Power Balance bracelet

Power Balance bracelet. Photo by Nitus, via Wikimedia Commons.

When entering the Power Balance website, one can find links to 36 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America and South America. This provides an idea of the global dimension of the hoax we are dealing with.

“Power Balance holograms are designed to work with your body’s natural energy field”, states the website when one enters. When clicking on “How it Works”, the same concept is repeated a little more extensively: Power Balance is Performance Technology designed to work with your body’s natural energy field. Founded by athletes, Power Balance is a favorite among elite athletes for whom balance, strength and flexibility are important. Power Balance 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.”

I have no other choice but to admit that my academic education is insufficient to be able to interpret what appears to be nothing but a bunch of nonsense.

It is interesting to note that among the 36 little flags shown in the website home, that of Australia, one of the world’s sport powerhouses, can not be found. The reason for that may be that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission forced Power Balance to withdraw their false claims and refund all those consumers that feel misled by the company. Moreover, Power Balance was forced to make a statement in which they literally acknowledge that “In our advertisement we stated that Power Balance wristbands improved your strength, balance and flexibility. We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974. If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologise and offer a full refund.”


But the Power Balance hoax has not only been exposed in Australia. Italy’s Authority for Competition and Trade fined the distribution and trading companies of the product, Power Balance Italy and Sport Town with 300,000 and 50,000 euros, respectively, considering there is no scientific evidence of the beneficial effects on balance, strength, flexibility and physical endurance promised in the advertising of the bracelets. This was based on the conclusions of the National Institute of Health. Power Balance has also been fined for misleading advertising in Spain, and the company is now facing a nationwide class action lawsuit in the United Sates.

But Power Balance strikes back. In the United States link of their website, under the heading “Get the facts”, the following declaration by their president, Keith Kato, can be found:

Power Balance stands by our products. Millions of people around the globe are wearing Power Balance products and are thrilled with the results. Dozens of high profile professional athletes swear by the results they’ve experienced from wearing our products.

CNBC recently named Power Balance as the “Sports Product of the Year for 2010.” Our bracelet was also one of Amazon’s “Top 5 Best Sellers” during the recent holiday shopping season. We are the clear leader in the market for performance technology accessories and we owe it all to our customers who wear and believe in the product.

However, there has been some negative press about our products coming out of Australia recently. In addition, we have recently been subject to several class action lawsuits in the United States. That said, we wanted to set the record straight.

Contrary to recent assertions in the Australian press, Power Balance has not made a statement that our product is ineffective. This is simply untrue. The truth is that, apparently, some of our previous marketing claims in Australia were not up to ACCC standards – changes were made and approved, and the issues were believed to have been resolved.

We remain committed to bringing our products to every athlete in the world, from professional to amateur to recreational.

We are also confident that the future will be even brighter for Power Balance. A preliminary study, conducted by an independent third-party, was recently commissioned to determine the different performance variables of the product and the findings have determined that wearing the product does in fact provide a “statistically significant” result on the wearer’s performance. We are committed to further evaluating the performance parameters of wearing the product so that we can continue to provide products that enhance the wearer’s lifestyle.

Power Balance will do whatever it takes to make our products available to every consumer around the world appropriately, and with honor and integrity.”

As a researcher in sport sciences, I can’t wait to see the results of the above mentioned independent study, preferably published in a peer reviewed scientific journal with an impact factor!

Admittedly, nowhere in the Power Balance website it is now stated that the bracelets improve strength, balance and flexibility of those who wear them. The closest they get to that statement is “Power Balance is a favorite among elite athletes for whom balance, strength and flexibility are important.” A way to continue selling millions of bracelets all over the world, without strictly misleading anybody…

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One comment

  1. Rodolfo

    El power balance wrist band de la foto es el falso el original si sirve

    March 9, 2012