KS writes: “A woman at our parish spoke to me recently about a line of products from a company she represents called Nikken. They offer items which are purported to ease pain and symptoms of a variety of illnesses and conditions. The focal products contain magnets, but their website doesn’t appear to follow “New Age” kinds of marketing. They focus on the natural energy producing properties of magnets, etc., and their influence on the human body; i.e., a physiological kind of influence rather than spiritual. I’m always leery of things of this kind, though I know that the natural world influences us in many ways.
“Have you heard of Nikken, and if so, what is your opinion?
Women of Grace is one of the few voices speaking against the ‘harmless’ things in this world (such as yoga). I ask because they also have a nutritional line of products, but do not want to support them if they are promoting spiritually destructive things.”
Nikken magnets and other products are not based in the New Age but are steeped in the pseudoscientific world of alternative health care which is so popular among believers in the Age of Aquarius.
For those who never heard of Nikken, this is a multi-level marketing firm that began in 1975 with Isamu Masuda “conceived of an invention that would relax and energize millions of people who suffered from one of mankind’s most common complaints: sore feet, and the fatigue that this extends to the entire body.”
According to the website, Masuda drew his inspiration from the pebbled surface at the bottom of a Japanese public bath, added magnetism, and created the first Nikken product known as Magstep. He claims the product is based on “wellness solutions” found in the natural world.
The site goes on to say that Nikken magnet products contain “proprietary, patented innovations that make use of static magnets for safety and reliability.” As innovative and “natural” as they try to make their products sound, there simply is no scientific evidence to support any of the claims it makes about the healing effects of magnets, nor does the website offer any research and/or clinical studies for consumers to review. It’s only evidence are the “testimonies” of so-called satisfied customers who may or not be real people.
This could explain why regulatory action was taken against the company by the FDA in 1996 for making false claims about its products.
Interestingly, Harriet Hall, MD, wrote an interesting article about a friend who was naively using these magnets even after she sent her a list of links with studies specifically done with Nikken magnets. All of the studies debunked magnets in general and specifically Nikken products. Her friend insisted that the magnets were helping her and stubbornly dismissed the notion of placebo.
As for the company’s nutritional line, it is comprised of “organic” supplements for bone, heart and digestive health as well as exotic juices and daily vitamins. The rather pricey products are sold via multi-level marketing and come with the usual promise that if you sign up to sell these supplements, you’ll achieve the kind of financial freedom that is really only available to the top people in the network.
Savvy consumers know that regardless of the manufacturer and its so-called “stamps of approval”, supplement quality is debatable at best.
I would avoid Nikken and any other magnet-selling outfit. And until the company’s nutritional products can be proven to be superior to any others, I would not even consider paying the high prices being charged for these items.
I would have to agree with Dr. Hall who gave this wise advice to her friend: “I do my utmost to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out.”