Since the beginning of competition, athletes have always looked for ways to find a competitive edge. Even in ancient times, competitors have trained and even cheated to win. The desire to win is in our DNA.
As time and technology have advanced, so have our methods of training. Each year, billions are spent on the strength and conditioning, nutrition, supplement, and rehab industries in the name of athletics. The industries are huge. There are also less related athletic-enhancing methodologies that can be somewhat of a gimmick. Just like athletes compete to win, businesses are always competing for ways to make money. And there are few industries that are desperate to pay for enhanced performance more than athletes are.
With that, it’s worth investigating if athletes are spending their money wisely. Do certain supplements work? Do recovery methods and pieces of equipment work? Today we’re going to look at balance bracelets. These companies claim it can instantly improve your balance and posture by wearing a bracelet. Improved balance and posture will theoretically enhance athletic performance as well. Sounds pretty good to me.
These bracelets took the world by storm in the late 2000s. They were used for their benefits and were a bit of a fashion trend. I used to wear them, as well as all my teammates did. Did I notice any difference? No. Did I look cool wearing it? Better believe it!
As with all things fashion, the trend left. But athletes still held onto them, as many felt it improved their performance. The bracelets aren’t nearly as popular as they were, but they still have a market with athletes.
How Do They Work?
The bulk of the bracelet anatomy is a basic rubber or silicone band. The primary catalyst is the two magnets within the bracelet—one magnet on top of the wrist, the other on the bottom. Simply wearing the magnets supposedly help you channel focused energy to yourself, allowing you to stay in better balance. This will improve your posture, all of it leading to better athletic performance.
Unfortunately, science seems to disagree. There’s been quite a bit of research on these in recent years. A cheap bracelet that could provide better balance to athletes? And the same bracelet could reduce falls among the elderly? That’s a billion-dollar idea. So, of course, research was done on it. The bracelets could be a medical and athletic performance breakthrough.
Sadly, none of the research has demonstrated boosted athletic performance. In fact, it’s been shown not to boost anything at all. Balance bracelets do not work.
And, of course, they are too good to be true. A simple bracelet can instantly give you superpowers? The body is much more complex than that. It takes a lot more than a bracelet to alter the body’s central nervous system.
The Case for Balance Bracelets
It is said that the greatest drug ever invented was the placebo effect. Placebo effects have effectively used psychological tricks using sham interventions to achieve seemingly supernatural results. Do balance bracelets work? No. Can they trick someone into performing better? Yes!
Many people have little superstitions, rituals, and lucky charms to help them achieve tasks. For the most part, they know their magic trick has nothing to do with giving them luck. It’s more of a sense of comfort. Whether it’s a bracelet, necklace, a strange pre-game meal, ritual, lucky underwear, wearing two left-footed socks, a crazy war chant before a game, a walk-up song, or whatever helps you feel better, it can deliver the same supernatural powers that a sham balance bracelet can provide. If wearing a bracelet helps you feel more confident, go for it. There are no ill side effects and certainly won’t hurt any aspect of athletic performance or day-to-day life. Don’t buy into the hype, but wear them if you like!