Do “Power Bracelets” Really Work?

Superhuman Encoder
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I’ve been getting lots of questions lately about a black wristband I’ve been sporting on my wrist for the past couple months. It looks like this:

Superhuman Encoder

I race with it, sleep with it, eat with it, and have generally been bringing it to hell and back in my training sessions, just to see if I notice any difference when I’m wearing it.

You may have even seen me mention it in this ultimate healthy travel video.

But unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen stuff like this before – marketed as “Power Bracelets”, “Hologram Bracelets”, “Magnet Bracelets”, “Performance Jewelry”, and the list goes on and on.

And if you go to health, fitness or triathlon expos, you’ve no doubt been hounded by wristband salespersons eagerly attempting to conduct muscle tests on you to verify that their magical wristband is going to turn you into some kind of a superhero, including claims that they are:

-Engineered to release Negative Ions, Far Infra-red Rays and Alpha Waves.

-Engineered to absorb static electricity in the body and restore the Ying-Yang balance.

-Employ an Alternating North-South Polarity Orientation system, comprised of twin 1,000 gauss magnets to maximize magnetic field flow.

-Contains Neodymium magnets (aka rare earth magnets) – the most powerful magnets known to science.

-Made with Titanium to relax your spirit, muscles and increase your motor function.

-Uses holographic technology that contains algorithms and frequencies that interact positively with your energy field.

-Employs Sympathetic Resonance Technology (aka “SRT”) that influence biological, electrical, chemical and other physical systems.

-Uses a holographic disc that stimulates an energetic response in the body’s acupuncture points, biofield and meridians.

But do power bracelets and performance wristbands really work, or is it all just marketing hype?

Here are the basic power bracelets that you can find on the market today. I’ve tried most of them at various fitness expos and health events, been through the whole muscle testing rigamarole, and haven’t really  noticed much of a difference. But more on that later…here’s a quick run-down:

EFX

Claim: EFX’s holographic technology contains algorithms and frequencies that interact positively with this energy field in both humans and animals at the cellular level. When placed near the body, especially at key energy centers such as the hands and feet, EFX’s products will harmonize with the body’s naturally occurring bioelectric frequencies.

Website: http://efxusa.com/

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Youthwaters Ion Bracelet/IonLoop/TrionZ/Q-Ray

Claim: These products contain the combined technologies of ‘magnets’ and ‘negative ions’. The magnets use alternating North-South Polarity Orientation working to maximize the magnetic field flow in the body. The negative ion technology attracts beneficial negative ions (AKA “the good guys”) to be absorbed into the body to counteract harmful effects of positive ions.

Website(s): http://www.youthwater.com, http://www.ionloop.com, http://www.trionz.com/, http://www.qray.com

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Power Balance

Claim: Based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance which manufacturers say is “programmed” through an undisclosed process is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.

Website: http://www.powerbalance.com

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Q-Link

Claim: Sympathetic Resonance Technology (SRT) is in all Q-Link products, which is based on the fundamental scientific discovery that every physical system has fields of energy that permeate and surround that system. SRT is an array of proprietary identified frequencies that support and enhance the efficiency and performance of various organic and inorganic systems. Biological, electrical, chemical and other physical systems influenced by SRT applications exhibit increased functionality, coherence, structural integrity and other positive characteristics and benefits.

Website: http://www.qlinkproducts.com

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8ight Powerband

Claim: World leader in communicating with the body using holograms. Like a computer disc or music disc, information is stored on each hologram using cutting edge technology. When the hologram is applied to your body or clothing, it enters your body’s energy, or biofield. The energy field becomes the carrier wave for the accessed information to stimulate an acupressure point, just as needles would do in acupuncture.

Website: http://www.nanopatch.co.za/

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Phiten

Claim: The core of Phiten technology apparently something called “Aqua Metals” – metals that are broken down into microscopic particles dispersed in water. Their website directs the user to “The Society Of Aquametal Research”, where it is shown that cells derived from rat skeletal muscles show increased attachment, spread, adhesion strength, proliferation, gene expression, and collagen production when grown on a special titanium structure. But to my knowledge, the bracelet isn’t actually embedded into your body for your muscles to grow on.

