Magnetic insoles are shoe inserts that provide a static magnet energy said to increase blood flow to the feet and lower legs, increase oxygen flow to the body’s tissue, reduce the acidity of bodily fluids and alter nerve impulses.
Companies that sell magnetic insoles — Nikken, Florsheim and Dr. Scholls, for example — usually rely on customer testimonials to sell inserts like the Kenko mSteps, Kenko mStrides and MagSteps. These claims can be quite persuasive, but numerous gold standard medical studies have proven that magnetic insoles do not work to cure heel pain, plantar fasciitis and chronic nonspecific foot pain.
However, according to Jane Anderson, DPM, a podiatric physician and surgeon and past president of the American Association for Women Podiatrists, “There seems to be benefit for some conditions with magnetic insoles, namely with neuropathic pain. In the condition of peripheral neuropathy [where numbness, tingling, or burning sensations result from nerve trauma, and which is a common spin-off of diabetes] magnetic insoles have been shown to be effective in decreasing pain.”
Furthermore, some people are cured via the placebo effect, which is when a patient fully believes a proposed cure or treatment is working, thereby stimulating the body to feel less pain. In the case of magnetic insoles, it doesn’t matter that the reported pain relief is stimulated by the placebo effect rather than from the insoles themselves because the reduction of pain the patient experiences is actual pain relief.
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