Around 2,000 B.C., the ancient Greeks and Chinese were already using magnets to help treat certain ailments. Magnetic therapy was really popularized by Paracelsus in the 14th century; he theorized that since magnets can attract iron, maybe they'd also attract diseases and pull them from inside the body. Paracelsus believed in the healing power of Mother Nature.

All these years later, we're still experimenting with magnets. A 1997 study from Baylor College of Medicine summarized that permanent magnets did reduce pain in post-polio patients. Do you remember the time when professional athletes were sporting magnetic bracelets, claiming the therapeutic benefits of magnets made a noticeable difference in their performance?

Here's where we take a closer look at magnetic stimulation and how a local doctor of psychiatry is using it as a procedure to treat anxiety and depression when traditional treatments with antidepressant medications aren't working.

Dr. Jonathan Schwartz is a psychiatry specialist who has been treating depression and anxiety with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of clinical depression. Dr. Schwartz joined me on the air and took calls from listeners wanting to hear more about TMS. He explained what the experience feels like and what to expect from this kind of treatment.

Perhaps a lot of folks are unfamiliar with this FDA-approved stimulation because doctors are treating most cases with antidepressant drugs. But here's a treatment that has worked very well for people with treatment-resistant depression.

Should you wish to find out more about TMS, call the office of Dr. Jonathan H. Schwartz at (508) 993-1377 ext. 107. It's well worth your time investigating this type of treatment.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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