Website: http://www.phitenusa.com

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“It’s Not About Science, It’s About Faith”

As you can see, unless you have a degree in physics, especially quantum physics, it’s not an easy task to figure out how half of these bracelets actually work, since the range of products come under a cloud of slightly woo-woo scientific terminology that seeks to persuade you that their specific approach is either: A) individual to them or B) superior to other competitors waving the same tech flag.

And while any of these bracelets refer to scientific research related to the field of technology in which their product purports to operate, most do not produce any 3rd party clinical tests or double-blind studies conducted on their products to back up their claims.

Interestingly, independent research has been performed on at least one of the brands that I listed above, the Power Bracelet. In the ESPN video below, the results of that research are beautifully summed up.

So basically, while researchers concluded that the bands worked no better than the placebo, some people still may experience a benefit because of a mentally perceived boost. So even if the technology behind the jewelry does not work, the bracelet itself may create a placebo effect that could positively impact your performance.

Even more interestingly (just so that you don’t think this article just ruined that effect for you) research has shown that people can benefit from the placebo effect even if they know it’s a placebo!

So if believing in a bracelet is what it takes for you to bring out your best performance, then go for it. It could be just what you need to take things to the next level, or maybe just to sleep better or get sick less.

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So What The Heck Have I Personally Been Wearing?

The wristband that I’ve been sporting for the past 60 days doesn’t really have any of the technology that I’ve listed so far in this article. It simply houses a constantly vibrating piezoelectric ceramic disc.

You also can’t get it anywhere because I had it special made just for me so that I could test the pants off it, so neener-neener.

OK, so what does “piezoelectric” mean?

Basically, piezoelectricity is the ability of certain materials to create electrical potential when responding to mechanical changes. I’ll show you a couple videos below that do a good job of explaining piezoelectricity, but basically, when compressed or expanded or otherwise changing shape, a piezoelectric material will output some voltage.

This piezoelectric effect can also happen in reverse – meaning that putting a charge through the material will result in it changing shape or undergoing some mechanical stress.

As you’ll see in the videos below, piezoelectricity is used to make motors, reduce vibrations in sensitive environments, and (relevant to putting a piezoelectric disc into a wristband),  it can be used as an energy collector.

To understand piezoelectricity, here’s a couple videos:

What Is Piezoelectricity? Part 1:

What Is Piezoelectricity? Part 2:

As you can see, some of the most obvious applications of piezoelectric materials for energy collection are personal energy generators that could potentially be powerful enough to power phones, MP3 players, etc.

So for example, the sole of your shoe could be constructed of piezoelectric materials and in that case, every step you took would begin to generate electricity. This electricity could then be stored in a battery or used immediately in a personal electronics device.

In the case of the wristband I’ve been wearing (which I first discovered as a necklace, but got made into a bracelet because necklaces suck when you’re exercising), the piezoelectric ceramic disc is pre-programmed with about 100 different sound frequencies.

There is no battery in my wristband, but the stored frequencies are amplified by the wave signals that emanate from motion as I’m walking, running or jumping (and interestingly, can even be amplified by the frequency of my beating heart – which is very cool if you’ve every studied the heart-brain connection).

So basically, anything I do (from breathing to moving) amplifies these frequencies and brings my body into a state of cohesion.

I know that this stuff can get a bit tricky to understand, but to grasp the role that vibrational waves or frequencies play for optimum performance, you could listen to my podcast with Dr. Jeffrey Thompson (“How You Can Use Sound And Music To Change Your Brain Waves With Laser Accuracy And Achieve Huge Focus And Performance Gains”), in which we talk about brainwave entrainment and sound frequency patterns that can trigger numerous health benefits, as well as improve the body’s efficiency when performing.

Anyways, the ultimate effect is that I feel more “springy” during my workouts, I sleep better, I’m in a better mood and (blush) I even have better sex.

There, I said it. The piezoelectric thing works for me, so now I’m working on seeing if I can get it studied to find out why, and I’m also working on making it available into an actual product that you can buy.

And yes, I’m bracing for the rotten-tomato throwing charlatan accusations. That’s the risk I take when I test stuff out, find that it works, and try to get it into the hands, or this case onto the wrists, of people who care about their bodies or performance, or people who like to geek out their health with stuff like this.

