We all know that Harry Potter and his bum chums are not real wizards.
We know that magic is all smoke and mirrors.
You can't wave a stick and expect something to happen.
So why do huge numbers of people believe an inert rubber band can make you fitter, faster, stronger and more balanced?
A rubber band with a hologram sticker. Like the one on your credit card.
An item that has a unit cost of about 3p.
Which has been sold to gullible fools for £30.
Surrounded by vague pseudoscience and ancient parlour trick 'tests' the bracelets, the most famous of which –Power Balance– prompted this post today are in a spot of bother.
It would seem the total lack of any scientific evidence as to the alleged health benefits that have been repeatedly claimed by the manufacturers have opened them up to a swathe of law suits from people who aren't more balanced, suffering less pain, sleeping better or performing at a higher level.
My response to the news this morning was: no shit Sherlock?
If they worked there would be double blind scientific trials clearly showing the benefits. There aren't.
There would be an observable emission in an S.I unit of energy that could be recorded. There isn't.
There is contradictory mumbo-jumbo about electrical waves, frequencies and all sorts of poop that makes anyone with an A-level in Physics chortle. These bands emit frequencies that help you. These bands emit energy with no source of power. Wow. That is magic.
Power Balance are not the first purveyors of magic. They are but one in a long list of charlatans preying on superstitious people.
They maybe going down the pan but there's another new kid on the block that's killing it in the USA, popular with NBA baseball stars, the rope necklaces made by Phiten.
Yet another product with no ACTUAL proof that it's 'micro titanium in water' infused necklaces eases pain and makes you perform better.
The trouble is professional athletes endorse these products. Half the NBA, Andy Irons, Rasta and more endorsed Power Balance. Paula Radcliffe has her own model Phiten necklace.
I am embarrassed to admit the bulk of the UK's surfing pros were sold on the magic bracelets, Reubyn Ash at one point wore two, some couldn't surf without wearing them believing they were that potent.
So if you want to make a lot of money:
- Make a magic trinket.
- Give an athlete with some kind of media profile some cash and some product.
- Build a website with unverifiable testimonials.
- Make up some pseudoscientific gibberish.
- Watch the masses lap up your lies...
- Just try to avoid the $57million lawsuit at the end of it eh?
Now before you jump down my throat saying how your bracelet definitely works: it doesn't.
The placebo effect does.
The power of the mind does.
It is well proven how thinking you will get better helps you get better quicker. Putting your trust in a lucky charm, a totem or ritual before a game is common.
Hell, I always put my swimfins on in the same order before a shoot (much as I hate myself for doing so) as it makes me feel calm before swimming out.
This is the key- a lucky charm makes you feel calm and mentally balanced, hence making you perform better.
There is no magic involved. Just you.