Thursday, December 13, 2007

What is a Gauss Rating?

A German mathematician named Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) applied mathematical principles to magnetism. Thus was born the Gauss rating for measuring the strength of magnetism.

The gauss rating of a magnet determines the speed in which it works, and the thickness determines the depth of penetration. Some magnet companies list their products by internal gauss, not the external gauss rating. Quick rules of thumb in determining proper gauss strength are taking the external gauss rating and multiply this number by 3.9. As an example, a 500 gauss external strength rated magnet can also be called a 1,950 gauss internal strength rated magnet. It is important that you are not misled into believing you're getting a higher strength product, as both are correct ratings for the same magnet.

The Gauss rating of a magnet can be misleading. The strength of the magnetic field falls off very quickly as the surface of the magnet is moved away from the target area. The actual gauss strength inside the human tissue can be much less then the gauss rating of the magnet as the magnet is moved away from the target area. Not only is the rating of the magnetic important in this determination but also the size of the magnetic. The larger the magnetic the larger the field. For a magnetic to penetrate deep into human tissue it needs to be fairly strong. To penetrate to a depth of one inch it should have a rating of 700 to 1000 gauss external strength. For two inches of penetration the magnet needs to have a 1200 to 2000 gauss external rating.

The material of the magnetic alone does not determine its overall strength. The mass (size) of the magnetic must also be considered. If you had a neodymium magnetic (neodymium is a rear earth material) with a gauss rating of 12,000 and a ceramic magnetic with a gauss rating of 4,000, which would be stronger? Naturally, you would pick the neodymium magnetic, and you would be correct if both magnets were the same size.

Now assume that the neodymium magnet has a 1/2" diameter and is 1/8" thick and the ceramic magnetic has a 3/4" diameter and is 1/4" thick. Now which magnetic is stronger? Even though the neodymium magnetic has a gauss rating of 12,000 the 4,000 gauss rated ceramic has a stronger field due to its mass.

The best therapeutic results are achieved when the magnetic field within the tissue is around 500 to 600 gauss. To attain this rating requires a strong magnetic to deliver the proper amount of energy. The depth of penetration of the magnetic field appears to be at least as important as its strength. This is extremely important. The larger the mass of the magnet, the stronger and more effective it will be. If the magnets are too small, the magnetic field will drop below therapeutic levels before it even reaches the injury site. Magnets constructed from Neodymium are unusually strong in relation to their size. They are believed to have the deepest penetrating fields. Some people may encounter a skin reaction to direct exposure to neodymium magnets therefore many therapeutic magnets are plated with gold or some other non-reactive metal or contained within a pad or holder.

Note: If you come across a magnetic that does not specify if the rating is external or internal you can determine the external rating by dividing the rating by 3.9. Example a rating of 12,000 would have a external rating of 3,076.

Something else to be aware of is that gauss strength of the magnetic field is not cumulative. In other words if each magnet has a manufacturers gauss rating of 2,000 and there are 10 magnets in the product, the strength is still 3,000 gauss, NOT 20,000 gauss. Although, more magnets in a products means that the magnets are spaced closer together, creating a more uniform magnetic field. The number of magnets needed to create a consistent field is also dependent upon the size of the magnets. As stated previously, larger magnets will create larger fields. The key is that you do not want large spaces between the magnets, as large spaces will create empty gaps in the magnetic field, in which there is no therapeutic benefit.

Many suppliers of Magnetic Therapy Jewelry do not specify the gauss rating of their products because of the confusion the rating can cause. Prior to purchasing any Magnetic Therapy Jewelry research the product to ensure it is right for you.

Mike McDonough has been associated with the jewelry and jewelry design business for several years. He has on staff some of the finest artisans designing lovely jewelry. Each piece is one of a kind and crafted with the highest quality materials available. Lovely gemstones and sterling silver atone the jewelry designs and can be viewed at Designs by Elaine Marie and Jewelry For A Purpose

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