“There is nothing in the world which does not have therapeutic utility.” (Charak)

Our sages were well aware of the fact that man could feel and remain happy if he remained nearer to nature has an abiding faith in and affinity with nature was a passport to his healthy body and mind. Simple living and high thinking augures well for all round uplift of man’s life. It was also an agreed tenet that rough garments also considered as essential requisites, when all such basic factors are taken into account, one can easily deduce that our saints carved out physical, mental and spiritual parameters for healthy and happy living. Use of metals (such as iron, manganese, gold, silver, copper, zinc, magnets, etc.) as potent vehicles for upkeep of health was not an alien concept to our therapeutic disciplines. Not only that, even use of plants and animals was also in vague. Modern science has touched only a tip of the iceberg but still certain properties have not been unraveled and still remain shredded in mystery.

What is magnet?

It is a piece of hard metal that attracts small pieces of iron or anything made out of the latter. It is a piece that is encircled by a halo which is called its magnetic field. When iron or its products come in contact or fall within the magnetic field of a magnet, the latter gets attracted to the former. Use of magnets is well known in various electrical appliances but its application as a therapeutic agent was known even to our ancestors who names it as ‘Ashram’ (stone). Not only that, the Egyptian beauty queen, Cleopatra, used magnets to enhance and retain her beauty and beautiful figure.

Types of magnets:

Magnetic fields affect all animate and inanimate objects. Each man possesses a magnetic field, though in varying intensities. We talk of magnetic attraction of a person who can attract and affect others who come into his contact. That is, perhaps, the term ‘Magnetic Personality’ was coined and used frequently. Generally following type of magnets are known to exist viz.

Natural Magnets : These were discovered in Magnesia and were stones of dark colour and are also call natural magnets or load stones as when hung in air they used to stay in a particular orientation, often leading to a specific direction. Basic formation of such stone consists of iron and oxygen (in the form of oxide). Its directional property was utilized for the benefit of mariner who used a mariner’s compass in times gone by.

Man-Made Magnets : These are not natural but made by man, and can be shaped into desired shapes, depending on use and nature of application. They can be shaped into disc-shape, horse-shoe shape, bar-shape or needle shape and their strong magnetic fields point only to one direction only. Man-made Magnets can be sub-divided into classes such as :

(1) Temporary Magnets : These are generally used in the form of electromagnets and applied in electric iron telephone, medicines electric door bells, etc. and their use will depend upon the properties of such magnets. Their magnetism can be switched off and switched on at will.

(2) Permanent Magnets : They retain their magnetism for much longer period as compared to temporary magnets and can last even for decades. They are mainly used in magneto-therapy, galvanometers, ear piece of telephone, radio speaker, etc.

Properties of Magnets

If we make bar magnet and place some iron nails or bits in a heap of filings, we will notice that iron bits attracted by magnet shall vary from one end to another, resultantly one end of magnet would attract far more iron bits than the other. These are called “centers of magnetic attraction or magnetic and suspended freely in the air, it will point to north and south sides and are thus, rightly called ‘North Pole’ and South Pole’. It is no surprise that each magnet has two poles north and south. Two poles of the magnet repel each other – North pole of one magnet will repel north pole of the other magnet and south pole of one magnet will repel north pole of the other magnet. But, if north pole of a magnet is brought nearer to south pole of another magnet, there is attraction between the two opposite poles.

How to Form Magnets

A magnet is used to magnetise the bar of a magnetic material by rubbing it in a particular direction, repeatedly. Start from one end and rub down to the other end of magnet and repeat the process. Another way to magnetise by means of an electric current. If the hard magnet is used in the latter method, the magnet formed will be of permanent nature but if soft magnet is used, it will give only a temporary magnetic effect to the bar and would last only to as long as the current passes through coil.

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