‘Enhance your natural energy’

2010-11-06 00:00

IS it a scam or is it a miracle? No one can really explain it, but Power Balance wristbands and necklaces are becoming increasingly popular due to their purported medical benefits.

We’ve seen them on the All Blacks rugby team, on football star Cristiano Ronaldo, surfers Bruce and the late Andy Irons and even on most of the BMX participants earlier this year. But what are they?

These space-age accessories originated in Orange County, California, in 2007. Their significance lies in an embedded hologram incorporating Mylar technology that has been treated with energy waves at specific positive frequencies that are claimed to “react positively with your body’s natural energy field”. When the hologram makes contact with your body the energy flow is said to improve.

Although the claim is not scientifically proved, local physiotherapist Lee-Ash Chuntharpursat swears by them: “I’ve been using one to train at gym for the last month and it has improved my core, mood, strength and flexibility.”

Kelly-Anne Vanbly, a patient of his who was recently in hospital, claims that the wristband works for her too.

“I had a back operation in June and landed in hospital again three weeks ago after I fell.

“ I could walk, but I was wobbly and in lots of pain. [Chuntharpursat] recommended the wristband and I felt the results immediately: I had more energy and confidence, was better balanced and there was less pain.”

Many ancient Eastern philosophies have emphasised the importance of being in touch with the body’s natural energy. According to hubpages.com, everyday frequencies from the use of items such as cellphones and microwaves can damage this natural energy. The Power Balance wristbands may have the ability to restore this energy.

Shaun Driemeyer, a supplier of the wristbands in Pietermaritzburg, says he has sold over 100 and not one person has returned it or complained.

“I believe in the product,” he declared.

“I had a blood clot in my leg and was told that [the wristband] could possibly help with circulation. I don’t know if it was all in my mind or if it helped with circulation, but I felt stronger with the band on. I could even push more weights at gym without taking supplements.

“There have been cases in which it has helped people with chronic headaches, arthritis and gout. There was even a man who was overweight; he battled to get out of bed and to stand up. The wristband helped him so much that his father came back to buy more.”

So I tested it.

First I tried the simple coordination test — as seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e6DnNARz60&fea ture=related. Both arms are in line with your shoulders and one leg is raised. My colleague then pushed down on my arm. Without the band I lost my balance almost instantly, but with the band on, I held myself steady for a bit longer.

The second test involved flexibility. Feet apart and with one arm stretched out in front, I extended my other arm behind me as far as I could. Without the band, my arms were about 180 degrees apart. With the band I found that I could stretch even further.

I was gobsmacked until I found a comment on the Internet that claimed the wristband is a scam and incorporates methods of applied kinesiology.

“I picked up the first object near my hand (my reading glasses) and showed my wife how they were just as effective as the [wristband],” it said.

I grabbed a highlighter and attempted the two tests again. Then I used a rolled-up newspaper and a hairband and found that holding these objects achieved the same results as wearing a Power Balance wristband; that is, while holding these objects I could stretch at least 20 degrees more.

However, this does not dispel the wristband’s effectiveness — at least not for the thousands of people around the world who claim that it works. At R350 a pop, only you can decide.


• For more information and comments, log on to www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd0Gb9EgkHA


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