Looks like my previous post on the fake power balance bracelet scam is getting some google hits as worried consumers wonder whether they’ve been ripped off. So in this post I’ll tell you definitively how to know if you’ve been ripped off and in possession of a worthless bit of plastic with a hologram.

One of the google queries that found my site was “How to spot a fake power balance“. I mean it’s an important issue right? These things are bloody expensive at $59.95 a pop and who knows what sort of impact a misaligned energy holographic sticker thingy might have on those pesky meridian lines or “natural energy”!

So when do I know I’m being scammed by a power balance bracelet?
Let’s for the sake of this define “getting scammed” or “ripped off” as “paying good money for something that doesn’t have any special ability and is just a piece of plastic with a sticker on it”.

So for the people considering buying one and worried about getting scammed: relax. I have a very easy guide as to when you’ve been ripped off.

1. If you buy it direct from power balance: you’re getting ripped off.

2. If you buy one from an authorised dealer or distributor: you’re getting scammed.

3. If you buy a fake one you will also be getting scammed, albeit slightly less. The difference is entirely down to a single metric to determine how much you’re getting scammed. If you pay $59.95 then you’ve been scammed 59.95 units on the power balance scam-o-meter (also known as Australian dollars or AUD). If you have some shifty looking guy (well.. a shifty looking guy who isn’t officially affiliated with the power balance company) sell you one for $29.95 you’ve been scammed out of twenty-nine bucks and ninety-five cents BUT that means when you stand next to the person who bought a “real” one: you’re actually $30 less scammed than that guy. So in essence you’ve got the same placebo for half the price.

Half price placebo is better than full price placebo.

Half price placebo is better than full price placebo.

So out of the possible options presented so far: your least scammy way of purchasing one is from the seedy non-genuine powerband guy offering you cheaper ones. The authentic power balance bracelet at full price is the biggest scam.

Avoiding power band scam!

Power balance bands: You can spot a fake one easily. They're all fake.

Power balance bands: You can spot a fake one easily. They\’re all fake.

The only way you don’t get scammed is if you got it free (perhaps discarded by someone reading my earlier blog or other people exposing the hoax of power balance bracelets). I suppose you could steal one, but really: it’s illegal and there’s one thing stupider than buying one in the first place and that’s going to jail for one. But it would actually cost the original scammers (or their minion local scammers) some money, perhaps less than a dollar a unit. Go into a bargain/discount store full of kiddy’s toys and plastic crap and find the cheapest plastic wrist band and that’s probably what you’ve cost them. So not worth going to jail for. Perhaps the “fake” product will drive them out of business and they’ll have to get real jobs.

So, instead of the placebo peddlers of powerbalance products: trust honest Nathan’s snake oil detection services to steer you clear of scams: if you buy a power balance band, real or fake: you’re getting SCAMMED sweetheart.. Instead (or if by some miracle I’ve stopped you wasting $60), might I suggest a donation to one of these fine, secular, charity organisations:

Sorry if that last bit was a bit preachy, but fuck me: $60 for a bullshit plastic bracelet? I mean take a look at what that means to the above charities and what they can do with it versus your typical evil scumbag placebo scam artist rolling around in piles of $100 bills having cocaine snorting contests with $10,000 a night hookers.

At $60 a pop, I'd say they could just about afford it.

At $60 a pop, I\’d say they could just about afford it.

Now I don’t know what the peddlers of power balance do with their cash, but it’s ill gotten gains in my book: even if it is down to people’s stupidity.

Update: this also applies to iRenew bracelets. Check out how similar the claims are (and the dodgy tests). Thanks to Frank Montez for pointing them out.

From their website:

The iRenew Bracelet does this by helping to balance your body’s subtle BioField.

and a bunch of claims about strength etc. Also even more placebo-ey than powerbalance:

Keep in mind the positive biological effects a balanced biofeld has for your plants and animals as well! The most efficient way to benefit your plants and animals with the technology is to use an iRenew Energy Balance System product to charge their water prior to dissemination. You can also place an Energy Balance System hologram on your pet’s water and food bowls or on the pots in which your plants reside.

Wow! Really? I guess next time I disseminate my plants, I’d better dose up the water on good quality plastic placebo.
Although I can say that the iRenew is slightly less of a scam than the power balance. Going back to my metric on the “fake” bracelets being cheaper and thus less of a scam. These are apparently USD$19.95, so a lot better *cough*value*cough* than power balance.
I’d still like to see them outperform a rubber band or bit of string though for placebo value goodness.

