HOW MAGNETIC POLES ARE NAMED

Walter Last

 

Magnets are an effective tool in healing. The opposite poles of a magnet have different effects on the body. Therefore it is essential to name the poles correctly.

 However, there is much confusion because natural therapists (but not scientists) in the US name the magnetic poles in the opposite way as used in science. These therapists use the term bio-magnetism and assume that it is different from physics-based magnetism. Actually, they are both the same, and why this different naming practise developed is as follows.

Albert Roy Davis discovered or re-discovered the opposite biological effects of the two magnetic poles in the 1960’s and 70’s. His main book about this is MAGNETISM AND ITS EFFECT ON THE LIVING SYSTEM. It was co-authored with Walter C. Rawls, and first published 1974 by ACRES U.S.A. in Kansas City.

Obviously Davis was not aware of the scientific definition of magnetism, and made up his own definition with the following reasoning: “since dissimilar poles attract and similar poles repel, the end seeking the N pole of the earth’s magnetic pole is the S pole of the magnet.”

However, the scientific definition actually postulates that the magnetic S pole of the earth is at the geographic N pole of the earth. Therefore the scientific definition is that the north-pointing pole of a magnet is the N pole.

It is very regrettable that this misunderstanding of Davis has not only caused the scientific community to disregard his discoveries but also led to great confusion between natural therapists, manufacturers of magnetic healing devices and the general public. In many books, articles and statements the poles of magnets are specified without mentioning which definition the writer used for these poles.

One outspoken magnet therapy association in Australia even uses the scientific pole definition but then uses the poles as named by Davis, therefore using the poles in the opposite way as found to be effective by Davis. The same confusion can be found in Indian books on magnet therapy. The Germans tend to go more with the Davis definition while the British lean towards the scientific one. It is a complete mess!

To avoid conflict with the scientific view some US doctors working with magnets prefer to use the terms “positive” and “negative” for the magnetic poles but with this, too, it tends to be difficult to find out how these terms are defined and how they relate to the scientific definition of the magnetic poles.  

To minimise any misunderstanding I prefer to use the term “north-pointing pole” (or N-pointing), then everyone knows what I mean. In all of these different naming systems the same pole is pointing towards north. I hope that others will in time adopt this practise as well and so gradually overcome this confusion.  

To find out which pole points towards north and therefore is the N-pointing pole, do the following:

Suspend a magnet with a thread, the pole pointing towards the north is called the north-pointing pole or the N pole according to convention in physics; the other pole is the south-pointing pole. Another way of finding the polarity of a magnet is to move it slowly towards the north-pointing end of a compass needle. If the needle turns away, the north-pointing pole of the magnet has been used, and vice versa.

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