*This article was also published at My Pet Savings in 2011
Magnet therapy is well-known when it comes to treating human ailments, and it can also be used successfully for pets. The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care sites magnetic therapy as the “oldest form of physical therapy”, dating back to Hippocrates using magnets to treat jaundice and hernias in 420 B.C.
Some holistic veterinarians are using magnetic therapy in conjunction with other alternative therapies, like herbal treatments (such as flower essences) and chiropractics. Magnets have been known to help animal health issues like hip dysplasia, muscle relaxing, and arthritis. They also promote healthy circulation within the body.
Some veterinary therapists use pulsed electromagnetic field magnets, where the magnets are shaped like coils and use a battery operated current that creates a flowing magnetic field. This treatment is more expensive than bar or beaded magnets, and should be administered by a professional who is experienced with this therapy. Allen Schoen, DVM, states that magnets “can be used in horses for tendon and ligament injuries. Studies have shown that PEMF units have helped heal non healing fractures and poorly healing wounds in humans and nonhuman animals.”
Magnets are used with emphasis made on the specific poles of the magnets. For example, the north pole of the magnet has different healing properties than the south pole. The north pole can decrease the white blood cell count and increase the red blood cell count. The north pole also treats fractures and promotes relaxation. The south pole has more controversy, citing more negative effects than positive. Schoen reports the following on south pole magnets:
Some practitioners report that the south pole stimulates growth of living tissues, which includes bacteria and viruses or even cancerous cells. Hence, they feel that the south pole should never be used. However, manufacturers of bipolar magnets disregard this theory.
The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care states that the south pole can also increase the size of tumors. This is where neutrally polarized magnets come into the picture (like refrigerator magnets), usually placed inside of mats or beds that pets lay on, and there are magnetic wraps that can be wrapped around horses. There are also magnetic collars, blankets, and leg wraps. There are even magnetic therapy jackets available for dogs.
Magnets are not suitable for healing all health issues. They should not be used in on pregnant animals, or animals with heart problems, especially if it is the rare instance of the dog having a pacemaker. That stated, magnets have been used positively in veterinary therapy, and by consulting with a professional, they might be a viable source of holistic help for your pet.
Schoen, Allen M., D.V.M., M.S. “The Healing Arts: Animal Magnetism Magnetic Therapy: Fact or Fiction?.” Integrative Holistic Animal Health Care. N.p., 2006. Web. 20 Sept. 2011.
Yarnall, Celeste, Ph.D., and Jean Hofve, D.V.M. The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care. Beverly, MA: Quarry Books, 2009. 142-43. Print.