Copper bracelets and magnet wrist straps have no real effect on pain, swelling, or disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis, according to new findings from a study conducted at the University of York.
In the first randomised controlled trial to study the effects of copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps on rheumatoid arthritis, 70 patients with active symptoms each wore four different devices over a five-month period, reporting on their pain, disability, and medication use throughout the study. Participants also provided blood samples, after wearing each device for five weeks, in order to monitor changes in inflammation.
The research published in PLOS ONE, show that both the standard magnetic wrist strap and the copper bracelet provided no meaningful therapeutic effects beyond those of a placebo, which was not magnetic and did not contain copper.
The doctor who led the study said: “It’s a shame that these devices don’t seem to have any genuine benefit. They’re so simple and generally safe to use.” That’s kind of odd. It’s like saying oh it’s a shame peanut butter or warm milk or prayer doesn’t work for arthritis. It’s a shame nothing is an easy fix but this was a silly idea with zero plausibility. It’s no surprise it does not work.
Folklore remedies for pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis include the application of magnets and copper to the skin. Despite the popular use of devices containing magnets or copper for this purpose, little research has been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of such treatments.
It’s not a big study at all. But it does give the expected result. There is simply no reason beyond placebo that these would be judged effective by wearers.
Tip: Mark Hixson