Friday, August 6, 2010

New Woo in Sports - Power Balance

Recently,  my wife and I completed the Elvis is Alive 5K run as part of her training for the Paris Marathon.  At the finish line were the usual collection of fitness and nutrition products to sample and gyms offering memberships.  While I was sampling a post-race drink, I noticed a product demonstration at the adjoining tent.

The Power Balance rep pulled someone from the crowd and had them hold their arms out in a cross position.  He pushed down on the subjects right arm until it failed.  He then placed a Power Balance bracelet on the runner's left shoulder and repeated the test on the right arm.  He had to struggle to push the arm down this time.  AMAZING!

He then explained that the hologram in the bracelet "balanced the life energy that flows through all living things" making the runner stronger.  The bracelet also "dispelled negative energy that builds up during a workout."  He repeated the test on another runner, this time putting the Bracelet on top of her hat, informing us that the holograms didn't need to be in contact with the skin to work.  It only has to be within your energy field.  The subjects being test didn't seem to buying what he was trying to sell them.

I snickered.  My wife saw what was coming and took off.  "J", the rep eagerly turned to me to remove my skepticism with his sales pitch.  He again stated that we all have a life energy, "Chi" flowing through us.  This energy can be  blocked by injury and disease.  "This product is based on Ancient Eastern Philosophy" he explained,  sort of like acupressure but with a high tech twist.  The hologram in the silicone bracelet is embedded with information (burned in like a CD or DVD) that resonates with your natural energy.

I had a few questions.  He said he was happy to answer them all.

Q.  How was this developed?  Who found out you could use a hologram to balance your energy?
A.  It was developed by athletes.

Q.  No one has ever been able to detect/measure "Chi" in a scientific lab.  How did Power Balance find the right frequency to embed into the hologram?
A.  I don't know.

Q.  Was scientific research done to test the efficacy of the hologram?
A.  Yes, but we feel that personal testimonials are better evidence that the product works.  Just ask anyone who wears one.

Q.  Who did the research and what were the results?
A.  We used research from universities including Brown, Yale.  To tell you the truth, the test were inconclusive.

He then asked me to buy a bracelet and try it for two weeks.  If I didn't like it I would get a refund.  I declined, saying that I was already prejudiced against the product and I would dismiss any perceived effect.  J decided to give one to me free and asked if my wife would wear it for 14 days.  I said I would ask her to do so  (she declined).

I think J and the other people selling this product are naive and only looking to make some money.  He was friendly and enthusiastic but not very well informed.

You can check out the website at  I couldn't find one piece of information about how this product works (other then the vague ancient eastern philosophy angle) or who invented it.

In my PERSONAL OPINION, this is a ineffective product being marketed to the dubious public.  If the people at Power Balance have a problem with that statement, they can show me the research that proves their claims.
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