For centuries, magnets have been used in healing. Legend has it that in 500 BC a fellow from the city Magnesia in Asia Minor was walking with nails in his sandals and attracted minerals from the soil (magnetite). Around 2000BC Hindu scriptures of the Vedas described the ability to heal disease with instruments of stone (lodestones). The ancient Greeks called them love stones (Lapis Vivus); they contained magnetite oxide and magnetite.

In ancient Egypt, Cleopatra wore a small magnet on her forehead (the pineal gland was thus stimulated to secrete melatonin. In ancient Rome, eels were used to produce electrical charges to treat arthritis. In Greece, Galen in 200 BC used magnets to purge illness. The Chinese in 100AD had invented some form of compass with magnets.

Magnets were used to alleviate spasms in 1000AD by a Persian Ali-Abbas. In 1269, Mairocurt discovered the polarity of magnets and differentiated the north and south pole. A Swiss Paracelsus treated gout and jaundice with magnets in 1550. That same year the first map of the world was described by Mercator (Flemish) by using magnetic needles. Ten years later, Pare, the father of modern surgery, used magnets to heal open wounds with powdered magnets and honey. Gilbert, an Englishman in 1600 wrote a book " De Magnate" summarizing all the knowledge about magnets and was the first to see electricity and magnetism as separate forces

Not much happened till 1730, when Leyden stored electricity in a jar line with two foils inside and outside. These storage devices were later called capacitors. Our own Ben Franklin's kite was used to describe magnetic energy in 1747. In a thunderstorm he flew a kite with a metal tip attached to wet hemp line (which conducted electricity) and held a metal key attached to the line. It was held in the hand by a silk rope that wrapped around the key and resultant sparks flew. Galvani coined the term animal magnetism in 1791 (really an electrical chemical phenomena). Eight years later the term animal magnetism was replaced by Biomagnetism by a Dutchman, Brigman, after noting the reaction of organisms to the earth's magnetic field. In 1800 Volt made the first battery.

The nineteenth century produced many advances in magnetism. In 1820, Orsted showed electric current flowing through wire produced its own magnetic field. Five years later Sturgeon developed electromagnets that lifted up to one ton. He used a horseshoe iron bar wrapped in bare electric wire insulated with varnish The next year Ampere discovered the galvanometer. In 1831 Faraday discovered the first electric motor after 6000 experiments. Maxwell showed light is an electrical phenomena (in 1865) and discovered the law of gravitation. Hertz in 1880 discover short radio electric waves and named them Maxwellian waves. Marconi discovered the first radio transmission in 1896, and two years later Paulson recorded magnetic sound. At the same time Curre showed elements take on charges or opposite charges of a magnetic field and each substance has a critical temperature where it loses its ferromagnetic properties. In 1900 Thomson discovered the electron.

In 1911, Onner who invented an instrument to measure low intensity biomagnetic signals in the heart and body espoused the theory of superconductivity. Ten years later the magnetic properties of atoms were discovered. Campbell in 1935, and Bingenheimer in 1936, showed the effects of magnetic fields on small animals and living organisms. After WWII, with the discovery of cortisone, magnetic treatment was pushed to quackery. Pauling in 1954 showed the magnetic properties of hemoglobin which is important in cell metabolism.

1962 was the birth of biomagnetism with the first magnetic cardiogram by Baule along with McFee. This led to the MRI, and other medical magnetic resonance instruments, as we know today.

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