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Power Balance Paying Athletes to Believe Nonsense

Updated on October 16, 2010

Science literacy is deplorable in the United States. A survey conducted by the National Science Foundation found that belief in “pseudoscience” is common and that 70 percent of adults don’t understand the scientific process.

To pillars of the scientific community like Richard Dawkins such figures are a national disgrace. To unethical marketers, it’s an opportunity.

Unfounded quackery is often sold to the masses under the banner of science. Many can’t decipher the difference between good and bad science, so amazingly absurd ideas are perpetuated. The main goal of marketers is to create an explanation that is pleasing and appeals to the imagination. Whether any of it is based on fact is irrelevant. The secondary goal is to create a veil of confusion. Their target is used to not understanding science so to give it the appearance of authenticity meaningless buzzwords are used ad infinitum to produce a smoke screen.

Due to anti-intellectualism there is a degree of distrust for science. To get past that hurdle Power Balance is putting their product on the wrists of admired athletes and celebrities. Some names include basketballer Shaquille O'Neal, surfer Andy Irons and football player Jack Riewoldt. These are paid endorsements and this does not mean any of the stars necessarily believe that the ‘technology’ is for real.

To experience the dirty tricks in action let’s take a look at the explanation used to describe how Power Balance wristbands work. The following passages were blatantly placed an article about Cristiano Ronaldo in the Daily Mail (UK). His athletic performance was allegedly boosted thanks to a new mouthguard and wristband.

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.

‘Power Balance is performance technology that uses holograms embedded with frequencies that react positively with your body’s natural energy field,’ say the makers of the bracelets.

‘Most everything (sic) has a frequency inherent to it. Some frequencies react positively with your body and others negatively.’

‘When the hologram comes in contact with your body’s energy field, it allows your body to interact with the natural, beneficial frequency stored within the hologram. This results in improved energy flow throughout your body.’

Golly, I wonder if the PR team at Power Balance had anything to do with this journalistic masterpiece. It’s insulting to infer that anything but Cristiano Ronaldo’s training and talent can be credited for “24 goals in 26 Madrid appearances since moving from Manchester United.”

With critical analysis the claims made about the bracelet’s holographic power easily fall flat. Everything is based on the notion that human beings have an energy field around them. This is not a scientific concept but an antiquated spiritual one. Whether you call it an Aura, chi or chakra, energy emitting from the body cannot be detected by scientific instruments. True believers may argue that such fields cannot be disproven since they exist on another plane of existence or some similar cop out. However, it is the responsibility of Power Balance or any other company claiming such an energy field exists to prove the claims with testing and research. Until then, it can safely be labeled a scam.

Sales reps are offering tests to prove that the wristbands do in fact work. Don’t be fooled! Read this fascinating kinesthetic test experience at a local fair. The conmen got more than they bargained for when a guy uncovered their scheme.

The Verdict

Don’t waste your money on this product unless it is merely a fashion statement. Power Balance is purposely misrepresenting what the bracelet is really capably of. Underneath all the hype it is merely a vastly overpriced fad trinket worthy of scorn.


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      Maadigo 7 years ago

      I concur; the human need to believe in the supernatural powers is exemplified everyday in our religious beliefs. When have you ever been shown proof that there is a(some) God(s).

      Religious leaders prey on their customers(followers) in the same way these marketers do; with emotion and the peoples deep desire for it to be true.

      With much frustration I have learned that honesty is not the most financially productive path.

      Have fun, if not, it's not worth it.