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hormones, snake oil, underwear

A magnet next to your vagina will not treat hot flashes (or anything else)

It appears Gwyneth Paltrow does not have a corner on the “rock in your crotch” market as LadyCare, a product apparently not named by Ron Burgundy, is selling a magnet to clip to your underwear with claims that it can cure pretty much everything, from hot flashes to low libido to stress.

Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 7.31.10 AM

Take that you low tech jade eggs!

Several people have sent me the link to LadyCare, a simultaneously preposterous, offensive, and hilarious site, and so I thought it was worth a review.

It’s crap.

(Oh, did I say that out loud?)

Magnets for therapy are bullshit

Therapeutic magnets are multibillion dollar industry despite the fact that there is no evidence they do anything but lighten your wallet. Magnets are so useless that even the National Center For Complementary and Integrative Health says they don’t work for pain and the NCCIH suffers so much from on-the-fence syndrome and maybeitis that they almost never say anything is useless!

In addition to the dearth of studies showing that magnets have medicinal value I would like to point out that if magnets worked for anything we would likley know this because people would be liberated (at least temporarily) from pain and inflammation and hot flashes and whatever else magnet grifters say magnets work for by an MRI scan as that, my friends, is one big ass magnet. The magnetic field of an MRI is so strong it causes all the axes of your hydrogen protons to line up and yet it offers no respite for hot flashes (or incontinence, or trouble sleeping or, well, you get the point). Researchers have even done MRIs on women who suffer from hot flashes to try to understand how they impact the brain and no one has reported their therapeutic effects.

Hot flashes are not caused by an “imbalance” of the autonomic nervous system

The LadyCare experts claim that an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system (which their magnet can conveniently rebalance) is the root of hot flashes. Actually (and this is a totally appropriate place to say actually), the pathophysiology of the hot flash is not fully understood. Hot flashes are the end result of multiple factors that narrow the thermoregulatory zone increasing sensitivity to subtle changes in core temperature. While there is evidence to suggest the autonomic nervous system plays a role, so do the serotonergic, noradrenergic, opioid, and adrenal systems.

Does LadyCare understand how magnets work? Do they care?

As I was reading up on magnets (I learn so much writing these posts!) I could not get over the claim that the LadyCare magnet transmits “a static negative pole field.”

What did that mean?

A static magnet is a regular magnet that we all know, like my cat butt magnets.

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All static magnets have to have a North and a South pole. If you cut a magnet in half you don’t get a negative magnet and a positive magnet you get a new smaller magnet that is less powerful but still has a negative and a positive. As the LadyCare device is held together through underwear by an invisible force this has to involve a static magnet, however, a static magnet can not have a magnetic monopole. It can’t just be negative.

The physics folks I contacted all basically summed up “static negative pole field” as a word salad. Either that, or someone shattered the laws of physics and instead of submitting their work for a Nobel Prize they are treating hot flashes with magnets in underpants.

So. Many. Questions.

However, one thing is for sure. Don’t waste your money on a LadyCare magnet unless, of course, you fancy one for your fridge.

Discussion

25 thoughts on “A magnet next to your vagina will not treat hot flashes (or anything else)

  1. Please keep posting!!!! The insanity out there is making me crazy. All the best for 2018!
    Janet Urban

    Sent from my iPhone

    Posted by Urban, Janet | December 28, 2017, 8:01 am
  2. I’d love to see the fine print for that “71%” of women experiencing relief from these snake-oiled trinkets.

    Posted by matsugawa | December 28, 2017, 8:28 am
    • This is what I’m most curious about!

      Posted by Sarah Beaupre | December 28, 2017, 4:12 pm
    • After looking around on the website, it is based on a *survey* of *35* women. The survey is from 2002. Another “study” he sites as providing evidence of how great the product is for basically everything used “508 women experiencing the perimenopause or menopause [who] responded to an advert placed in the Daily Mail offering a free trial of LadyCare.”

      Posted by Sarah Beaupre | December 28, 2017, 4:48 pm
      • It’s sad when you have the clout of a Gwyneth Paltrow-backed retailer to cherry-pick your data and the best you can do is 71% of 35 people.

        But at least 500 people now have an extra magnet to hang their kids’ drawings on the fridge.

        Posted by matsugawa | December 29, 2017, 5:33 am
  3. Dr. Gunter, thank you so much for your public service. Your blog is truly life-affirming and I love your cats!!!

    Posted by Evelyn | December 28, 2017, 9:02 am
  4. Dr. Gunter, I largely agree with your column but think you should have made one caveat: there are some research studies that show the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of (refractory) depression.

    Posted by Nina | December 28, 2017, 9:58 am
  5. Dang. So I guess guys won’t be able to say to us “Is that a magnet in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?” Keep up the good work!

    Posted by TexasTrailerParkTrash | December 28, 2017, 10:54 am
  6. I can’t come over now, honey, I’m stuck to the fridge…

    Posted by Angiportus | December 28, 2017, 12:43 pm
  7. This is nonsense. After a long day at the turret lathe, you’ll be glad you had a magnet in your underwear. It does a great job keeping iron filings out of your labia.

    Posted by johncashman73 | December 28, 2017, 5:06 pm
  8. Looking through the website and googling the guy behind it… wow. He also seems to have a magnetic product for everything. He runs a bunch of companies that don’t seem to acknowledge each other.

    -Magnopulse has leg and arm wraps, dog collars, wristbands, etc. He got in trouble a decade ago for claims about these products. http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/01/this-may-be-fair-trading-then-again-it.html
    -His clinic, “The Natural Doctor”, includes things like “thermography” for breast cancer detection, “anti ageing” and helping men regrow hair. The Telegraph (UK) did an article on him earlier this year which included an interview where he claimed all sorts of evidence has shown that his thermography breast exams are better than mammograms (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/cancer-fungus-need-get-serious-evidence-based-treatment/). He also sells a product Dr Gunter might be interested in – the “Bio ‘O'”, which “improves sex drive and sexual function, corrects erectile dysfunction, increases intensity and frequency of orgasmic experience, and corrects vaginal dryness in women”.
    -The Chiron Clinic, which may or may not be the same as the one above?
    -“Vita Health”, at Rocco Forte Hotels in Sicily. An article announcing the opening described Eccles as “one of the world’s leading Integrated Medicine Physicians”. Among other things, it offers “detox programs”.

    One of his website claims that I particularly enjoyed, “hundreds of thousands of women” have been helped by LadyCare, yet his two main “studies” involved 35 and 508 women, respectively.

    Posted by Sarah Beaupre | December 28, 2017, 5:13 pm
  9. Jen, great post. Even my wife (a facto) laughed. Bet, it settled physics that there is no magnetic monopole. I think they are usually North and South? Love what you do Bob

    Posted by bob99901 | December 28, 2017, 6:12 pm
  10. Dr. Gunter, you are absolutely awesome. Keep on doing what you do. I highly enjoy your material, and love how you put idiots in their place with science.

    Posted by J.D. Walker | December 28, 2017, 6:59 pm
  11. Wow, the LadyCare Magnet is so awesome it stuck to my stainless steel ‘fridge! Thanks, LadyCare!

    Posted by Hawkmoon | December 29, 2017, 9:28 am
  12. Debunking could almost be a full time for you. Love your insights & humour.

    Posted by Todd Pepper | December 30, 2017, 6:16 am

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