sunday life: does a power balance bracelet make you stronger, better?

This week I test a Power Balance bracelet.


So. I’ve been wearing one of those little silicone wristlets imbedded with two small holograms for a fortnight now. I felt compelled to test one. Power Balance bracelets are like Zumba – a phenomenon that crept up without my noticing. One day I woke up and everyone was wearing one. Or dissing them. Do they work? Do they make life better? I suppose I had to find out.

It’s been an interesting sociological experience. There are a lot of people out there who love to hate an energy adornment and tell you all about it. Day one, I was tyre-kicking at an open for inspection down the road and the real estate agent scoffed at me: “The only good thing about those bracelets? They help you spot a wanker”.

Oh, like Bluetooth earpieces, I almost said. But didn’t.

On the flipside, wearing a Power Balance bracelet is a bit like owning a vintage Peugeot. You attract other owners (who wave at you when they pass).  So it was that I kept meeting strangers sporting a PB who wanted to welcome me into their little club. They emerged at the gym, from behind the lat-pull machine, nodded at me, and asked, “How you finding it, eh? Performing better?”.

There are several of these energy bracelets on the market, but the Power Balance is the original and has attracted the most parochial following – Shaquille O’Neil and David Beckham wear one, so does, seemingly, every second AFL player. They’ve also attracted the most impassioned disdain. The Australian Skeptics seem hell-bent on exposing them as a scam, demanding scientific proof that they work, and Today Tonight has waded in.

The PB claim is that the holograms are ”embedded with frequencies that react positively with your body’s natural energy field” to improve flexibility, balance and strength. The company doesn’t reveal exactly how this occurs. But, as I write this column this morning (literally!), I received a press release announcing such claims contravene the Therapeutic Goods Act and the company have been forced to pull their advertising.

So. This aside, do I think they work?

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