Recently we published a lengthy article detailing my experience with these new "Balance Wristbands". This blog is a follow-up to that article with some feedback from the Australian Head Office of Power Balance.
First, a bit of a run-down on the previous article. Although the article was not solely focused on Power Balance (there were references to other brands such as Bionic Balance and Phiten), a fair portion of the article was focused on Power Balance. This is because this particular brand is probably the most prominent brand in the industry. Their product is characterised by the holographic sticker on the silicone wristband.
Within the article, I explained the "demonstrations" that I underwent, scritinised the validity of these experiments and then proceeded to investigate the evidence behind these products.
Based on my observations, experiences, research and discussions, I concluded that:
- There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that these product assist with strength, balance or flexibility (as previously suggested by Power Balance before their advertising was forced to be retracted by the ACCC)
- These products are bogus
- Their demonstrations are misleading and not a valid way to measure the effectiveness of these products
The only benefit I concluded with this particular brand is that by paying $60 (or so), you are effectively paying for the placebo effect, which can be powerful and greatly beneficial to you.
I would suggest reading the full article, entitled "Do Balance Wristbands Work?"
The Power Balance Interview
Now we move on to part two of the story. As mentioned within the article, I contacted Dr Rob Milne asking him a series of questions about the Power Balance product. He instructed me that "All press related information has to come from head office". He was kind enough to forward me the contact details of Tom O'Dowd, who answered all my questions.
Here is the full interview. I have not edited my questions or Tom's responses. I have however made some comments (in italics) as food for thought and these comments did not constitute any part of the interview:
Jay: What is the Power Balance product supposed to do?
Tom: This will be different for each person, because everyone has a different life experience, whilst we strongly believe that there are a number of common factors, we do not any longer state what we think the benefits are, we allow the user to form there own judgment. If they are not happy there has always been a money back policy.
Comments: Interesting, a very vague description of the benefits of the product. More interestingly, the name of the product "Power Balance" tends to suggest that this product assists with power and balance (well, at least that's my interpretation). Previously Power Balance touted that the benefits of this product were to aid in balance, flexibility and power, before being pulled up on it by the ACCC. Now, this product "will be different for each person".
Jay: How does this technology work?
Tom: This is a proprietary process and we do not divulge that information.
Comments: At the convention, Dr Rob was more than happy to discuss the special frequency of the Mylar technology embedded within the Power Balance bracelet. Dr Rob further suggested that this special frequency helps in improving balance. I find it interesting that this information cannot be released "officially".
Jay: Rob mentioned that there is currently no peer-reviewed literature on the product. If there is, please provide details. If not, why do you support this product?
Tom: I strongly believe in this product and so do Power Balance users all over the globe, I have seen more than enough and experienced more than enough for me to support this product. We do not have any peer reviewed literature, I would have thought that this would have been more than obvious from the corrective notice on our web site. We never claimed at any stage to have scientific double blind or peer reviewed support.
With respect, it appears to me that you are going at the angle that there is no scientific peer-reviewed evidence, however just to be 100% clear, this has been extensively documented in the press and by the regulatory authorities..And it has also been reported that we have admitted that our product is a scam or that it doesn't work, this is however totally incorrect, we have never stated that our product doesn't work, and we do stand behind our product and our beliefs.
Comments: Clearly there is no peer reviewed literature. At best, people "strongly believe in this product". I find it interesting how defensive this response seems to be. I simply asked why this product was supported if there was no peer-reviewed literature on the product. From what I can see, it seems the answer is because Tom and others "believe in this product". I'm sure many of us would want to "believe in this product" if it was going to make us some considerable financial gains!
In all fairness, yes, I am sure that many people do believe in this product. And that is why there was a strong reference to the benefits of the placebo effect in my prior article, Do Balance Wristbands Work?
Further, I do not disagree with what Tom has said where he mentioned "we have never stated that our product doesn't work". True, the official statement reads "We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct..." Semantics? I'll leave that for you to decide.
Jay: Have you ever considered performing a double-blind test of your own?
Tom: This is not within our charter, we are a distributor of the product, testing is a responsibility of Power Balance LLC in the United States
Comments: I can only speak personally, but if I were going to invest a considerable amount of money into a product, I would want to know whether or not it works in an objective manner!
Jay: Has your company ever considered funding an independent double-blind test of this product?
Tom: Yes we had considered this, however it is not within our charter
Comments: After receiving all the bad press on this particular product, one would think that some research ought to be carried out in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the product. Again, I am only speaking personally, but if I launched a product that I strongly believed in also, I would be that convinced of its effectiveness that performing an inexpensive double-blind study would be right up the top of my priorities. Imagine all the positive publicity you would obtain once you proved all that bad press wrong? Further, imagine the discussion that such research would ignite and hence potentially boost sales through the roof?
I appreciate Tom being a good sport and providing us with some insight into the Power Balance Wristband product. Unfortunately, his answers were too vague to change my opinion on this particular product.