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Wednesday, 9 June, 1999, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Magnetic bracelets 'unproven'
Magnetic bracelet
Magentic bracelets are supposed to relieve arthritis symptoms
Suppliers of magnetic bracelets and necklaces cannot prove their claims that they relieve pain, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Some companies say that testimonials from satisfied customers are proof enough.

However, the ASA says that some of the claims made are extravagant and should be withdrawn if there is no clinical evidence to back them up.

Jeffrey Frankel
Jeffrey Frankel claims customers are satisfied
Suppliers of the jewellery claim they offer relief from conditions such as arthritis and migraines through a technique known as magnotherapy.

They claim that an electric current produced by the products improves the circulation of the blood and helps to boost general health.

Some people are even convinced that magnetism can dissolve fat deposits.

Magnetic collars are available for dogs and there are even special bridles for horses.

Jeffrey Frankel, of Magna Jewellery, is confident his products work.

He said: "Not only are we in business, we are flourishing. Our sales are going up every year and our turnover this year has tripled, that indicates to me we are providing something that the consumer wants."

Angela Drewett
Angela Drewett says bracelet has helped her arthritis
Angela Drewett has worn a magnetic bracelet for several years.

She believes it has helped to ease the symptoms of her arthritis.

"Within a week my friends were saying you are beginning to walk better, and by the end of the month I thought that's it, I have found something that is really helping."

No adequate evidence

However, in a statement the ASA said: "To date the ASA has not seen adequate evidence to support any - implicit or explicit - efficacy claims for magnotherapy products.

"Whilst most advertisers are readily able to provide an array of testimonials from customers these do not constitute substantiation as required under the codes.

"Until proper evidence is available advertisements for magnotherapy products should provide only the product name, what it is made from, how much it costs and details of how to acquire it.

"If the product name itself contains a claim that cannot be proved then this should be disclaimed in a footnote."

Proponents of magnotherapy say that it has been used for centuries to cure or relieve common ailments.

They point to evidence of a type of healing called Bio-Magnetics that was used in the Orient, and to the long-time use of magnets in Russia to repair broken and fractured bones and to heal damaged tissue.

They also have a place in Egyptian medicine - Cleopatra is thought to be one of the first to use magnets.

Rip off

But Dr Charles Shepherd, director of the ME Association, said vulnerable patients were being "ripped off" by manufacturers who were exploiting a loophole in the 1968 Medicines Act.

The Act requires claims made on behalf of all drugs and medicines to be backed up by clinical evidence, but it does not cover magnetic devices.

Dr Shepherd said: "Claims for these products are not based on any scientific evidence what so ever, but on a few anecdotal claims from satisfied customers.

"Everybody in medicine knows that even if you give multiple sclerosis patients an injection of purified water some will feel better as a result.

"These products are being aimed at vulnerable groups of people who may well be tempted because orthodox medicine has not got the answer to their problems."

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The BBC's Karen Bowerman: "Some suppliers have been criticised by Advertisng Standards"
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