UPDATE: See newer post about Power balance admitting they were deceptive. No longer able to make any of the claims in Australia. So before you start going on at me: power balance themselves say these things do nothing.

148 Responses to “How to spot a fake power balance bracelet”

  1. on 16 Apr 2011 at 05:58Brianne

    Great article! I read every single comment, and had a good laugh about people defending the “technology” after PB admitted to making false claims. Keep being awesome and skeptical!

  2. on 19 Apr 2011 at 09:05angela

    the band if fake, bought a real one from the site and paid the full price. I got it home and cut it up. Its just a sticker inside. I cut the band as well and yet anagin…no magic magnetic power baloney lol just runner and a sticker. If you dont believe me, just cut your up and look for yourself. you will be surprised

  3. on 26 Apr 2011 at 11:21Katerina Koutsoyannis

    Hey there i just went to the mall and my aunt bought one i went to school with one and a boy told me it was fak so how can you tell its a sticker? my aunt say they work im not shure.Is it a waste of money plz help me thanks

  4. on 07 Jun 2011 at 10:28Josh

    If anyone still doesn’t believe Nathan…. I’m sorry. I really am. Please watch this youtube video of the stupid test that they trick you with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atujz5lWLQ4. “Well maybe the demo is fake but the band still has negative ion energy that helps our wellbeing” you say. Why use a scam to sell something if the product itself actually works? It just destroys any credibility that the product may have had. Please watch the video and see how you are being scammed.

  5. on 23 Jun 2011 at 04:23Joe navarro

    This is why I hate the web. So much negativity out their. I am a believer in power technologies. I have bad shoulders and they were getting worse. I bought a bracelet and they SLOWLY started to get better. Not only that, but when I dislocated them last time they were able to put my left one in easily. It usually takes surgery to put it back in socket. Is this because of the bracelet? I’m not sure, but I’m buying one every 6 month even though they say it’s good for life.

  6. on 23 Jun 2011 at 04:26Joe navarro

    second. I will agree that the tests are a lame sales pitch. But I will always be a believer because I’ve felt better since I’ve put it on….

  7. on 23 Jun 2011 at 18:58Iman

    Wow, i totally agree with u on this point nathan, but sometimes i get this feeling, that u`re being paid by doctors or whatsoever-i-hate-pb incorporated.. How much time have u spent writing, and answering all these ppl?
    There are some simple relations between big countries, and hugely money-making products just like this. i explain:
    10% of world`s money in 90% of world`s population bank accounts. so 10, owns 90, and, just as an example, who do u think gets on d top of top 10 in us? Correct(i hope so), the one who had a simple idea, that u can count on ur house as a source of money to invest. result? a sharp rise in homeless ppl numbers + a multi gizillionare.
    If u wanna fight this PB or 1000 thing like this happening right now, then u have to fight with that 10%. and unfortunately, i don like sayin this but there`s a fact, that this 90/10 system is caused by CAPITALISM. if u wanna fight that, then i`m by ur side, feel free to mail me if u wanted help.
    + i dont have any idea what system should be used instead of capitalism, but i know one thing, that THIS system, sux.

  8. on 18 Jul 2011 at 13:02jbiggy

    if anyone would like to look up the effects of negative ions that is what is in these products. Scientists have been researching this for years, nasa as well. this is something that is created everyday and if u think that u are able to figure out all the things that exist in nature than u need to take a break from posting ignorant uninformed blogs do some research on every side of the equation b4 u answer the question

  9. on 18 Jul 2011 at 14:46Nathan

    Can you point to where on the powerbalance website they say that’s what their magic holograms have in them? I think you’re getting your quack products mixed up. “Negative Ions” are talked about by all sorts of morons who don’t understand any chemistry whatsoever (and yes: I’m suggesting you’re one of those people).

    From their website:
    “How Does the Hologram Work?
    The thin polyester film hologram is programmed through a proprietary process, which is designed to mimic Eastern philosophies that have been around for hundreds of years”

    So not “negative ions” but a holographic mimic of “eastern philosophies”. So even more bullshit sounding than “negative ions”. Maybe there’s a Buddha in the hologram or something?

    Perhaps you can tell me what type of negative ions they have. e.g. do you even know what an “ion” is and why is a negative ion magically going to increase strength and balance?

  10. on 19 Jul 2011 at 00:07Giannis

    Nathan, I rarely post any comments in blogs/articles but this time I wanted to write that I admired your patience answering to all these superficial and ignorant people.

