ACU-DOT magnetic analgesic patches

Object of the Month: 01/2012

What is it?:




Age: USA, 1979
Made by:

Acu-Dot Corp., Akron, Ohio


157 x 10 x 70 mm


18 gm

What is it made of?:

Ferrite magnets, adhesive tape

Accession #: On loan from the US Food and Drug Administration

A pack of ACU-DOT patches.

These little round patches look like Band-Aids, but they really are just small, round magnets that purportedly relieved pain in muscles and joints. Former New York Yankee pitcher Hidecki Irabu caused a stir in 1997 when he appeared on the field wearing ACU-DOTS. And he is not alone: football players, golfers and other athletes are wearing magnets these days along with everyday people. But do they work?

The people selling these patches made several claims for their product:
• Each patch's small magnet supposedly attracted the iron in the blood and thus improve circulation.
• This increased circulation would then somehow provide "temporary relief of occasional minor aches and pains of muscles and joints."

What questions would you ask to determine whether these claims are true or false? Share your thoughts on if you would use ACU-DOTS.