A Footnote

There’s a second component to the piezeoelectric wristband that I’m wearing – basically some special drops that you add to your water. Yeah, yeah, I know. Too much information, so I’ll stop now.

But next week, I’ll fill you in on exactly what the water does for the piezoelectric bracelet, and for now, you could listen to my interview with Dr. Gerald Pollack, entitled “Is All Water The Same?”. That will help you understand that follow-up article on the how the water part fits in when I release that article next week.

Now it’s your turn.

Do you wear a power bracelet, or anything like it?

Do you have questions about whether power bracelets or performance wristbands actually work?

Or do you just think I’m a charlatan nerd?

Leave your feedback and comments below…and I’ll apologize in advance if there’s a delay in my response because I’m going to be completely unplugged and way up in the mountains of Montana catching fish from icy cold lakes for the next couple days.

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37 thoughts on “Do “Power Bracelets” Really Work?

  1. I've worn non-stop a Livestrong bracelet (keep a supply… they break) ever since Lance helped me through the big C. I wouldn't think it gives me any super powers but (as I pull it from under the sleeve of my jersey) it reminds me of my mortality and the need to enjoy every minute that comes my way,

    1. Now that's what I call a Power bracelet, Kem! One of my triathlete friends had testicular cancer earlier this year, and I got some of the support bracelets they did to fundraise for him. It really keeps you thinking about and appreciating life and vitality.

  2. Urghh these power band things upset me no end – and yes it's probably because I do have a PhD in quantum physics and I get mightily p*ssed off at utter bollocks pretending to be science to sell crap to people.

    That said – if you want to test something – fine test it. The whole point of science is to theorise and experiment.

    If it makes you feel better – even if you know it's placebo -or if you can think of a genuine reason it might work – if the effect is real for you – great. The placebo effect is much more significant than most people realise and is something worth harnessing if you can. Personally though I won't be bothering with a magic bracelet. I do however have one with the words 'strong woman' embossed on it and that works for me.

    1. I was in same camp as you Lorna (but sans the quantum physics PhD, so possibly way less smart!), until I tried one. It's one of those things where I don't really "care", as long as it works. I can't explains some stuff.

  3. You go Dr. Gall. I'm right there with you. As an engineer, I've had enough quantum mechanics to know crap when I see it. There is no way a magnet or piezoelectric anything with that small of a field would have any effect on the human body. For goss sakes, they can't even prove that hgih-capacity power lines has an effect and those are thousands of times stronger than the nothing brackets.

  4. I wear an ion bracelet made by LIFESTRENGTH and I do not think it holds any special powers, but I swear I sleep better when I wear it. If the placebo effect makes you feel better, go for it… better than the drug effect is what I think!

    1. I wear a LIFESTRENGTH bracelet too. I got it in Canada while on vacation. I was getting headaches from the elevation and within a few hours, my headaches were gone and stayed gone for the rest of my trip. It stays on my wrist 24/7 now!

      Hey Ben, great to meet you at AHS12! I have to send you a picture on you and Nora Gedgaudas at the event. If you're ever in Portland, come by and I'll give you a cold laser treatment. Cheers!

      1. yeah pretty much, think about a ring? I want that around my wrist… but made out of Iron… and its is going to take some heat to out it on.

  5. The first ironman distance race I did was the full Vineman (excellent race by the way) and there are three loops on the run. To help you keep track they hand out brackets when you start the second and third loops. I wear my Vineman bracelet all the time to remind myself that I'm an ironman and I can do just about anything.

    1. The core of Phiten technology apparently something called "Aqua Metals" – metals that are broken down into microscopic particles dispersed in water. Their website directs the user to "The Society Of Aquametal Research", where it is shown that cells derived from rat skeletal muscles show increased attachment, spread, adhesion strength, proliferation, gene expression, and collagen production when grown on a special titanium structure. But to my knowledge, the bracelet isn't actually embedded into your body for your muscles to grow on.

  6. I remember this on a tweet once before. "Studies have shown that energy bracelets not only DON'T work, but you actually perform WORSE with them!" – Ben Greenfield

  7. As far as I can understand. Ben (the G Ben that is) says the power bracelets don't work – except for the placebo effect.
    He has an idea for the bracelet based on the idea about the music vibration effect on the body and he just published "the paper" (to use scientific term) before doing the studies.

