November 02, 2010

Does the Power Balance Wrist Band Work?: ESPN's Outside the Lines investigates whether the Power Balance Wrist Band, a band with a Mylar hologram to "optimize energy flow," actually improves an athlete's endurance, flexibility, strength and balance as advertised. More than $17 million was made last year selling the bands, which are being endorsed and worn by Shaquille O'Neal and other athletes. Exercise physiologists at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse tested the $30 bands against a 30 cent rubber wrist band on 20 student athletes. I think you know where this is going.

posted by rcade to general at 04:26 PM - 28 comments

Of course not. It's one of the biggest scams out there. Even if you don't understand it, a quick Google search would tell you it's a bunch of crap.

posted by BikeNut at 04:57 PM on November 02

A _____ and his _____ are soon ______. You have ten seconds -- ready, set, go!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:00 PM on November 02

On the one hand, I'd love to kick the marketers of the powerband in the testicles over and over again until I'm exhausted (maybe I'd get a few more kicks in if I wear a band). On the other, much like the pet rock, if a fool wants to be parted from his money, there is no crime in being the person who parts them. If you want to believe every wild-ass claim every product makes, then justify pissing away your money by referencing the "placebo effect" or the theory of "it works because I think it does," then thank you for being wealthy and/or stupid, and contributing to our economic recovery.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:03 PM on November 02

These types of scams always amaze me. One, that people fall for them as often as they do. And, two, that big name celebrities will allow their face to be on endorsements for the products.

Does Shaq not make enough money via the NBA and his legitimate endorsements that he needs to be associated with this bunk?

In reading the product link, they do the time honored schtick of testing someone's flexibility and/or resistance without the product, AND THEN with product (emphasis mine). Naturally one does better on the second test because you know what to expect, and if you are a believer at all, you want to do better.

posted by dviking at 05:18 PM on November 02

I haven't clicked on the link to the product, but I'm going to guess that the description contains one of the following buzz words, which I usually identify as as part of a scam:

- ionic or magnetic
- energy flow or field
- silver or stainless steel
- alignment or balance (obvious)
- frequency or harmonic
- chi or life force

[checks link]


posted by grum@work at 05:35 PM on November 02

It's very hard to see on the videos of the supposed tests, but if you look carefully, you can see a difference in the way force is applied before and after the band is worn. For example, in the one where the hands are behind the back, the demonstrator pulls slightly backwards and down to make the subject step back for balance. When the subject puts the band on, the demonstrator pulls straight down. The same appears to be true when the demonstrator pulls from the side, applying a bit of force away from the subject's body in order to interrupt balance, then when the band is worn, applying the force straight downward. This, in addition to dviking's observation that the subject will be more prepared for the test, convinces me it's all hokum. Barnum's rule (There's a sucker born every minute) and the old maxim that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public still apply.

Too bad it's phony. I was hoping to trade my mood ring for one.

posted by Howard_T at 05:37 PM on November 02

What Does It Do? The Power Balance bracelet contains a Mylar hologram designed to react with the body s natural energy flow.


How Does the Hologram Work? Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the body's natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to respond to the natural energy field of the body. The Mylar material at the core of Power Balance has been treated with energy waves at specific frequencies. The resulting Mylar is believed to resonate and work with your body's natural energy flow to help enable you to perform at the best of your ability.


How does it "work" with your "energy flow"? How does that help someone "perform"?

I guess if it if vague enough, you don't have to worry about being sued when people realize they get a wristband with a pretty hologram.

posted by grum@work at 05:43 PM on November 02

I don't buy stuff like this, but I found their ads very intriguing. I can see why people would want to give it a try.

posted by bperk at 05:48 PM on November 02

As a comic book collector, I have experience with Mylar. It did not make me stronger, but it has kept the first appearance of Wolverine in near mint condition for over 20 years.

posted by rcade at 06:04 PM on November 02

How does it "work" with your "energy flow"? How does that help someone "perform"?

Those two sentences have my wife asking if it will fit around my ... you know.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:11 PM on November 02

but it has kept the first appearance of Wolverine in near mint condition for over 20 years.

Hulk no like being slabbed! Hulk want to be read!

I've got a 9.0 myself

posted by cjets at 06:55 PM on November 02

Personally I've always played sports with my pet rock up my arse. I find the pointy edges have a tendency to keep me on my toes at all times.

posted by cixelsyd at 07:10 PM on November 02

This is dollar store stuff compared to the metaphysical cork sniffing that goes on with high end audio gear.

Not just with amplifiers and speakers. The voodoo pertaining to accessories is mind-numbing.

You guys already have your Dark Field Cable elevators in place, I presume. Why wouldn't you?

posted by beaverboard at 07:19 PM on November 02

You guys already have your Dark Field Cable elevators in place, I presume. Why wouldn't you?

My reaction when I read that:

posted by grum@work at 07:36 PM on November 02

Ironic that the sidebar ad right now is for a wrist band called iRenew that "may promote *strength *balance *endurance".

posted by dviking at 09:28 PM on November 02

Don't you Septics have laws about advertising standards or something?

/Checks Australian media for similar adverts.


posted by owlhouse at 09:56 PM on November 02

Not just with amplifiers and speakers. The voodoo pertaining to accessories is mind-numbing.

You guys already have your Dark Field Cable elevators in place, I presume. Why wouldn't you?

They even use a cryogenic process for their cords. That must mean they're worth it!

posted by jmd82 at 11:35 PM on November 02

You bought a Power Balance Wrist Band?

Have I got a deal for you. Ever heard of the Brooklyn Bridge?

posted by roberts at 07:04 AM on November 03

Are we talking Incredible Hulk #180 or #181?

posted by yerfatma at 08:57 AM on November 03


posted by rcade at 09:14 AM on November 03

That cat picture does more for my energy flow than those stupidly over-priced bands. It goes to show all you need is a slick advertising campaign and a cheap product, plus a jacked-up price tag, and you can take advantage of society and become rich.

posted by dyams at 09:21 AM on November 03

I was talking 181. 180 is considered a cameo.

posted by cjets at 10:50 AM on November 03

Oh, I know. I just wanted to make sure Cadenhead wasn't trying to impress the ladies by bragging on #180.

posted by yerfatma at 11:10 AM on November 03


posted by cjets at 11:19 AM on November 03


posted by wfrazerjr at 12:36 PM on November 03

Who is the greater nerd? The nerd, or the nerd who learns HTML purely to grouse about nerds?

posted by yerfatma at 02:02 PM on November 03

You are Nerdlinger. Prepare for massive doses of purple nurples.

I'll let you hold your comic books if it makes you feel better.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:18 PM on November 03

Bruce Banner was a nerd too.

posted by cjets at 09:24 PM on November 03

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.