Last year I posted an item here, detailing how I, as the emcee at a charity event, chose not to say anything negative about Power Balance bracelets to the raffle winners that received them as prizes. Many of you thought I had missed a great opportunity to teach about the placebo effect, if not perform a bit of peripheral consumer watchdog-ism. After all, a Power Balance wrist band can cost more than $30.00 US, and if it’s all just sports voodoo, I could have saved some people some money.
Now, if youâ€™re not familiar, Power Balance wristbands are a simple band made of rubber that looks similar to a wristwatch. However, where the watch face would be on a wristwatch, there is instead a holographic disk â€”Â which is kind of a cool looking thing, from a purely visual standpoint. Of course, as you no doubt have guessed by now, Power Balance claims the holographic disk does way more than just look cool.
From the Power Balance website:
Power Balance is Performance Technology designed to work with your bodyâ€™s natural energy field. Founded by athletes, Power Balance is a favorite among elite athletes for whom balance, strength and flexibility are important. . . .
. . . . Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the bodyâ€™s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.
Eastern philosophies? Energy fields?
Those a re a couple of phrases that appear in a lot of New Age claims, and should tip off a good critical thinker. And of course IÂ always doubted the effecacyÂ of the wrist bands, and meant to investigate and write a full post about them at some point.
Well, as often happens when I put something aside, a lot of other people look into it, and do all the leg work for me.
For example, friend of Skepchick, Richard Saunders exposed the Power BalanceÂ “technology” on Australian television at the end of last year. See that video below:
Not only have the skeptics looked into the Power Balance claims, but some good sports people have as well. Below is a video from an October episode of the ESPN show, Outside the Lines, featuring some similar tests.
And yes, all of them come to the same conclusion about the Power Balance wrist bands. I’m sure you can guess what that is.
The lesson here is, if I put off something long enough, someone else will do the work for me. Either that, or the lesson here is, the only power Power Balance has is to separate the gullible from their cash.