Magic Bracelets!

While at home over the weekend, the following commercial came on:

Of course, the whole thing just screamed "SCAM" to me, and I scoffed at it. But then my mom says that she actually has something similar, and it seems to work for her (she has the EFX brand bracelet). One of her hospital coworkers had mentioned it, and my mom decided to try it.

I laughed, because it seemed ridiculous, but asked her about it. She said it feels just like wearing a bracelet (like a Livestrong band or something), but said that she has been sleeping better since using it. And not sleeping better as in some vague definition of it either - sleeping better, as in not waking up at 3am every morning like she has for the past few years.

That got me slightly intrigued, so my sister and I decided to recreate one of the demo tests, and do one of our own, to see what the deal was. Here's what we found:

First, we did a balance test. My sister (a cheerleader) stood on one foot, arms outstretched, and my mom pushed down on her arms. This caused her to lose balance on the side of the body with the foot up, as you would expect. Then my sister put on the bracelet, and repeated it - this time, she remained stable on her foot. Still skeptical, it was my turn.

So I started without the bracelet, and when my mom went to push on my arms, I fought to keep my balance, pushing up harder with my weak side, bending my knee slightly, etc. While I didn't lose balance the way my sister did, I was still pushed more to my weak side, despite my struggles. Then I put on the bracelet, and repeated it. To my surprise, I didn't need to struggle to keep balance, and I remained more stable than the first time. This shocked me.

(Side note: When I put it on, I didn't feel anything in particular. There's no humming or buzzing of the band, and there's no instantaneous change of feeling in the body. Which is why seeing a visible change in performance did actually shock me!)

We then tried it with a stretching drill. Standing up, feet together, we stretched down to see how far we could reach. My sister could touch her fingers to the ground, and I reached mid-shin. WITH the bracelet, however, my sister was touching her palms to the ground, and I could touch my ankles. That's good for about a 3-4 inch gain for us both. Just for the sake of completeness, I did it one more time after taking the bracelet off - back to touching mid-shin.

After reading a bit on the internet, I've found some people saying things like this really do work for them, and others saying it did nothing. Perhaps it is all placebo effect, but my sister and I were both skeptical before trying it, not thinking it would really do anything, so I'm not entirely convinced it's the placebo effect.

I'm also not entirely convinced that getting one would have any profound impact on me, but in testing it out, it did enough to at least get me curious. They're only $20-30 (depending on brand and where you buy it), which is cheap enough for me to justify getting one to test a bit more thoroughly.

Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

If I want to sleep better, I just have booze, benadryl, or an orgasm.


Jeremy said...

The sleeping better thing is interesting (as is the supposed lack of stress), but what I'm really curious about is how (or if) the noticed gains in stretching/balance tests would apply to say, running.

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