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The production of a magnetic field by a living object. The living object presently most studied is the human body, for two purposes: to find new techniques for medical diagnosis, and to gain information about normal physiology. Smaller organisms studied include birds, fishes, and objects as small as bacteria; many scientists believe that biomagnetics is involved in the ability of these creatures to navigate. The body produces magnetic fields in two main ways: by electric currents and by ferromagnetic particles. The electric currents are the ion currents generated by the muscles, nerves, and other organs. For example, the same ion current generated by heart muscle, which provides the basis for the electrocardiogram, also produces a magnetic field over the chest; and the same ion current generated by the brain, which provides the basis for the electroencephalogram, also produces a magnetic field over the head. Ferromagnetic particles are insoluble contaminants of the body; the most important of these are the ferromagnetic dust particles in the lungs, which are primarily Fe3O4 (magnetite). Magnetic fields can give information about the internal organs not otherwise available.

These magnetic fields are very weak, usually in the range of 10-14 to 10-9 tesla; for comparison, the Earth's field is about 10-4 T (1 T = 104 gauss, the older unit of field). The fields at the upper end of this range, say stronger than 10-4 T, can be measured with a simple but sensitive magnetometer called the fluxgate; the weaker fields are measured with the extremely sensitive cryogenic magnetometer called the SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device). The levels of the body's fields, whether they are fluctuating or steady, are orders of magnitude weaker than the fluctuating or steady background fields. They can, however, be measured by using either a magnetically shielded room or two detectors connected in opposition so that much of the background is canceled, or a combination of both methods. The organs producing magnetic fields which are of most interest are the brain, the lungs, and the liver. See Electroencephalography, Migratory behavior

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


The production of a magnetic field by a living organism.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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Walgreens makes sure shoppers know it wants to be a destination for magnet therapy not only through a wider selection, but by advertising.
Although Mesmer was thoroughly discredited, magnet therapy flourished in the U.S.
Research into the magnet therapy is divided into two distinct areas: pulsed bioelectric magnet therapy/pulsed electromagnetic field and biomagnetic therapy/static magnetic field.
Magnet therapy has been practiced for centuries as a holistic alternative therapy--Aristotle, Plato and Cleopatra were all purported to be believers--and operates on the premise of properly aligning the electrical charges that run through the body.
Today, one can find other means of treatments: laser puncture, roller-acupressure, magnet therapy, postizometric relaxation and chiropractic (started by David Daniel Palmer (1845-1913) in the late 1800s).
Nonpharmaceutical therapies that are not beneficial include homeopathy, magnet therapy, and acupuncture.
She provides publications that address how to select a practitioner, talk with a primary health care provider, evaluate information on the internet, pay for therapies, use CAM with special populations, and use specific therapies like Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, Native American medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, and naturopathy, as well as dietary supplements, biologically-based therapies like aromatherapy, mind-body medicine like meditation and biofeedback, manipulative and body-based therapies such as Pilates and reflexology, energy-based therapies such as Reiki and magnet therapy, and treatments for specific diseases and conditions, from diabetes to fibromyalgia.
"Although their use is generally harmless, people with osteoarthritis should be especially cautious about spending large sums of money on magnet therapy. Magnets removed from disused speakers are much cheaper, but you would first have to believe that they could work."
Magnet therapy which helped David Beckham heal his famous broken metatarsal in just five weeks before the World Cup played a vital part in Sharon's recovery.
"The theory is that magnet therapy may be beneficial by affecting blood flow in the body's circulatory system, helping the body to get more of the nutrients it needs from the blood," he says.
"Money spent on expensive and unproved magnet therapy might be better spent on evidence-based medicine," they said.