Claims of magic wristband way off balance

CHOICE says Power Balance promoters should put up or shut up

It's the latest gizmo sweeping the sporting world and if you believe the promotional blurb they increase your flexibility, balance and strength.

But CHOICE has given Power Balance bracelets and pendants a real workout and found nothing more than a pricey placebo. The consumer group has written to the ACCC suggesting promoters of the products be required to substantiate their claims under new consumer laws.

The so-called exercise aids cost $60 - $95 and have become must-have accessories for some of the country's leading sportsmen.

The Power Balance website claims its products use "holograms embedded with frequencies that react positively with your body's natural energy field" to improve core strength and power. So is it possible they actually work?

CHOICE has conducted trials involving groups of men and women of various ages and fitness levels performing a series of exercises three times – once without a Power Balance wristband or pendant, once again wearing Power Balance products and again wearing products from which the holograms have been removed.

The result: all the trialists felt very little difference in they way they performed each series of exercise.

“While we conducted our tests rigorously, we don’t claim they amount to a clinical trial or the final word," says Zinn.

“But they do raise questions about the claims and we are encouraged to hear clinical studies are being planned by a group of chiropractors in Victoria.

“In the meantime, this would be a good case for the ACCC to use its new “put up or shut up” powers to require the sellers to substantiate the claims if they can, or be held accountable if they can’t.”

The Australian Medical Association has dismissed the alleged benefits of Power Balance products as "biologically implausible" and has suggested advertising regulators investigate the claims.

"CHOICE is all for the power of positive thinking but we can't find anything positive to say about Power Balance."

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