power balance is described as “a performance technology using holograms embedded with frequencies that react positively with the body’s natural energy field to improve balance, strength and flexibility.”What they’re talking about here, but cannot mention for fear of disappearing the illusion and watching their sales plummet, is the placebo effect. Until such time as Power Balance, and other purveyors of magic rubber bracelets, prove scientifically how their products work beyond the hokum of esoteric crystal frequencies, energy fields and auras, I’m gonna write this one down to a stone cold grift based on the placebo effect, the gullibility of humans, peer pressure and our innate desire for a quick fix.
Our minds are incredible things. Belief is powerful medicine. The placebo effect is a measurable, observable, or felt improvement in health or behavior not attributable to a medication or invasive treatment that has been administered.
Sounds pretty amazing right? Just by putting on a little rubber band with a mylar (the same shiny stuff your teabags come wrapped in) holographic image imbedded in it, and all of sudden you’re a leaner, meaner more focussed version of yourself. Instantly. No need for years of yoga, kung-fu or pilates. No need for discipline, focus and self control.
When you slip on this power balance bracelet, it’s supposed to attune your body’s energy field and make you instantly more powerful and balanced. No need to ask penetrative questions about how it works, no need to understand the science behind the product, put one on and feel better, more grounded, alert, balanced, powerful. Try it. Under the heading of “How Does Power Balance Work” on the website it says:
“powerbalance is based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.”
But it never gets deeper than that. I mean how does a hologram, something that is almost entirely electrically inert manage to tune your body’s energy field? I asked photographer adventure sports photographer Craig Kolesky how it worked and he said there was a metal wire inside that affects your electro-magnetic field. I took my Power Balance and cut it in half with scissors. There’s nothing inside. It’s just a mylar hologram. In an interview with basketball magazine Slam, the founder of Power Balance Josh Rodarmel tries to explain how it all came about, and how it works.
“We put frequencies in the holograms that react positively with your body’s energy field. The same way that wireless internet or cell phones or radio waves or different things like that—everything has a frequency and everything reacts with other frequencies. The frequencies I just mentioned react negatively with your body, but there are also frequencies that react positively with your body. We figured out how to put those in the hologram so when it comes into contact with your body, it gives you that added balance, strength, flexibility. We can demonstrate that through the different muscle tests. That’s more on the sports side. Our testimonials say it helps athletes with their stamina and they recover faster, things like that. The cool thing about this product and what makes it viral is the personal experience that everybody has. It differs. The experience that I have might be different from the one you have or anyone else has.”
There’s a new grift in the world of pro surfing. Scratch that, there’s a new grift in the world at large. Power Balance. Yes I’m talking about that phony little silicone bangle you’re wearing with the “magic” hologram inside. You see them all over the place right now. They’re particularly prevalent in the surfing world but you’ll also find them adorning the wrists of tri-athletes, basketball players, American football stars, MMA fighters and your average smattering of business execs, gym bunnies, advertising shlumpfs and thousands of other gullible schuksters looking for a quick fix. The good people at power balance armband – and several of the spin off competitors – yes a grift this good births hundreds of imitators – are onto a good thing. A product that costs little more than R5 bucks to make, mass produced in China, is being sold for R495 smackeroos. But how does it work?