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I have heard from several new mothers that they are being told about amber necklaces being sold for teething babies. (Pain relief?)

I am very interested to see if there is any scientific evidence behind these as a medical benefit, and not just as a distraction to the teething infant.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Again, this is an excellent opportunity to practice grass roots skepticism. Ask yourself: By what mechanism is this supposed to work? How does the proposed mechanism align with what we know about science, biology, physics, etc.? In searching around for an answer for you, I see the same info bit repeated over and over again, but no original citation for it. It says things like:

One theory suggests that when amber is worn on the skin, the skin's warmth releases miniscule amounts of healing oils from the amber which are then absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream.

Or even:

A second theory is based on scientific findings which have shown that amber is electromagnetically alive and therefore charged with a significant amount of organic energy. Its special attribute is the fact that it is electronegative. Wearing amber produces negative ionisation on the skin's surface. This, in turn, has a positive influence on the human body. The negative ions assist in the in the prevention of illness. These health-promoting effects apply to babies, children and adults alike.

Exactly how do oils or negative ions actually affect the body? Well, I have done google searches for all the .edu and .gov sites, and I am not coming up with much. The closest I could come up with is the use for ions in cleaning the air.

If all this language sounds familiar, it may be because it's the same shtick as used by the PowerBlance folks. And we have already answered questions about them. Power Balance must state that they have no actual scientific backing for their claims. The Placebo band is just as effective, and much cheaper.

So in other words, there is no reliable evidence. Although, I would think two things right off

  • Couldn't pieces of amber present a chocking hazard to the child?
  • And I'm sure that something pretty and sparkly will distract a child. Perhaps an origin to this folk remedy?
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Yes the placebo band are both healing and nice to listen to. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo_%28band%29 :-) –  Lennart Regebro Apr 7 '11 at 6:57
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Thanks Larian, I searched online for hours to read the same. –  Simon J M Apr 7 '11 at 6:57
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This: ""Wearing amber produces negative ionisation on the skin's surface. "" is crowning the nonsense. Everybody fears (with reason) ionizing radiation. Here ionisation (negativly) is good! This is a rest of the dangerous quack medicine with "Radium baths" "Radon inhalations" which was en voge from turn of century till the 30ties. (Depending on country) Every nonsense from last 100 years is repeated on "new" waves. This saves inventing new silliness. –  No longer here Apr 7 '11 at 17:42
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@georg yay recycling! –  justin cress Apr 7 '11 at 20:20
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Medicine is "alternative medicine" that works. :) –  Ernie Mar 2 '12 at 22:34

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