Open Letter to Rebel Sport and NRG

UPDATE : 3 April 2012NRG Bands

Despite the claims of “…a breakthrough in negative Ion technology…” and such like, the NRG Titanium Ion Bands seem at last to have found their true home. At one time these bands cost $49.99 each, now they can be yours for just $2.00 at a Sydney’s ‘Reverse Garbage‘ trash and treasure store.

Australian Skeptics continue to be on the lookout for magical power bands and the stores that promote them.

UPDATE : 4 October 2011

In a post on their twitter account dated 30 September 2011, Rebel Sport stated;

We appreciate feedback regarding NRG TitaniumION Bands. We’re discussing w/ NRG & have decided to remove the product from sale in our stores

Australian Skeptics congratulate Rebel Sport for this taking this action, one that puts their customers first.

This is the original posting by Australian Skeptics, dated 26 September 2011

In 2010, Australian Skeptics were instrumental in exposing the PowerBalance wrist band as nothing more than a placebo. PowerBalance was the rubber band that claimed to aid strength, balance and flexibility, and it was endorsed by a number of sporting celebrities. But following a directive by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to publish retractions of the unsubstantiated claims for the wristband and to offer refunds to customers, the Australian franchise has collapsed.

More recently, our attention was drawn to very similar product, the NRG Titanium Ion Band. This too has been endorsed by sporting stars.

We have written the following open letter to the distributor NRG Australia, and to Rebel Sport, the major sporting goods outlet that is retailing the band.

We await their reply.

Aussies love their sport and love a fair go for all. Rebel Sport provides a large range of sporting accessories on which everyday people and athletes rely to get the most out of their sporting life.

It is therefore disappointing to see that Rebel Sport are selling something that in our opinion does not and can not live up to the marketing claims.

The NRG Titanium Ion Band, currently being sold via Rebel Sport outlets, seems to be yet another in the long line of so-called “Power Bands”, rubber wrist bands that claim to aid sporting performance and health. It was not so long ago Rebel Sport were selling the now debunked PowerBalance band.1

NRG Band

If this wrist band was merely being touted as a fashion accessory we would have no objections to Rebel Sport’s decision to stock and promote it to consumers. However, NRG and Rebel Sport (as stockists) are selling a product which is making questionable but testable medical claims.

NRG publicly states that it “…has made a breakthrough in negative Ion technology…2 If so, we would very much like to see the peer-reviewed scientific studies. It sounds very much to us that NRG are simply using scientific sounding words and terms in order to market their product.

Some of the medical claims made by the NRG company3 are that benefits may include;

  • increased blood flow
  • increased circulation
  • revitalisation of red blood cells
  • neutralise free radicals

There is no credible evidence that this product can alter the physiology of the human body and until the manufacturer demonstrates this with actual scientific studies, then they are potentially misleading customers with claims about benefits which their products may not have.

Upon reviewing the medical evidence put forward by NRG2, Dr Steven Novella, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine said, “None of the proper controls are in place to make the information anything other than a marketing demonstration, similar to the parlor tricks used by PowerBalance.” and “There is every reason to believe that these titanium bands are medically worthless.4

Just like the ill-fated PowerBalance product before them, NRG rely heavily on testimonials from sporting stars, notably from the NRL. However while no doubt heart-felt and sincere, they are not evidence that the product works as claimed.

Australian Skeptics urge Rebel Sport to reconsider their decision to sell the NRG Titanium Ion Band. If however NRG and Rebel Sport stand behind the claims of the Titanium Ion Band, we invite them to apply for our $100,000 prize.5

Australian Skeptics Inc.

(3) stated on product packaging

PDF of Open Letter

Claims made on NRG packaging