Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Bracelets for Arthritis?

Dear Dr. Walt,

Do magnetic or copper bracelets help arthritis or any other problems?

Looking for Healing Bangles in Kentucky

Dear Metallic,

Magnet therapy, magnetic bracelets and wraps, and copper bracelets have attracted people suffering from joint pain and stiffness for decades. These folks are looking to ease their discomfort simply and inexpensively. Unfortunately, they are probably wasting their money.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, neither copper nor magnetic bracelets help for arthritis. They, and every other evidence-based medical group that has rendered an opinion, has based their recommendation on a number of well-performed studies.

For example, in one fairly recent study researchers had seventy patients with rheumatoid arthritis wear four different devices, each for five weeks at time: (1) a magnetic wrist strap, (2) a copper bracelet (used as a “placebo,” or control, device, since every previous study indicated that they don’t provide any benefit), (3) a wrist strap with a very weak magnetic field (another control device), and a demagnetized strap (a third control device). Neither the participants nor the researchers knew which devices were being worn when.

The results showed absolutely no improvements, beyond the placebo effect, for the magnetic bands or copper bracelets in any of the outcomes measured. These bracelets didn’t help joint swelling, joint tenderness, physical function, or inflammation (measured by blood tests). A previous study by the same researcher also found no value for these devices in treating osteoarthritis (OA).

This Q&A was originally published in the March 2016 edition of Today’s Christian Living.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2016. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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2 Responses to Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Bracelets for Arthritis?

  1. F.L. Howard says:

    They have helped some people; mainly the magnetic and copper bracelet manufacturers.


  2. Dr. Walt says:

    According to the studies, there is NO effect from the bracelets that have been studied, beyond their placebo effect.

    Dr. Walt

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