Power Balance – officially shonky!

The Power Balance bracelet, supposedly an innovative bit of technology that will improve your balance, flexibility and strength by optimising your body’s energy field with special holograms, has been declared “shonky” by the independent consumer advocacy group, Choice.
Awarded the dubious honour of being “stronger, bendier, balanceder, dumber” at a ceremony in Sydney on October 26, Choice said “the only power this bracelet seems to have is over its distributor’s bank balance – they’re reportedly raking it in”.
And not surprising, considering the bracelets retail at $60, or $90 for the amulet version. And yet Australian Skeptics have imported the identical items – with a subtle change to the logo on the band (ours says “Placebo”) – for only $2 landed. And we’re told the manufacturing cost per item in China is about $0.50. That’s a pretty hefty mark-up.
Choice tested the bracelets with a series of double-blind balancing tests, and their own placebo versions scored higher than the ‘real’ thing.
Australian Skeptics’ vice president, Richard Saunders, had tested the bracelet earlier this year on Channel 7’s Today Tonight program, using the product’s distributor, Tom O’Dowd, to test which one of six volunteers had the wristband hidden on their body. O’Dowd failed to pick the correct volunteer in all five tests undertaken.
The bracelets have been sported by celebrities, athletes, etc, who claim that the bracelets do affect their performance. The fact that the placebo effect is just as effective, if not more so, than the Power Balance indicates they users are falling for the wishful thinking syndrome.
As Choice says, “If a fool and his money are soon parted, there are plenty of fools out there – and they’re wearing a rubber bracelet. If you spot one, offer to sell them a bridge.”
A full list of Choice’s Shonky awards can be found on their website.