    I always thought Albert Einstein’s quote was a pun (“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I ‘m not sure about the the universe.”)

    After reading several comments here I am shocked -not to say appalled- by the sheer stupidity and herd mentality most of the times leading to flaming hatred and fanaticism. This makes you lose all hope for all of humanity.

    I wish you the best fighting ignorance and be wary of the weirdos trolling in here. As most plain stupid people, they can be also dangerous.

  11. on 15 Aug 2011 at 09:45J Lo

    Power-Band is now Harmony Balance-Bands, their website still shows the Power-Band pictures, they are now selling these on Groupon for $15. I was thinking that at $15 it was worth a try. 10 min of research and I won’t be spending 10 cents on one! If I want a colorful piece of rubber for around my wrist it will say “Live Strong” not “Power-Band”

    This is copied directly from their FAQ page!
    Q: Is an Harmony Balance band similar to a Power Balance band?
    A: No. Absolutely not. The main principle of an Harmony Balance Band is the power of Negative Ions. A Power Balance Band contains no Negative Ions.
    Q: Why is there a mylar hologram on the Harmony Balance wristband?
    A: This is purely for aesthetics and authentication purposes and shows the Harmony Balance logo.

    Nonsense, Is it the hologram or is it the Negative Ions?
    Neither, it’s marketing and the lemming effect!

  12. on 21 Aug 2011 at 13:48Taco Sanchez

    Nathan, you seem to be one of those no-it-all, self righteous, pencil neck, smart asses! If someone chooses to purchase one of these bracelets, what on earth does it have to do with you? Go donate all the money you are saving, to one of the charities you mentioned. Placebo or not, if it works for some, wonderful. You seem to think those who are foolish enough to purchase these bracelets, are of lesser inteligence than you. I’ll run circles around you, with my bracelet on, and we’ll see who is KING SHIT! You need a serious short-arm close-line. You are an irritating weasle!

  13. on 25 Aug 2011 at 18:05Jenc

    No harm to you Nathan, but if you spent as much time debating for the cause of the charities aforementioned then maybe I’d have more respect for you.
    It’s a stupid silicon band…who cares?
    Why are u wasting ur breath?
    I cannot believe you think half these people have even read your blog post in it’s entirety…it bored the hell out of me. Plus, buying a band (whether it works or not) will not prevent people donating to charity. People will spend money on useless things all the time, you included. Please drop the holier than thou attitude and think about the real issues you’d like to fight for the next time u buy something you really don’t need.

  14. on 28 Aug 2011 at 21:55Qugo

    I’m sorry, but you haven’t really presented any scientific or factual proof as to Why these braceletes are fake and do not work. This article is pretty much just a blind promoter of boycotting a product without supported reason.

  15. on 02 Sep 2011 at 02:24JC

    LOL…quite a stir you have caused! Loved the post!
    The only truth here this is that different states of mind delivers different results and the problem is that people don’t know how to get there effectively.
    What the Power Balance bracelet does is that it brings people to that balanced, flexible, awake, stronger, relaxed, or whatever) state of mind. It’s called anchoring. Basically what anchoring is that it’s a memory recall technique used to change your state of mind by associating it with a stimulus (in this case the bracelet).
    Essentially what the reps and infomercials are doing is programming your brain to bring you to a different state of mind (of balance, power, flexibility, etc.) and associating those feelings with the bracelet. So that whenever it’s worn, it triggers your brain to that state of mind
    This technique is called anchoring it does work 100% if you do it properly. And the more stronger the state of mind the more effective it’ll work.
    Learn more about anchoring and you’ll get the idea behind this. And if you learn and practice the anchoring with the bracelet I guarantee that it’ll will work 100% of the time. But if you can’t afford $60 for the bracelet then use your index finger and thumb or clench you hand into a fist or use a rock. That’ll work too!
    Hopefully your commenter’s will realize too that it’s not the bracelet. It’s anchoring!

  16. on 04 Sep 2011 at 03:08Chris

    I bought one at an expo center for 8 dollars. That was before I read this. I also can’t tell whether it’s fake or real, I can’t tell cause I’m a fucking retard.I don’t have a clue mainly because I’m thirteen!

  17. on 15 Sep 2011 at 08:19kathy

    I bought mine from the dollar store and it was only 10 dollars and it works!!!!

  18. on 16 Sep 2011 at 03:38Aubrey Lavigilante

    I would say that the powerbalance is just a simple bracelet.. The user thinks that its working when, but infact, its not!! Its just the positive thinking of the user that is working! Anyway, I do have one too! Lol.. Its to late nw! If I saw this post before, huh, never I would have bought it lol..

