24 January 2011
Balance unaffected by Power Balance wristbands: study
Holographic Power Balance wristbands have no effect on balance and stability, according to RMIT University researchers who conducted the first rigorous, scientific study on the efficacy of the popular sporting aid.
The team of researchers from the Discipline of Chiropractic in RMIT's School of Health Sciences tested one of the key claims behind the Power Balance bands - that wearing them improves balance.
Their findings will be published in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, the first paper on holographic technology wristbands to be published in an internationally peer-reviewed journal.
Chief investigator, Dr Simon Brice, said the study found there was no statistically significant change in balance performance brought about by the silicon wristbands, which are embedded with two hologram discs.
"We saw no difference in people's balance whether they were using the wristband, wearing a placebo or wearing no wristband at all," Dr Brice said.
"While our focus was on balance and stability, holographic technology wristbands are also promoted as enhancing strength, flexibility and endurance.
"Further research involving randomised controlled and clinical trials is needed to evaluate these additional purported benefits.
"But given this study strongly refuted the primary balance benefit of holographic wristbands, the validity of other purported benefits seems highly unlikely."
The randomised, double-blind controlled trial tested 42 volunteers on a computerised dynamic posturography device that measures balance and stability.
The test was performed three times: once with no wristband, once with a placebo wristband (where the holograms were replaced with two stainless steel discs of the same dimensions and weight) and once with a Power Balance wristband.
Co-author Dr Brett Jarosz said the study - supervised by Senior Lecturer Dr Rick Ames and aided by RMIT statisticians James Baglin and Dr Cliff Da Costa - suggested that any perceived improvements in balance or athletic performance while wearing the wristbands could be attributed to people's subjective expectations of the devices.
"They think it will work, therefore they feel like it's working," Dr Jarosz said.
For media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.