Hidecki Irabu, pitcher for the New York Yankees, caused a stir in 1997 when he appeared on the field wearing small circular bandages affixing not gauze, but MAGNETS! And Mr. Irabu is not alone: football players, golfers and other athletes are wearing magnets these days.
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices collection contained an identical product from the 1970's:
ABOVE: 1979 Acudots, six patches shown.
ACU-DOT Magnetic Analgesic Patches promised "temporary relief of occasional minor aches and pains of muscles and joints." Promoters of magnetic cures believe that magnets attract the iron in blood thereby increasing circulation (and sometimes, oxygen in the blood). The increased circulation then relieves pain and causes the cure. But iron in the blood is a mineral, not a metal, and is not attracted to magnets. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that there is "no scientific study in any of the major medical journals supporting the [magnetic cure] claims."
Credits: Analgesic Patches, 1979 on permanent loan from the U.S. Food and Drug Association.. See John Hendren, "Doctor is skeptical about magnets, but believers aren't waiting for proof," Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 31, 1997, p. E3.
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Museum of Questionable Medical Devices