Ladies and Gentlemen, remove your copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps. In a randomized controlled trial, the University of New York found these accessories to be of no more therapeutic value than a non-magnetic, non-copper placebo bracelet or strap.
Seventy patients with active symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis reported on their pain, disability, and medication use throughout the five month study, during which time they wore four different devices for five weeks each. Blood samples were also taken to monitor inflammation.
Research Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at York, Steward Richmond, is disappointed in the results of the study, saying it would have been wonderful if these devices had turned out to be beneficial, since they’re simple and safe to use. At least the study warns sufferers to seek treatment rather than trying out the bracelets and wasting precious time they could have spent healing symptoms before they worsen. Waiting to seek medical attention can result in long-term joint damage due to the uncontrolled inflammation.
With over a billion dollars in annual sales, these devices seem like a great money-makings scam. So why do people persist in using copper bracelets and magnetic wrist strips if they don’t actually benefit from them? That can be chalked up to the placebo effect. For example, if a user buys the device during a flare-up and then their symptoms subside, they may attribute this to the bracelet rather than the natural ebb and flow of rheumatoid arthritic symptoms. Furthermore, the mind has great power to alter how we perceive pain, so if users believe the device is decreasing their pain, they may be, in a sense, fooling themselves into having less pain.
Fish oil dietary supplements have been shown to be much more effective at reducing rheumatoid arthritis pain and now that the ‘burp-less’ kinds are a fairly common sight on pharmacy shelves, people will hopefully be less adverse to taking them.