  19. on 06 Nov 2011 at 15:37Sule

    want to gain 500% more strength??????

    go to the gym and work out 3 hours more

    want to be able not to fall over everything?

    eat more fruits and vegetables

    what an irenew or power balance bracelet so you can be fooled like everyone?

    go for it you fool

  20. on 09 Nov 2011 at 13:26Yeah... Just saying

    Okay, i believe you that it doesn’t work, honestly, its a matter of opinion on this. I was once tricked by this, but if it was real, and it made you stronger, more energetic, faster etc. THen why don’t doctors use this to improve lives of others that need this, really if it was real then why haven’t they done this.
    I have one myself actulally and i use it to tease my little brother, he of courrse beleives ti works until one aday i showed him that the company itself said that they were scams, that there was no scientific enidence hwatsoever to do this.
    Now if anyone here reads the blog and writes negative things on it then why did you read it in the first place if its not true.
    Hello, its called reverse psychology. You say Nathan shouldn’t write about it because he’s showing negative things about it and being a hater. Well you’re saying negative things abou his blog and writing bad things about it, he thinks it doesn’t work, you think it does.
    He’s never bought one, you once have.
    He puts down the braceletes and tries to help you to win a few bucks, you tel us to buy one and maybe lose a few bucks.
    But get this, the company admitted to theif scams, look it up why don’t you if you don’t beleive me, and then tel me.
    -Thanks for the update Nathan, even if it was written a while ago.

  21. on 09 Nov 2011 at 13:32Yeah... Just saying

    The Australian manufacturer of Power Balance, the wildly popular rubbery bracelets embedded with holograms claimed to somehow adjust the body’s energy or vibrations, has admitted that there is no proof their product works.

    A representative of Power Balance Australia issued a statement that read in part, “We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims. Therefore we engaged in misleading conduct.”

    Power Balance bracelets achieved global popularity, in part because they were embraced by a parade of celebrities. Dozens of professional athletes, movie stars and musicians use them and have been photographed wearing the bands.

    So what were A-listers like Robert DeNiro, Shaq, Kate Middleton, and P. Diddy getting out of them?

    Australian researcher Richard Saunders told Discovery News, “The claims are that these bands will improve your strength, your balance, and your flexibility. They also suggest it will improve your well-being, give you clarity of thought, improve your stamina and sports performance, that sort of thing.”

    Saunders, co-host of the Skeptic Zone podcast, was asked by an Australian television show to test the bands on a representative from Power Balance. “I tested the head of the Australian branch, and he failed five times out of five tests. So it was pretty conclusive. These were blind and double-blind tests where he had to tell which one out of six volunteers had the band on. He was pretty shocked when they failed to work.”

    Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel stated that “Suppliers of these types of products must ensure that they are not claiming supposed benefits when there is no supportive scientific evidence. Consumers should be wary of other similar products on the market that make unsubstantiated claims, when they may be no more beneficial than a rubber band.”

    How, exactly, were the bands said to work in the first place? Josh Rodarmel, co-creator of the bracelets, tried to explain the “science” behind his product by claiming that everything in nature has a “frequency,” and that the Power Balance bands restore a “natural healing frequency.”

    Claims like this, though common in New Age and “alternative” health circles, are laughable to scientists and skeptics like Harriet Hall, a retired medical doctor and former Air Force surgeon.

    Hall, who runs a Web site called SkepDoc, devoted to examining dubious medical claims, told Discovery News that Power Balance claims about body vibrations and resonance are pure nonsense. “This whole resonance and vibration business is pseudoscience emanating from the myth of the human energy field—not the kind of energy physicists measure, but some vague and unproven life energy like the acupuncturists’ qi (or “chi”). Statements like ‘We are a frequency’ and ‘We are a bunch of cells held together by a frequency’ are completely at odds with scientific knowledge. I e-mailed the company and asked simple questions like, ‘How do you measure the frequency of a rock?’ They didn’t answer.”

    So if you ask, “What’s the frequency, Josh?”, he’s got no answer.

    While the Australian manufacturer of Power Balance bands has been forced to admit its products have no scientific support, other Power Balance distributors around the world continue to insist the product is effective (though it’s not clear why scientific evidence for the band’s efficacy would only apply outside of Australia).

