Kyoichi Nakagawa, M. D.
Director, Isuzu Hospital
I. Advocation of the Magnetic Field Deficiency Syndrome
b) Research Abroad
Magneto-therapy has a long history abroad, and the titles with a
brief explanation of literature from past days are listed in the
Bibliography of the Biological Effects of Magnetic Fields(24).
In this publication, We find the thesis Eydam I. of 1843 on the
application of a magnetic field to the human body for therapeutic
purposes. I believe I can say that with the exception of Paracelas
(25) or Gilbert(26) this is the oldest thesis on magneto-therapy.
Following this in 1969, Maggiorani(27) reported that he gained
effective and non-effective results in applying magnetism to the
human body and that hysteria, ataxia and diabetes patients were most
. In 1879, Benedictand Drosdov
reported that the application of a magnetic
field reduced pain stemming from various
causes. A thesis forwarded by Benedict, M.
in 1885 used the word Magneto-therapie, and
in 1886 Quinan, J.R. announced a
general history of the application of
magnetism in medical science.
mentioned above, much interest was shown in the relationship between
the magnetic field and the human body and it is thought that
magnetism was actually used in clinical medicine as treatment.
However, the application of magnetic fields in medicine had
gradually faded, probably because of reports such as that of
Peterson, F. and A.E. Kennelly of the then influential Edison
Laboratory who advocated that magnetism had no effect on the human
body, and that of Hermann, L. who reported finding no change in
experiments using human beings and frogs.
In 1902, Kurella,
H. published a report on treatment using magnetism, and Kuehn, W.
made public another on Heilmagnetismus. Also in 1902, Fere, C. made
public a report on the effect of magnetism on human physiological
functions. Following that, under the title of "Heilmagnetismus",
Moll, A.(24) forwarded his thesis on magneto-therapy. Payr, E.(24)
in 1915 also wrote a thesis on the application of strong
electromagnets in the medical field, and Kahame, M.(24) forwarded a
thesis titled Magnetotherapie.
As the above mentioned theses
from abroad are very old, they are difficult to get in Japan and we
have never read the originals only knowing them indirectly. However,
judging from the titles of the theses, I believe we can safely
presume magneto-therapy was tried and that it had quite a long
Following this, during the 1920's, as far as I can
ascertain only a few theses on magneto-therapy were forwarded.
However, in 1928, Rosenberg(27) stated that "We must admit that
until now no basis for acknowledging the effect of a constant
magnetic field has been obtained." This appeared to become the
established theory in western countries, and also appears to have
been accepted in Japan. I believe it was because of this that
research on magnetism in the medical and biological fields was
In 1938, Hansen, K.M.(32) reported that
patients suffering from subjective symptoms of sciatica, lumbago,
joint pains, etc. but showing no findings in an X-ray examination,
found relief when the constant field from an electromagnet was
applied. The report further stated that magnetism was also effective
in treating acute inflammatory illnesses and chronic gingivitis. It
does not give the strength of the field used, but we can assume it
to be quite strong. With this therapy, the S-pole was applied to the
body for periods of 10-40 minutes, this being repeated several or in
some cases over 10 times.
Hansen, in 1944(33) and 1949(34)
also forwarded her research on magnetic fields applied to the human
body, but as this has no direct relationship to therapy I will not
elaborate here. She states that from those studies it is found that
magnetism applied to the human body functions mainly on the
autonomic nervous system.
During the 1950's, research on the
removal of strongly magnetic objects from the human body was made
(35)(36), but as this also does not fall into the category of
magneto-therapy I will not elaborate.
In 1960, Freeman,
M.W.(37) forwarded his thesis on "Magnetism in Medicine", however
this also does not deal with the therapeutic effects of magnetism.
Sinkarera, L.F. et al.(38) reported in 1970 that a constant magnetic
field was found effective in
treating inflammatory illnesses of the female genital organs.
In 1972, Degan, I.L.(39) experimented with applying a constant
magnetic field of 450-530 gauss to the hands of patients suffering
from Dupuytren's contracture incurable by drugs. the treatment
lasted for 15-40 minutes at a time, this being repeated from 5-40
times depending on the case. The treatment was found effective on
first-degree symptoms, and also considerable improvement was noticed
as well in cases with second degree symptoms.
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