Copper bracelets have been used as an ancient remedy to reduce the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. The theory is based on the idea that the skin absorbs tiny particles of copper, helping regrow lost joint cartilage.
However, despite the many claims regarding the health benefits, studies have found that wearing copper bracelets has no real effect on arthritis.
What does copper do for the body?
Copper is essential for the following functions in the body:
- Utilization of iron
- Nerve function
- Enzyme systems
- Energy production
- Skin pigmentation
Examples of copper-rich foods include:
What are the purported benefits of wearing copper bracelets?
Purported benefits of wearing a copper bracelet include the following:
- Relieves pain and inflammation caused by arthritis
- Sterilizes wounds (due to its antibacterial properties)
- Improves the immune system
- Works as an antioxidant
- Prevents cardiovascular disease
Although copper is essential for all these functions, claims regarding the benefits of wearing copper bracelets are founded on little scientific research.
What are effective alternative therapies for treating arthritis?
Many evidence-based alternatives are more effective than copper bracelets for treating arthritis. Examples include:
- Fish oil supplements: Omega-3 type essential fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown promising results in using fish oil to treat arthritis. However, it’s important to exercise caution when using these supplements because they can increase the risk of bleeding, especially for people on blood thinners or blood pressure medications.
- Special diets: Some diets have shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of arthritis. These diets include the Mediterranean diet or a vegetarian or vegan diet.
- Exercise: Exercise is the recommended therapy for treating arthritis. Always consult your doctor to make sure that the exercises you choose are safe for you.
- Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy involves using warm water baths, showers, hot tubs, heated pools, or spas to help relax tight, sore muscles and relieve joint pain.
- Massage therapy: Massage therapy can relieve anxiety and pain. Swedish massage is the most common type of massage used for people with arthritis.
"Can Copper or Magnetic Bracelets Ease Your Arthritis?" Cleveland Clinic. <https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-copper-or-magnetic-bracelets-ease-your-arthritis/>.
Haaz, S. "Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis." Johns Hopkins. <https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/ra-complementary-alternative-medicine/>.
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