  22. on 19 Mar 2012 at 15:23Kris

    Spent the majority of my day reading this whole discussion, a bit here and a bit there. I was inspired to do some research on this topic after working multiple shows near a booth by the company of Pure Energy. I’m in Massachusetts, US btw. This is either the same company as Pure Balance or the competitors in Australia, or extremely similar. I was baffled to read about everyones experience with this product, especially considering all this happened years ago. It is still happening now.

    The sales folk for this company give the exact same speels, do the same tests, and sell the same product. The first time I saw it I was a bit intrigued as I had seen the ads online and on tv but I am a naturally skeptical person. I went through the demo and I was impressed but definitely not sold. I went home and did some research. I talked to my friend who used to be a carny and he told me all about the scam this is and what exactly they do in the physical demonstration… I was quite pissed, but I let it go. Week after week I’ve done these expos (I work for a home company) and I’ve seen these dirtbags steal money off of decent honest people. Good hard working families are tricked by these displays of supposed genius and continue on to dish out big bucks for a piece of shit. After today’s expo I’d had enough so I did some research online and eventually landed on this blog.

    First of all, Nathan Lee, thank you for writing this and sticking so firmly to the truth even through all the bullish arguments people give. If you stop even one person from buying this crap then you’ve done well.

    Secondly, people who think the bands actually work? Come on, that’s not even an option. If they did work they would not be endorsed by professional athletes; they would be banned from all professional sports, like every other performance enhancing substance. Also, they would be used by every branch of every military in the world, which they are not.

    For the rest of the people who acknowledge that they only work as a placebo, you’re admitting that you have the ability already you just need to change your frame of mind. As somebody mentioned early, so sorry I’m too lazy to scroll up, but anchoring is extremely useful. You can use your mind to trick your body into not feeling pain, being stronger, using your energy more wisely and conservatively. You have the ability.

    Finally, once something is understood to be a placebo, it does not work anymore. If you know you’re taking a sugar pill your mind won’t think you’re healing anymore. But it also opens up your ability to anchor. You know now that you can do something without the help of outside materials. Once people know they can do something on their own; they will.

  23. on 19 Mar 2012 at 22:46Sunny

    I paid $20 for an “authentic” Power and Balance bracelet at Myrtle Beach. It came complete with all the fancy packaging. AND When you look closely at the magic hologram, it says “authentitic ” and “valid” depending on the angle of the light.
    I bought a knock off for $3.99 at a gas station. The logo on the Magic hologram is slightly off and is does NOT say “authentic or “valid” And I pulled it out of a big jar on the counter. It did not come with fancy packaging or instructions.

    The only thing that I thing REALLY works, that I have worn since before it was cool to wear bracelets is Trion-Z. I LOVE my and NEVER take it off.

  24. on 28 Sep 2012 at 08:38Rob

    Just saw one for the first time in victoria b.c guy did the balance test.. seemed to work i spotted the scam right away.. trying to charge 70 bucks for one.. but of course today had a special sale.. 2 for 1…. SCAM!!!!

  25. on 07 Jan 2013 at 00:01john

    Nathan seriously thank you. I read this artical and I realised about the fake powerbalance bands I agree with you THANKS:)

  26. on 26 Mar 2013 at 07:50Corrie van Rooyen

    This was fun to read, even though the scam has gone way beyond its ‘best before’ date.

  27. on 25 Nov 2013 at 14:15Shelby

    Wow this is hilarious but in my mind they do work.
    He acts like no one can have their own opinion. Sheesh just shut the hell up.

  28. on 04 Nov 2016 at 10:22Zzzzzaz

    Dear Nathan,
    I came across this blog while researching the holographic bracelets which, I just heard of today while at the dentist. I work with the public and haven’t seen one but, maybe I just haven’t noticed because I am too busy at work saving people’s lives.
    I don’t usually comment on these websites but I feel so compelled to point out that you must have an incredible amount of time on your hands. DO YOU DO ANYTHING TO CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY OR DO YOU JUST SIT ON YOUR COMPUTER ALL DAY?
    Crazy. You’re probably like the character in a popular song….”Online, I’m out in Hollywood, I’m 6’5″ and I look damn good” ….
    While you’re in between comments look it up. In the meantime, maybe take some of that time you have and try getting a job. It’s definitely scientifically proven in single blind, double blind, total blind, legally blind studies to show it works wonders for what ails you……nastiness, negativism , egomania, sociopathic, antisocial behaviors you exhibit. It might just be a placebo, though. Better not take a chance in wasting your time. Sounds like you have an ample amount of money. Is that because your parents work? Hurry, I think your mom is calling you….she has your dinner ready. Or does she bring it down to the basement bedroom you live in?

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