Myth 5: If you are not very careful you will buy magnets that are made from inferior materials.

If you scan the first page of any of the major search engines Google, Yahoo, MSN etc you will see the same companies spanning these search engine pages.

If you haven’t already visited all the sites on the first page I’m sure you will within the next few days. It’s obvious that you will be searching around for the best possible quality magnets.

When you do search these top ranking sites you will no doubt see straight away that a few of them (I won’t name them as it will be clear who they are when you visit them) are having a permanent ‘war’ over whose magnets are made from the best quality materials.

As a person looking for information on magnetic therapy the ‘my magnets are better than yours’ mentality of these sites does not inspire confidence or provide you with a clear cut answer to your question of which material is best for therapeutic purposes?

Here is a very quick low down on the 3 types of materials used in therapeutic magnets. And which one does the ‘job’ the best

1. Hard ferrite (ceramic) magnets were developed in the 1960's as a low cost alternative to metallic magnets. They are made from strontium carbonate and iron oxide both of which are readily available and low in cost. Even though they exhibit low magnetic fields (compared with other permanent magnet materials), ferrite magnets are widely used for industrial and domestic purposes. Ferrite magnets have good resistance to demagnetization, excellent corrosion resistance and the biggest advantage of such economic cost.

The main drawback of using ferrite magnets for therapeutic purposes is the fact that they are very heavy and bulky. A 3,000 gauss ferrite magnet is very large and would be over 4 cm in diameter which is an unrealistic size for healing purposes.

Most ferrite magnets used in magnetic therapy are low gauss normally around 800 gauss and around 1.8cm in diameter. They are too large to be used in jewellery products.

2. Samarium cobalt is a type of rare earth magnet materials that are highly resistant to oxidation, have a higher magnetic strength and temperature resistance than Alnico or Ceramic materials. Samarium cobalt magnets are brittle and prone to chipping and cracking and may fracture when exposed to thermal shock. Samarium cobalt’s’ downfall is its cost and its brittleness; it is very prone to chipping and must not be used as a structural component. Samarium Cobalt also requires extremely high fields to magnetise it, which can influence size and shape of component.

Samarium cobalt magnets are much stronger than ferrite magnets and therefore a much smaller magnet can be significantly stronger than a ferrite. However they do not compare to the strength of neodymium (neo) magnets and are much larger than standard neo sizes when comparing strength.

3. Neodymium magnets are also a member of the Rare Earth magnet family and are the most powerful permanent magnets in the world. They are also referred to as neo magnets. They are a relatively new invention, first manufactured in 1984 and have only recently become affordable for everyday use.

Neodymium rare Earth magnets have a high resistance to demagnetization, unlike most other types of magnets. They will not lose their magnetization around other magnets or if dropped.
If you've never handled neodymium magnets before, you will be amazed at their strength. Neodymium magnets are over 10 x stronger than the strongest ferrite magnets and 4 x stronger than samarium cobalt.

Neo magnets have similar properties as the Samarium Cobalt except that it is more easily oxidized and generally doesn't have the same temperature resistance. Neo magnets also have the highest energy products approaching 50MGOe. These materials are costly and are generally used in very selective applications due to the cost.

The most convenient method of comparing the magnetic performance of different types and grades of permanent magnet is to consider their maximum energy product (BHmax). This is the point where the magnet will provide most energy for the minimum volume.

  MGO  kJ/m3
Ferrite (anisotropic) 3.3  26
Samarium Cobalt (2:17) 26 208
Neodymium-Iron-Boron (N38H) 38  306

Ferrite (anisotropic) 100 mT (1000 Gauss)
Samarium Cobalt (2:17) 350 mT (3500 Gauss)
Neodymium-Iron-Boron (N38H) 450 mT (4500 Gauss)

The above table shows typical pole face flux densities for the 3 grades when working at approximately their BHmax points.

What all this mean is, If you have 3 magnets, a ferrite, a samarium cobalt and a neo, which are all 4mm in diameter they would all be different strengths.

The neo magnet would be a maximum of 3,000 gauss, the samarium cobalt a max of 2,000 gauss and the ferrite would be less than 1,000 gauss.

So it is not hard to see why the magnet of choice in magnetic therapy has to be neodymium. It is the lightest weight has the highest strength, power and performance and is smaller than all of the other magnetic materials. If you have a choice of magnets always pick neodymium to achieve the best results.

next: What other ailments can a magnetic bracelet treat >>

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