Dr. Philpott states that Dr. Nakagawa was the original inventor of magnetic beds and cites a Japanese Medical Journal publication titled "Magnetic Deficiency Syndrome."
Dr. Philpott investigated for 23 years, claiming to find many therapeutic benefits of magnetic fields. He has many followers. Web sites supporting his magnetics therapy include Townsend Letter Alternative Medicine, Arthritis Trust of America and companies that sell therapy magnets as Arizona Unipole Magnetics, and Polar Power Magnets.
Pointed out here are the errors in his physics and physiology. To start with, one should realize the history of theory and search for magnetic monopoles. In 1931 Dirac published a quantum theory of electromagnetism with discussion of "symmetry" with both separate magnetic poles (N and S) as well as separate electric charges (+ and -). But the many experiments devoted to finding magnetic monopoles have been unsuccessful, and there was no Nobel Prize of this one. Electromagnetism is not "symmetric." Magnetic fields are made by currents, and there is no such thing as a separate north or south magnetic pole or field.
The simplest of Philpott-approved theraputic devices are a small neodymium magnet held in place under a band aid, or a ferrite wafer magnet a little bigger than a refrigerator magnet held in place by an Ace bandage. He states, though, that significantly stronger fields are needed for best biological effect. The bed shown gives 13 Gauss at four inches above the surface, but for under $3000 and at 400 pounds, they can be purchased with field strengths above fifty Gauss at four inches.
ATA instructs that healthy magnetized drinking water is made by placing a glass with 5" of water on the negative side of their block of magnets for about three hours. The water should then be well magnetized.
Dr. Philpott's magnet therapy research is stated to have been an "FDA qualified Magnetic Resonance Therapeutic Research Project," and many of his findings and teachings are provided here as downloads on the publications page. The Quarterlies all start with his picture and the same 17 page description of magnetics that the reader is supposed to accept before proceeding. Samples from the writings are:
"A direct electric current circuit forms magnetic poles at each electric pole. A negative DC circuit electric pole forms a negative magnetic field. A positive DC circuit electric pole forms a positive magnetic field..."
"A magnetometer is used to identify positive (+) and negative (-) magnetic poles..." And then, as opposed to the correct figure on the left, Philpott gives the figure on the right to show the separate negative and positive poles of a bar magnet. Figure edited to show only the physics as opposed to the original that claims physiologic effects as well.
"In electrolysis occurring in a fluid medium at the negative electric pole, there exists a negative magnet field as long as the current is on. The field no longer exists when the current is turned off. However, there does exist an electromagnetic polarity which is the charged particles..."
"A static magnetic field is an energy field by virtue of the movement of electrons in the static magnetic field... Separate positive and negative magnetic fields spin electrons in opposite directions and for this reason also have separate opposite biological responses. The biological response to a negative magnetic field is..."
"The atmosphere, and even within biological systems, is flooded with free static field electrons. There are electromagnetic conditions both in the atmosphere and within biological subjects which turn these static electrons to have either a positive or a negative polarity. In the positive polarity, the electrons are spinning clockwise. In the negative polarity, the electrons are spinning counter-clockwise..."
"The body is an electromagnetic organism with a direct current (DC ) central nervous system in which the brain with its neuronal bodies is a positive magnetic field and, also produces a positive electric field. The extensions from the neuronal bodies are a negative magnetic field and also produces a negative electric field. ... The human body turns it's magnetic fields into DC electric current. It is also true that each cell of the body has a positive and negative magnetic field in its DNA..."
"Characteristically negative magnetic energy normalizes and calms while positive magnetic energy disorders and overstimulates the biological system. Micro-organisms and parasites (including those harbored in the human) overgrow with positive magnetic energy exposure and are inhibited by negative magnetic pole exposure."
The right hand column on the publications page lists many medical conditions that were found by Philpott to be responsive to magneto therapy.
Magnetic and electric poles do not exist as separate entities, and magnetic poles do not merge into or from electric poles. Signal transmission down a nerve fiber is essentially the opposite of what happens in long metal wires. Current flows along a wire, not voltage, and no electrons leak out of the edge of the wire. But in a nerve fiber it is only a voltage wave that moves down the fiber. Ions move radially across the nerve cell wall passing into or out of the nerve fiber and thereby creating voltage in the fiber. Ions do not flow down the nerve fiber. There are no related magnetic poles.
Magnetism is always due to current flow or charged particle spin, and the inability of Herculean efforts to find a magnetic monopole is a rather famous would-have-been Nobel prize of physics that never happened. In an electromagnet electrons flow from atom to atom along wires wound in a circle. Ceramic bar magnets are made of insulating material in which the electrons can not move from atom to atom. But all materials contain electrons moving in constrained circular orbits around their atomic centers, and this orbital current flow can turn each atom into a little magnet. In most materials these atomic magnets are randomly aligned and cancel each other out. But in bar magnets many of these atomic magnets align, the sum effect being the large magnetic field of the bulk material.
Two bar magnets brought near each other have a strong preference for which ends attract and which repel. This is due to the net current flow within the material of the magnets, though, and not due to any physical north or south pole within them. Cutting a bar magnet in half does not give separate north and south poles but rather two new bar magnets each behaving the same as the original. Reference to north and south poles of the magnet is a non-physical convenience, and these effective poles are always paired with a bar magnet always effectively containing both. Magnetic poles do not exist as envisioned by Philpott, and they do not merge into or from electric poles.
And yet Philpott seems to have a significant following of dedicated believers. It is a little surprising. Are they people desperate for a cure who will take anything? Did the required first 17 pages of Philpott's Quarterlies create a pseudo-science cult? It would be interesting to study what is going on here.
Single magnets are available but most of the products contain several magnets held beside each other, except for the head device which has opposing magnets. A few are neodymium in smaller sizes, but most are ceramic ferrites available in several shapes and sizes: