A month or two back I received a package from Australia from Richard Saunders who wanted to send me something. Now if you know Richard, then you know there is always a little twinkle in his eye most of the time. Richard is from the the Skeptic Zone and is one of the powerhouses behind exposing the Power Balance Bands – a silicone band with a hologram, that the makers claim can improve your balance, strength and flexibility all for about £38 (approx $50).It’s a bit of woo merchandizing that has gone both global and mega. Numerous superstars from the sporting world swear by them including that well-known bastion of rationality, David Beckham.
Expecting the unusual, I opened the package to discover two rubber wristbands that could easily have been mistaken for something out of the Ann Summers adult catalogue. These were mock Power Balance Bands produced by the Skeptic Zone to draw attention to the ludicrous claims.
However, through the efforts of our more sensible cousins down under, the bracelet’s distributors in Australia were made to apologise and change their marketing and advertising text after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took action.
The US distributors of the Power Balance had also claimed: “Power Balance is based on the idea of optimising the body’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.” Now if that doesn’t trigger your BS detectors then what will?
Anyway, this story has been developing in the past few months and I guess I have just been to busy to draw attention to it, but today the Telegraph in the UK reported that the creators of the Power Balance Bands admitted that there was no scientific evidence to back up the claims and that they were offering refunds. However, even when the game is up, some believers refuse to listen. Huw Davies, the head of strength and conditioning at Wasps rugby club, said that players were initially skeptical but had responded significantly well to wearing the wristbands.
If the Powerbands improve performance, then they are clearly working on the same principle as lucky charms – wishful thinking and placebo. Anyway, thank you Richard for sending me the fake Powerbands. Maybe I can take them to Ann Summers and see if they have an alternative use for them or where to wear them.