Who wouldn’t want to put on power bracelets, Wonder Woman-style, and feel a surge of superhuman prowess? The longing to harness that feeling may be the reason balance bracelets are popular.
Let’s look at what power bracelets are really harnessing.
Several types of power bracelets and wristbands are available. The most well known are Power Balance bracelets, made by the Power Balance company. These wristbands come in several fabrics.
The most popular (or notorious, depending on your point of view) is a silicone version that features two hologram logos. A more recent version, also made from silicone, has the logos and is infused with negative ions.
Power Balance bracelets are one-size-fits-all, so the bracelet may or may not fit snugly on your wrist. You can wear it on either wrist.
Power Balance states on its website that its product is a performance technology wristband powered by hologram energy and is worn by consumers and athletes. The company says hologram energy is based on Eastern philosophies, including meditation and acupuncture.
One of the hologram logos may rest on acupressure point P6 (Nei Guan), located on your inner arm, slightly above your wrist. Acupressure on this area may alleviate nausea and motion sickness in some people. But the Power Bracelet isn’t designed to put pressure on the wrist.
What tests say
This is also true of the bracelets that have negative ions. Negative ions occur naturally in nature. They can be found free-floating in the air near large bodies of water, such as oceans and waterfalls. They also occur after rainfall.
When inhaled, negative ions enter your bloodstream and prompt your body to produce serotonin. This creates feelings of relaxation or exhilaration in some people. However, research has shown that the negative ions in Power Balance bracelets have no positive effect.
What the placebo effect does
Despite the lack of evidence, some wearers report a difference in their athletic abilities or their power and balance when they wear the wristbands. This is thought to be due to the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is a real phenomenon, explored extensively in medical research. It refers to a positive result that happens even when a treatment has no proven effect or result.
People given placebos think they’re going to improve in some way, and they do — even though nothing has been provided to them that can cause an improvement. The placebo effect may even happen when someone knows they’ve been given a placebo.
Power Balance bracelets don’t produce negative effects, except maybe to your wallet. Some people find that wearing one helps them focus intent, which might have a trickle-down effect on their actions or performance.
- More awareness, more confidence. Some people like the way the bracelets look and feel a boost of confidence while wearing them.
- Placebo effect. Others benefit from the placebo effect and genuinely find that they have more power or strength during workouts.
- More reminders, more energy. Some users report feeling a burst of energy simply by looking down at their bracelet or by remembering that they’re wearing one.
This is all about the power of the mind, not the power of the bracelet. That power is in you to harness and use, whether you’re wearing a power bracelet or not.
Research has shown that Power Balance bracelets have no inherent qualities that improve athletic performance. However, some users find they feel stronger or have more balance while wearing the bracelets, probably due to the placebo effect.
Power Balance bracelets are not harmful. If you like the way they look and think you might benefit from wearing one, they’re available to buy. Just be aware that any increase in your athletic ability is due to you, not to the bracelet.