Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Magical Balance Bands

A few years ago, the concept of "balance bands" became quite popular among not only younger people, but also adults who truly believed in the claims these companies made that wearing these special bracelets would improve their overall balance and strength as they were said to restore the natural frequencies of your body. When they first came out, the prices of these bands were outrageous and have steadily declined, maybe due in part to the science community essentially debunking any claims made by the manufacturers that were reportedly based off of scientific evidence, most of which was nowhere to be found. Although it may have been obvious to most that these were just a bogus money making scheme, riddled with pseudoscience, a study was done to further prove the illegitimacy of the bands. A team of scientists gather a group of 24 individuals who were then each subjected to three different tests, one with one companies version of the power band, another with a placebo band (ie. one that didn't have any of the 'magic' inside that the others claimed to have) and a final trial with no band at all. Using what is called a 'MicroFit' system, the scientists were able to measure the strength and balance of the test subjects during each trial. To no surprise, in the end it was concluded that those bands marketed to have all of these powers actually held no significance at all, and strength nor balance was increased while wearing one of those bands.

An Australian news station did some of their own musing into the subject and actually met with one of the founders of a balance band company. Here, they did similar tests to try and determine if they actually had any significant impact on balance at all. Surely enough, the founder was able to 'demonstrate' how balance was actually improved when wearing the band. This, however, has been proven to be an illusion of sorts in the sense that when testing the balance of individuals before and after wearing the bands, the founder was able to shift his applied force in a way that makes it seem as if their balance increased while wearing the band, when in reality the increased stability was a result of the founder changing the angle of the force. On top of that, they did a few more tests with the founder that again showed the falsehood behind the band itself, but the founder remained fixed in his opinions that these bands actually held some benefit.

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