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"Energy" bracelets powered by placebo effect

7:12 PM, Nov 6, 2011   |    comments
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9Wants to Know spent weeks talking to people who wear them, doctors and the businesses who sell them.

"I wear it because it works," Amber Nah, a jogger at Confluence Park, said. "It just keeps my energy flowing and stabilized."
One viewer wrote on 9News's Facebook page a power bracelet helped ease the symptoms of her husband's inner ear disease.

"It didn't cure him completely, but he is much better off," she wrote.

9Wants to Know found several companies selling the bracelets around Denver, each with their own different ingredients.
Some bracelets were marketed in Denver as being infused with gem stones, titanium mylar, or radio frequencies embedded in holographic stickers.

One seller at the Cherry Creek Mall claimed his bracelets were infused with volcanic ash.

"The sulphur content provides a lot of negative ions," he said.

"I think it's premised on pseudoscience," Dr. Narda Robinson of Colorado State University said.

Robinson has been a medical doctor for more than 20 years. She is also a veterinarian.

"You could put a rubber gasket around your arm and think that was going to heal you," Robinson said.

Some companies claim the bracelets are "infused" with ingredients that repel bad energy emitted by cell phones, TVs and computer monitors.

"A lot of the claims they're making don't hold up to scientific reasoning," 9News Health Reporter Dr. John Torres said.

A spokesperson for Energy Armor, the manufacturer of the volcanic ash-infused bracelets, stood by his company's claims that negative ions protect the body.

"It protects your body from all of the human made technology that's all around us, such as cell phones, Wi-Fi, satellite dishes and so forth," said Rob Russakoff.

Russakoff admitted there are no published scientific studies backing up such bracelets and also admitted some customers may be experiencing the placebo effect.

When asked if his bracelets are based on solid science, Russakoff pointed to thousands of positive testimonials his company receives.

"Whether or not that would be a scientific proof or not for someone, that's up to the individual to determine," Russakoff said.

A professor of psychology from Columbia University who's quoted on Energy Armor's website even said in an email to
9Wants to Know "There is no medical evidence for the kind of product you mention."

9Wants to Know has yet to find a published scientific study suggesting the bracelets have a medical value.

Several days before the broadcast of this report, Russakoff emailed 9Wants to Know saying an independent doctor who is not paid by Energy Armor completed a blind study involving his company's bracelets.

The study hasn't been published yet.

That same doctor's books are displayed and for sale at Energy Armor kiosks.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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