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   Sep 18

If that copper bracelet eases your arthritis, it’s just a trick of the mind: Straps which claim to help chronic illnesses are useless, says landmark study

York University scientists tested a range of devices on 70 arthritis sufferers
But the bands, which can cost up to £50, had no effect on their pain

Study concludes patients are better off saving their money

Mind over metal: Bands such as these are useless to arthritis sufferers, according to a new study

Copper and magnetic bracelets worn to help relieve the crippling pain of arthritis are useless, scientists say.

The healing effect that some users report is no different when wearing wrist straps made of any other material, according to the first scientific study into the treatment.

Magnetic and copper bracelets are said to help a variety of ailments, including the chronic joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders.

Manufacturers of the bracelets, which cost between £30 and £50, suggest these conditions can be alleviated by rebalancing the body’s magnetic field or topping up depleted copper levels through the skin.

However, the research shows they were no better than a wrist strap that was not magnetic or did not contain copper.

Although previous research has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the bands, the latest trial, by York University, is the first scientific study of its kind.

It studied the use of copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps for pain management in rheumatoid arthritis.

‘Devices such as these provide a placebo effect for users who believe in them,’ said Dr Stewart Richmond, a research fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at York, who led the study.

‘People normally begin wearing them during a flare-up period, and then, as their symptoms subside naturally over time, they confuse this with a therapeutic effect.

‘Pain varies greatly over time in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and the way we perceive pain can be altered significantly by the power of the mind.’

Seventy arthritis patients with active symptoms, aged between 33 and 79, each wore four different devices over five months, reporting on their pain and medication use throughout the study, which was published in the science journal Plos One.

Placebo: Scientists say that arthritis sufferers often mistakenly think that when pain subsides naturally after a flare-up, it is because of the magnetic bands

They also provided blood samples in order to monitor any changes in inflammation levels.

Dr Richmond said: ‘People may be better off saving their money, or spending it on other complementary interventions such as dietary fish oils for example, which have far better evidence for effectiveness.

‘Warning people who suspect they may have rheumatoid arthritis to consult their GP and seek early medical treatment, rather than placing faith in such devices, is also important in helping to avoid long-term joint damage resulting from uncontrolled inflammation.’

His report concluded: ‘The results of this trial fail to provide any support for belief in the anti-inflammatory effects of magnetic wrist straps and copper bracelets.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2422965/Copper-bracelets-straps-claim-help-chronic-illnesses-like-arthritis-useless-says-study.html#ixzz2fE1Rf6ID

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