaching demands...and the level of experience and skill of the seminars students.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby gene » Thu Oct 07, 2004 10:01 pm

Hi Kalamondin:

Thanks for the thoughtful post. I agree with your position on the placebo effect - if it works, who cares? (Or as John Lennon put it, whatever gets you through the night.)

Interesting - the magnets I bought have a sticker on the north side instructing me only to use that side, and not the south polarity side.

Gene
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Oct 08, 2004 12:30 am

Hi Gene,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, the south side, because it brings chi to the site, can exacerbate pain (which is probably what most magnet users are trying them for) through increased inflamation (IIRC). The south side must never be used with open wounds b/c the increase of chi is also good for promoting bacterial growth and infection.

The south side can be good for healing broken bones when used in conjunction with other north facing magnets in an array--I can't remember the configuration exactly though. Maybe south directly over the break (_only_ breaks where the bone doesn't poke through the skin b/c of risk of infection), and north magnets above and below the break. If anyone's thinking of trying this for broken bones, please, please consult Donna Eden's _Energy Medicine_ book first b/c I'm not sure I remembered this right.

Kal
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