Power Wristbands


In the mid to late 2000's sportsmen and women were seen wearing a small plastic wrist band and some began actively endorsing it in the media, claiming it helped their performance. It was a product sold and marketed by the Power Balance company of California. In the silicon bracelet was a hologram and which was claimed by its manufacturers and vendors to "use holographic technology" to "resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body", thus increase sporting ability. The band was originally demonstrated at sales shows using the applied kinesiology trick (asking people to hold their arm out to the side, the salesman then pushes it down, seemingly quite easily. When the bracelet is worn and the salesman repeats the movement ,he does so slightly differently and it seems to the wearer she has increased strength and balance).

The bracelet became trendy with college sportsmen and women in 2008-2012 which proved the highpoint of the fad. Though the company denied making any actual medical claims, after an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruling, the Australian distributor of Power Balance there was forced to recognize and retract any possible claims. They soon faced various lawsuits and in 2011 filed for bankruptcy following a $57m settlement. Despite this, the name was sold to a new company which still sells the bracelets - though they are more careful in their advertising.

Various copycat products were soon made to cash in on the scam. One of these was the Shuzi Qi bracelets which, among other outlandish claims, said it could "unclump your blood". These were sold in the UK and came to the attention of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. They set up a series of double-blind tests, asking a rugby player to take 100 conversion kicks, 50 when wearing the original band and 50 wearing one with the "special nano vibrational chip" removed. The Society made a video of the testing and its protocols which you can watch here - https://youtu.be/ebpVq5AgUyA