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Treatment with Acumed Pain Relief Patch

by David Jehan and Dr Sarah Brewer(more info)

listed in energy medicine, originally published in issue 27 - April 1998

Many complementary treatments are based on the theory that the body’s energy flows through channels known as meridians. These can be compared with the currents that exist in a magnetic field. In health, energy flows through the meridians in a balanced way. Ill health is thought to be associated with imbalances or blockages in energy flow through the body. Bioelectromagnetic therapy is an increasingly popular treatment for a wide range of muskulo-skeletal and other problems. Acumed bioelectromagnetic patches are applied to acupuncture points on the skin to relieve pain and stiffness by correcting imbalances in the body’s own electric and magnetic fields. The therapy has been successfully used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Osteoarthritis    
  • Tension headache
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis   
  • Menstrual pain
  • Frozen shoulder    
  • Toothache
  • Tennis elbow    
  • Backache
  • Gout    
  • Keloid scars
  • Fibrositis    
  • Migraine
  • Insomnia    
  • Lack of energy
  • High blood pressure    
  • Travel sickness
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Sport injuries such as sprained, strained or torn muscles
It is not widely realised that the body generates its own bioelectromagnetic field. This arises from the electrically charged particles (ions) dissolved in the fluid bathing all living cells. The membrane surrounding each cell contains microscopic pores through which ions can flow into or out of each cell. Some pores contain a pump that actively moves ions across the cell membrane so they become concentrated on one side or the other. One of the most important pumps is the sodium-potassium pump.

Sodium is the main positively charged ion found in the extracellular fluid. The sodium-potassium pump forces sodium out of body cells in exchange for a potassium ion which is forced inside the cells against its concentration gradient. Potassium is therefore the main positively charged ion present in the intracellular fluid.

The sodium-potassium pump transports three positively charged sodium ions out of a cell in exchange for two positively charged potassium ions. It is therefore an electrogenic pump as it produces a net movement of positive charge out of each cell across each cell membrane that varies from – 9mV to -100 mV in different tissues. In human nerve cells the membrane potential averages around -70 millivolts (mV).
The membrane potential is important for:
  • passing messages from one cell to another
  • passing information along nerve cells
  • muscle cell contraction, including the heart beat.
Whenever an electric current flows or an electric field changes, it creates a magnetic field. The movement of electrically charged ions in and out of cells is the main source of the body’s electrical and magnetic fields. The generation and maintenance of these bioelectromagnetic fields are also one of the main energy-using metabolic processes occurring the body. On average, it accounts for 33% of energy used by cells and 70% of energy expended by nerve cells (neurons).

Many complementary treatments are based on the theory that the body’s energy flows through channels known as meridians. These can be compared with the currents that exist in a magnetic field. In health, energy flows through the meridians in a balanced way. Ill health is thought to be associated with imbalances or blockages in energy flow through the body.

Most illnesses affect the bioenergetic functions of cells, for example:
  • Transport of ions across cell membranes is altered during inflammation.
  • Electrical transmission through nerves is increased when pain is perceived.
  • Damaged cells may leak potassium ions, producing a slow, steady electric current of as much as 50 millivolts.
  • Sudden electric fluxes occur when a cell dies and releases a burst of potassium ions.
  • Changes in the composition of blood, body fluids and salt balance will alter the body’s normal electromagnetic field.
The energy meridians can be accessed through classic acupoints on the skin surface, and this forms the basis of acupuncture, acupressure and bioelectromagnetic therapy. When energy flow becomes abnormal, acupoints on the surrounding skin frequently become tender and painful to touch. In acupuncture, these points are stimulated with fine needles to generate electrical impulses and restore energy balance. In bioelectromagnetic therapy, the acupoints are stimulated by tiny pulses of electromagnetic energy instead.

Acumed patches contain a rare earth magnet (an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron) coated with purified zinc and surrounded with tiny copper spheres. These elements are pre-aligned and attached to self-adhesive microporous tape to ensure the correct magnetic pole is in contact with the body. An Acumed patch acts like an electromagnetic transmitter, emitting tiny pulses of energy and generating three different bioelectromagnetic fields:
  • Magnetic – with the South pole facing away from the skin.
  • Micro-electric – due to copper and zinc forming a battery bridged by moisture from the skin.
  • Induced current – due to the magnetic field acting on the copper microspheres.
These fields interact to produce pulsations of energy that are more effective than a continuous signal.

Acumed patches should be applied to clean, dry skin on acupuncture points associated with the painful area. For small areas, or mild to moderate pain, only one patch may prove necessary. If pain is more extensive or severe, several patches may be used to cover further acupoints as appropriate. Acumed patches should be left on the skin, undisturbed, for 5 to 7 days. They can be worn during all normal daily activities, including bathing and showering. After 5–7 days, the Acumed patch(s) should be gently peeled away and discarded. New magnets can be resited as necessary – it often proves beneficial to wait for one or two days before restarting treatment.

The electric and magnetic fields produced by Acumed patches affect the flow of electromagnetic energy in parts of the body. Bioelectromagnetic therapy acts on nerve and muscle cells to relieve pain, relax tense muscles, improve the circulation and boost immunity.

