Saturday, August 6, 2011

Power Balance Bracelet: How Does It Work?

I work at a fast food place and people are constantly coming through the line with their Power Balance bracelets. I find this to be a good opportunity to ask simple questions about this device.

"How does the bracelet work?"

The answers kind of range a bit.

"I don't know."

"It improves your balance."

"It balances your ions."

"It improves performance."

I have very little time for any follow-up questions, because I am the cashier. I get responses more frequently in the vain of the last three responses. To which I would just love to ask, "What exactly does that mean?"

One of my co-workers would love to respond to the claim, "It improves your balance."

"What balance? My bank balance?"

What surprised me was how many responses I got in the vain of, "It doesn't work", and "It's a piece of crap." It has become somewhat obvious to me that this is just, "Well, I invested money in this thing, might as well just keep wearing it." To tell themselves that it was worth the $10-$30 they spent on it. Or it's a gift from a friend or family member and they can't bring themselves to throw it out.

I even got a physical demonstration of how this bracelet "works." Three young guys. One was wearing the bracelet. The one wearing the bracelet shows me a demonstration of how his friend is "not balanced." His friend puts his hands behind his back and interlocks his fingers. The guy with the bracelet pushes down on his hands and the friend falls backwards. Clear evidence that his friend is "not balanced." Then he puts the bracelet on his friend and does the same thing. Only this time, the friend doesn't fall over when he pushes down on his hands.

I then ask one them to put the bracelet on. I tell the one who will be pushing down on their friend's hands to stand further back when he pushes down. This way the guy who is pushing isn't offering physical support. Sure enough, with the Power Balance bracelet on, the guy falls backward. He's wearing the bracelet. He shouldn't fall over. How does the owner of the bracelet deal with this obvious failure? He said, "Well, he's not balanced."

You have to be balanced before you even put on the bracelet for it to work?! If you're already balanced, then why do you need the bracelet? Are these guys even aware that the creators of the bracelet admit there's no evidence that it works? Why isn't this information offered at the time of purchase? Until it is, I will keep asking the question, "How does it work?"

Richard Saunders of the Australian Skeptics asked this same question:

Further Reading:

Power Balance Technology

Placebo Jewelry

Power Balance: Magical Energy Bracelets, or Nonsense?

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