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Can Magnets Help Heal Injuries?

3.5 based on 10 ratings

Updated on Mar 20, 2013

Grade Level: Middle School/High School; Type: Social Science


To test whether spot magnets can help improve the symptoms of an injury.


Magnets are sometimes used as therapeutics to help ease the pain of arthritis or injury, but it is not clear if they provide any benefit for users. Some scientific studies indicate that magnets may help “heal” these ailments by reducing inflammation while other studies show that magnet therapy does not have any effect on healing. In this experiment you will evaluate whether magnets are able to improve the symptoms that accompany an injury like a cut, bruise, or bug bite.

Research Questions

  • How often are symptoms improved in test subjects who are “treated” with spot magnets?
  • What percentage of test subjects who are “treated” with spot magnets report an improvement in their symptoms?
  • Do you observe the placebo effect occurring in your control test group?

Terms to Know

  • Magnet
  • Inflammation
  • Magnet therapy
  • Placebo effect


  • Approximately 10 spot magnets
  • Metal washers for “sham” treatment (must be the same weight as spot magnets)
  • Band-Aid or other adhesive to secure magnets to skin
  • A camera

Experimental Procedure

  1. Find approximately 20 test subjects that have an acute inflamed injury (a cut, scrape, bruise, bug bite, etc…) Injury should be fairly recent.
  2. Prepare a simple survey asking participants to evaluate their injury. It could include questions like, “Rate the amount of pain you feel on a scale of 1 to 10”; “On a scale of 1 to 10, how tender is your injury when you touch it”; “On a scale of 1 to 10, how swollen do you observe your injury to be?”; and “On a scale of 1 to 10, how red is the skin surrounding your injury?” Add up the answers on each survey.
  3. Take a “before” photo of the injured area.
  4. Ask 10 participants to wear a spot magnet on the injured area. Ask the other 10 participants to wear a washer or other metal object (it should be disguised to look as much like the spot magnet as possible). Do not tell participants whether they have the spot magnet or “sham”.
  5. Take follow-up photos at 12 and 24 hours and ask test subjects to repeat the survey at each time point.
  6. Evaluate your results. Add up the numbers on each repeat survey and compare to the first survey. Do participants that are “treated” with spot magnets tend to report a greater level of improvement in their symptoms compared to people that receive the “sham” treatment? Can you see a difference in the photos?

Sample table for recording data:

Sum of All Survey Answers

Initial Evaluation

12 hour Follow-up

24 hour Follow-up

Subject 1

Subject 2

Subject 3

Subject 4


Finegold, L and Flamm, B. “Magnet Therapy.” BMJ

Freeman, S. “How the Placebo Effect Works.”

Megan Doyle is a scientist, researcher, and writer based in Dallas, Texas. She received her Ph.D. after completing years of work in a laboratory and now focuses on writing about recent advances in the field of oncology. Always passionate about learning, Megan enjoys keeping up to date on breakthroughs in all fields of science.