The myth that copper and magnets have some kind of curative effect on arthritis has been around for ages. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that copper bracelets—or any type of magnet—actually relieve joint pain.
The belief in copper’s healing power evolved eons ago when the powerful mythical Greek goddess Aphrodite was linked to the island of Cyprus, an area known to be rich in copper. But modern studies have demonstrated that copper bracelets have no more impact on arthritis pain than do placebos.
Among the most recent studies was one performed in Yorkshire, England, and published in 2013. The researchers rigorously tested 70 patients, all with painful rheumatoid arthritis, for potential benefits from copper bracelets, as well as magnetic wrist straps also touted as therapeutic. When pain, inflammation and physical function were measured, none of the copper or magnetic devices proved to have pain-relieving effects.
The reason these bracelets may sometimes seem to relieve arthritis pain is that people with the most common forms—including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis—typically experience flares that come and go. If, when experiencing a bad flare, you put on a bracelet and feel better after a few days, you might conclude that the bracelet deserves the credit when, in fact, the flare would have subsided anyway. The placebo effect can be powerful, too—if you believe a therapy will work, that belief can actually influence how you feel, or how you think you feel, at least for a while.
If you have arthritis, come in and consult us. We can design a program of aerobic, muscle-strengthening and water-based exercises to help you feel better while also increasing your mobility and flexibility. And that’s no myth.