Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Michelle LaBrecque


Complementary Therapies; Arthritis -- therapy; Pain Measurement


Arthritis is a prevalent condition found throughout the entire population. Manifestations of this disease can lead to increased pain in multiple joints leading to decreased functional mobility and limitations in activities of daily living. Ionized bracelets have become an increasingly popular non-traditional, conservative treatment for decreasing pain and improving well-being in persons with multiple diagnoses and body system involvement. Very little research has been conducted on the effects of ionized bracelets; therefore, additional research needs to be conducted to validate these theories.

The purpose of our study is to determine the effect of ionized bracelets on pain and function in individuals diagnosed with arthritis. Fifty subjects over the age of 18 and diagnosed with arthritis were recruited to participate in this double blind, randomized controlled trial. The subjects were required to wear either an ionized or placebo bracelet for a four week time period. A pre screening questionnaire was used to collect general demographic data and as a screening tool to exclude those with any pathology/conditions that could have been adversely affected by the ionized bracelets. Subjects were randomly divided into two groups (19 ionized, 31 placebo). Subjects rated their pain using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and measuring functional activities using the Short Form 36 (SF-36).

Statistical analysis using a mixed groups factorial ANOV A showed no significant interaction of treatment groups and time as related to pain and function. In the ionized group, a significant difference was found using a paired t-test when evaluating the main effects of time on the Bodily Pain subset in the SF-36, but not in the VAS. This group showed a decrease in pain over the four week course. A significant level of improvement of function was also found in the Vitality and Social Functioning subsets of the SF-36. This significance was found only in the placebo group, not in the ionized. In the General Health subset of the SF-36 a significant difference was found when looking at both ionized and placebo groups together, but no significance was found when analyzed separately.

With so many inconsistencies, the results of this study have illustrated the need for further research regarding the effects that ionized bracelets have on arthritic pain and function. Further research should focus on more precise single variables such as pain as opposed to multiple factors, such as pain and function. These studies should be performed with larger sample sizes and over longer periods of time. Only as research accumulates will consumers be able to make informed decisions regarding the use of alternative therapies such as ionized bracelets.