The exact mechanism by which it works is unknown, but there are several interesting theories:

Restoring electromagnetic balance:. During health, cells vibrate with their own characteristic electromagnetic frequency. During disease, a cell’s electromagnetic vibration changes. This effect is used to diagnose heart problems for example using an electrocardiogram (ECG). Bioelectromagnetic therapy may restore health by helping cells regain their natural electromagnetic frequency.

Boosting circulation: Blood contains iron, copper and dissolved ions and is a powerful conductor of electric and magnetic currents. As red blood cells pass through small capillaries under an Acumed patch, they travel through a magnetic field which inevitably produces a small electric current. This is thought to boost circulation and the flow of nutrients to cells.

Boosting immunity: T-lymphocytes are immune cells that play an important role in the body’s inflammatory response. They are polarised with positively charged calcium ions and accumulate in electromagnetic fields formed around damaged cells, damaged nerves, and the piezoelectric currents produced by pressure when arthritic bones rub together. Bioelectromagnetic therapy may have a beneficial effect on T-lymphocytes to damp down inflammation.

Boosting healing: Pulsed magnetic fields may stabilise human DNA and enhance DNA synthesis involved in the repair of damaged tissues.

Producing analgesia: Pulsed electromagnetic stimulation of nerves seems to boost production of the body’s natural painkillers – endorphins – to damp down pain perception.

Boosting the Earth’s magnetic field: The earth’s natural magnetic field is slowly decreasing. This is thought by some researchers to produce a magnetic field deficiency syndrome with stiffness in the shoulders, back and neck, low back pain, non-specific chest pains, headache, dizziness, insomnia, constipation and loss of energy (Ref. 2). Bioelectromagnetic therapy may help to overcome this deficiency syndrome.

Much research into bioelectromagnetic therapy has been carried out in Japan over the last few decades. The Welfare Ministry of Japan granted permission for the manufacture of magnetic pellets to treat rheumatic disorders as long ago as 1972. Magnetic patches are available over-the-counter and in one survey involving 11,648 replies to a questionnaire, researchers estimated that the magnetic patches were over 90% effective (Ref. 2).

A double-blind study in Japan involving 121 patients with severe, chronic shoulder pain showed that 82% of those treated with high-strength biomagnets showed significant improvement within 4 days. In those treated with low-strength biomagnets, there was only a 37% improvement rate (Ref. 3).

In another double-blind study involving 222 patients with acute and chronic muscle and joint pain, 90% of patients reported significant improvement within five days, compared with only 14% in the placebo group (Ref. 3).

Prof. Holger Hannemann, PhD M.Sc, a world authority on biomagnetic therapy, who regularly prescribes Acumed patches says:

“I have been using Acumed at my clinic in Switzerland to treat patients suffering from sports injuries, muscle and joint pain in the back, shoulders, knees, elbows, hands, along with many other conditions and have achieved excellent results.”

Bioelectromagnetic therapy should not be used:
  • Where there is an infection (the therapy may have a beneficial effect on the causative micro-organisms, too).
  • On open wounds.
  • In people fitted with a heart pacemaker.
  • On the abdomen during pregnancy.
  • If irritation occurs.
The copper component of the magnet may cause slight discolouration on some skin types, but this is harmless and will naturally wear off over a few days.

Case history

Quote from letter:

“Although always very willing to try alternative solutions to medical problems, I was very sceptical about the ability of a small patch to improve my chronic condition. For many years I had experienced severe headaches originating (according to my osteopath) in the area of my shoulder blade. There headaches were severe, lasted for 48 hours and were not touched by painkillers.

“I read in the Daily Mail about the patches and sent for some. I felt an improvement in the shoulder discomfort within a few hours of putting on the patch and have had no headaches since. I was amazed! ... I am extremely pleased with the results so far and will continue to use the patches when necessary.

“I also passed them on to a friend suffering from some form of arthritis knee joint inflammation. He was in severe pain for several days and unaffected by his pain killers. His pain was greatly reduced within a few hours of using a patch and he has sent for some too!

“Both of us felt the pain to increase slightly before it improved.”

• For further information, contact: David Jehan, D. Jay Ltd, 113 Pope Street, Birmingham B1 3AG. Tel: 0121 236 2073 Fax: 0121 233 4516. Acumed is available from Boots item ref:
33-34-422 price £11.50 or by mail order.


1:    The general & cellular basis of medical physiology, in Review of Medical Physiology, William F. Ganong. 15th Ed. Appleton & Lange 1991. (pp 29-30)
2:     Magnetic Field Deficiency syndrome and magnetic treatment. K. Nakagawa. Japan Medical Journal No. 2745 December 4, 1976.
3:     Magnet Therapy. Prof. Holger Hannemann, NY Sterling Publishing 1990.


  1. Dr Sanjeev Gupta said..

    I am interested in Acumed magnetic patches. Where can I get them from. I am an Indian

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About David Jehan and Dr Sarah Brewer

David Jehan, D. Jay Ltd, 113 Pope Street, Birmingham B1 3AG. Tel: 0121 236 2073 Fax: 0121 233 4516. Acumed is available from Boots item ref: 33-34-422 price £11.50 or by mail order.


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