The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice

Objective Investigations of Controversial and Unorthodox Claims in Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, and Social Work

The Effects of Static Magnetic Fields on Cold- and Pressure-Induced Pain

Mark D. Holder - Okanagan University College
Phoebe E. Scotland - Okanagan University College

Author Note:
This research was supported by a Grant In Aid from OUC awarded to Mark Holder.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mark D. Holder, Department of Psychology, Okanagan University College, 3333 University Dr., Kelowna, BC, Canada V1V 1V7. E-mail:

The capacity of magnets to reduce pain sensitivity was assessed in 97 pain-free undergraduate students (71 women and 26 men). Most participants received insoles that contained active or inactive magnets, and instructions designed to influence their expectations of whether their insoles were active or inactive. Insoles were applied to the soles of participants’ feet. A control group did not receive insoles. Pain was induced in two different ways: an ice bath of 0–2°C induced cold-pressor pain and a clamp-induced pressure pain. Pain perception was measured by latencies and by participants’ ratings on visual analogue scales. Magnets did not increase latencies to pain threshold and tolerance or decrease ratings of pain intensity and unpleasantness. A reverse placebo effect occurred for pressure pain threshold latencies. Gender differences were consistent with previous research; compared with men, women rated the pressure pain as more unpleasant.

You can read the full text of this article in
The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, vol. 3, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2004-05).
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