    But since the studies are coming (hopefully) let's just wait – no ion, rare magnets or other voodoo stuff going on.

    1. This definitely wasn't my idea, Bostjan. I trialed these discs on necklaces and saw some really interesting heart rate variability data before seeing if I could get one installed in a bracelet that was actually "functional" for exercise.

  8. I have a bioflow sports ristband with a magnet. The magnet is quite strong will pick up cuttlery. That said it does not help the pain in my ankle joint, which is why I originally got it. Ben can you honestly say that your wrist band will work!!! Lee Westwood the golfer endorses the bioflow. Thought my golf would improve as well but it seems that the placebo effect is not working for me. My spin cycle class instructor has ordered one of your bands so I guess we will see how he goes with it.

  9. Lifestrength works! Other ion bracelets work too! They use ion powder! Tourmaline, germanium, rare earth elements (lanthanides), silica, zeolites,
    Etc.
    I can give you a list of more minerals if you like all with references!
    I can also give you a list of personal clients I sold Power Balance or Lifestrength too!
    The testimonials are incredible!
    From head aches, migraines, back problems, diabetics with lower blood levels, arthritis,fibromyalgia, sleep better, more optimistic! Etc!
    -Amy was on 22 pain killers a day within a week she went down to 2, after 2 weeks she was off!
    She has fibormilgia and arthrits btw!!
    -Can you not see value in a product that can offer that? Placebo or not that that’s pretty awesome!
    -and for a scam come back check your facts and realize a scam DOES NOT GIVE YOUR MONEY BACK!! Watch American Greed to see about ponzi schemes and scams!
    -just try it and see for yourself you have at least 30 days! Wear it for 2 weeks then depending on what you notice take it off for a couple days and then put it back on see what you notice! There is No harm in that! :)
    There is so much more I can say about negative Ions and positive ions!
    Either way if you like it cool if you don’t cool but why hate when there is no harm being done??
    This reminds me of a religion debate haha

  10. I just put on an irenew that’s been sitting in a drawer for 2 years. I really don’t think it’s going to do anything and I don’t believe it either. I’ll probably toss it. Good thing I got 2 for 10.00 bucks off eBay.

  11. Ben said above 'they can't even prove that hgih-capacity power lines has an effect and those are thousands of times stronger than the nothing brackets.'
    True, as is nearly impossible to single out reasons for cancer, for example. But that's the problem of isolating the effects in order to do the study.
    We can now measure EM field of the human heart etc., and the influences are evident and strong. Especially when one employs the consciousness, the intent. Which is not measurable ;)
    I don't know anything about power bracelets, and I'm not claiming anything, therefore I'm sceptical about any claims of what makes a certain bracelet ticking. Check HearthMath. Amazing stuff, most beneficial. Proven, scientifically.

  12. Just checked out your website. $97 hey? So basically you’re taking advantage of gullible people with something that has no reputable scientific evidence to back up your claims. That makes you scum in my opinion.

      1. Dan has it right here. All this stuff about “programmed” with frequencies is total bullshit (and everything else you say, except for the placebo effect lol). And you should be ashamed of yourself for exploiting people with too much money and not enough sense.

    1. Well he does say,"So basically, while researchers concluded that the bands worked no better than the placebo, some people still may experience a benefit because of a mentally perceived boost. So even if the technology behind the jewelry does not work, the bracelet itself may create a placebo effect that could positively impact your performance."

      I guess if people are willing to pay $97 they must really believe that they work…….and the placebo effect would kick in. If they paid $20 for them they might have a shred of doubt and wouldn't get the full placebo effect :). LoL

  13. I’ve even wearing a lifestrength band (I have several colours) for over two years. I had been ill with a some virus for a month and also had hives. Couldn’t sleep. I happened to be at a mall and bought a band to see if it helped, being skeptical but thought I’d try anything to feel better. I slept well, started feeling better. I don’t think it was the band so I took it off. Within a day I had forgotten about the band bad I felt terrible. Fatigue, dizziness. I then realized I had taken band off. Put it back on mad next morning felt back to normal. I am afraid to take it off now. If it’s a placebo, so be it. But it keeps me balanced.

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