Power Balance wristband and pendant
Price $60 for silicone wristband; $95 for pendant necklace
Power Balance claims its products work with and optimise your body’s energy field by means of special holograms. Their demonstrations show people apparently experiencing immediate improvements in flexibility, balance and strength when exercising. But these demonstrations, typically involving a Power Balance promoter and a volunteer, use techniques that can easily be manipulated to produce the desired result (even a demonstrator who genuinely believes in the product can unconsciously do this). And the explanation of the product – that Mylar holograms are treated with energy waves at specific frequencies that interact with your body’s natural energy flow – sounds like pseudoscience. But is it possible the product actually works anyway?
CHOICE conducted a small trial with a total of twenty males and females of various ages and fitness levels. They performed a set of tests including walking on a balance beam and performing rotational stretches to the limit of their flexibility. They did these exercises three times (with a long rest between each session), once without wearing any Power Balance products, once again wearing a Power Balance wristband and pendant, and again wearing another Power Balance wristband and pendant from which our lab tester had removed the holograms. All the products were masked with tape so triallists didn’t know which ones had the holograms; neither did the trial’s coordinator, making this a double-blind trial. Only after the trial was over did the lab tester reveal which set still had its holograms.
The result? All the triallists felt and performed very similarly in all three runs. Some believed they performed slightly better wearing the intact products – others while wearing the doctored products – but most felt and demonstrated no significant difference at all. The Power Balance products gave no obvious performance benefit.
Money back guarantee
When we told the Power Balance distributor of our results, they responded that our trial was too small, that we might have tested counterfeit versions (we don’t think so) and that in any case they offer an unconditional 30-day money back guarantee. We put that to the test, and sure enough, the store from which we purchased our samples did return our money – after “testing” the product to make sure it was genuine. And they didn’t know we were from Choice, so we expect any customer would get the same treatment. So at least you can believe that particular Power Balance claim.
CHOICE is all for the power of positive thinking, but we can’t find much positive to say about Power Balance. It has no discernable effect on flexibility and balance. Any benefit you feel while wearing it is almost certainly due to a placebo effect. So, zero stars for the Power Balance.
If the products were cheap, we could at least call them a harmless bit of nonsense, but at $60 for the wristband and $95 for the pendant they’re far too overpriced to laugh off.