Power Balance, Scalar Energy, Quantum Pendants — SCAM?

James Ryan Jonas

You have probably witnessed a demo of how a seemingly innocent bracelet or pendant have made someone stronger. Perhaps you yourself have participated in that Endurance and Flexibility Body Test.

Astonished by what you saw, you wonder: do these Power Balance wrist bands, EFX bracelets, and Scalar Quantum Energy Pendants really produce that effect?

We found several reasons below to convince us that they DO NOT. Read on.

“Magical” Wristbands, Bracelets and Scalar Pendants

First, what is Power Balance? Power Balance is a popular brand of wrist bands and bracelets supposedly using “holographic technology” designed to “work with your body’s natural energy field.” Manufacturers claim that wearing the wrist band and similar “magnetic bracelets” can produce tremendous increases in the strength, power and flexibility of a person.

Scalar Quantum Energy Pendants claim the same. It is marketed as coming from “natural minerals that are fused and structurally bonded together at a molecular level… producing scalar energy that helps to enhance the body’s biofield [and] helps to restore energy that has become weak in the body.”


Power Balance admits fraud in their claims

But then again, these baseless claims are exactly the reasons why in Australia, Power Balance had to issue a corrective statement after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ordered the company to run this official statement and offer customers a full refund:

In our advertising we stated that Power Balance wristbands improved your strength, balance and flexibility.

We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologise and offer a full refund.

– Official Power Balance statement in their Australia website

In short, Power Balance is saying: We’re not sure that it works! Uh-oh!

A pricey wrist band that sells for $30 in the US (around P1,000 to P2,000 in the Philippines) and pendants marketed at US$80 that have no scientific basis if they work? Whoa.

Australian customers are now being offered an unconditional full refund. I wonder if and when the US will follow suit. Would Philippine Power Balance dealers follow next? We’ll see.

Fake or Not?

Right now, you’re probably thinking: “But they tested the product on me and it did make me strong! While wearing the wrist band and pendant, they can’t make me go off-balance no matter how hard they tried! These products can’t be fake!”

Oh yes, they can. Several researches have already concluded that Power Balance wrist bands, bracelets and similar products do not produce any significant increases in a person’s strength or power.

NBA players and soccer players in the US singing praises for Power Balance are paid endorsers of the company. Their job is to promote the product. But until now, there is no scientific proof showing the wrist bands and bracelets had tremendous effect on the performance of Shaq or quarterback Matthew Stafford.

What then explains why people were “stronger” in the body tests? Three things:

  1. Order effect;
  2. Placebo effect; and
  3. Applied Kinesiology

Order Effect

A University of Wisconsin research explains that the “Order Effect” may in part be the reason why some people become stronger or more flexible. The Order Effect claims that on the second or latter attempts, people get more familiar with an activity. People therefore can prepare better and can learn how to surpass the previous feat. Note that Power Balance tests almost always start without the wrist band or pendant. The “special” product is given to you only on the second try, but since you already know what you’re supposed to do, you tend to outdo your previous performance.

Another example: you’ve probably done the exercise where you bend your body forward and you try to touch the floor with your fingers without your knees bending. At first you won’t be able to reach the floor, but after trying it for the second or third time, you’ll be closer and even be able to touch the floor. That’s the Order Effect.

Placebo Effect

The second reason why the body tests seem to be successful may be due to the Placebo Effect, defined by Wikipedia as “the tendency of any medication or treatment to exhibit results simply because the recipient believes that it will work.” That’s regardless whether the medicine or treatment has already been proven scientifically to be effective. Power Balance wrist bands and Scalar Quantum Energy Pendants can produce the same thing. As long as people believe they are real, the placebo can take effect.

The same theme is highlighted in the popular Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret. Other people call the concept, Power of Positive Thinking. In the Philippines, we remember it because of an energy capsule’s catchy TV ad slogan: What your mind can conceive, your body can achieve. You don’t need an expensive wrist band to achieve the placebo effect. Anything will do — as long as you believe…

Applied Kinesiology

The most plausible explanation why the Power Balance body tests appear “amazingly” successful is simply the use of Applied Kinesiology, or the use of manual muscle-strength testing for medical diagnosis.

Here’s how the “Power Balance magic” is done:

In the Endurance body test, a person is asked to stand with one leg up and arms fully stretched sidewards. In the first test (without the Power Balance wrist band), the pressure applied to the arm is directed outside the person’s center of gravity, as if the person is being pulled away. Naturally, the person falls off balance.

On the second attempt of the same test — now with the person holding the “special” wrist band or pendant — the arm is being pressed down towards the body, meaning, the direction of the pressure is towards the person’s center of gravity. Now, even without any special gadget or anything, the person won’t fall even though more pressure is applied.

It’s funny how science can easily explain why Power Balance wrist bands, EFX bracelets, and Scalar Pendants do not work. And yet these brands continue to sell their expensive products despite an admission that science does not come into play in any of their claims.

For a more detailed “unmasking” of the secrets of the Power Balance products, watch these YouTube videos.




James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.