By now, you’ve probably seen it on TV: the “Power Balance bracelet” that claims to improve balance and agility. According to its manufacturer and celebrity endorsers, the bracelet “is “designed to work with your body’s natural energy field,” to allow you to reach “the next level.”
Even if you’ve seen the commercial, though, you’re likely still at a loss as to how the bracelet actually works. According to the Power Balance website, the product is “based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies.” The site describes the “hologram” inserted in the bracelet as “designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.”
Josh Rodarmel, the 28-year-old Californian who co-invented the bracelet, put it this way in an interview last year: “Everything in nature has a set frequency. The body has a frequency and things which cause negativity to the human body -- like mobile phones and radio waves -- break down its natural healing frequency.”
Sounds hip and new age-y. And the bracelet’s credibility has been strengthened by the number of professional athletes who claim to wear one, including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant; Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal; and soccer legend David Beckham. Even veteran actor Robert DeNiro and Kate Middleton, Price William’s fiancée, have been sold on the powers of the bracelet.
“No credible scientific evidence”
Only one problem: In an official statement, the company recently admitted that “there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of” an Australian consumer protection law.
The company’s admission came in response to a finding by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that the bracelet “may be no more beneficial than a rubber band.”
“Suppliers of these types of products must ensure that they are not claiming supposed benefits when there is no supportive scientific evidence,” ACCC chairman Gene Samuel said. The ACCC ordered Power Balance to take the product off the market and to issue a refund to any consumer who so requested.
Power Balance is complying with that order.
In response to the ACCC snafu, a class action lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles this week claiming that Power Balance misled the public by implying that there was a tangible benefit to be gained by wearing the bracelets.
Power Balance “stands by” product
Despite its admission that there is no “scientific evidence” behind the bracelet’s supposed powers, Power Balance is continuing to defend its product’s more mystical capabilities.
“[D]on’t believe what u hear. We stand by our products. (our trainers did test on us and we saw a difference in wearing them),” the company wrote in a recent tweet.
And in a statement issued Tuesday, the company insists that “Power Balance products work. The existing reports out there are fundamentally incorrect. Power Balance did not make any claims that our product does not perform.”
Since the bracelet’s introduction in 2007, over 2.5 million have been sold worldwide, at $29.95 a pop.