You have probably seen the commercial before. A wristband that, when worn, gives the user amazing abilities. Suddenly they can breath easier, they have more energy, and they can even balance properly! All that from a simple bracelet with a hologram on it. Could it really be that magical?
Like many things, power wristbands that claim extraordinary results seem to be nothing more than clever marketing mixed with the placebo effect.
Placebos and psychology
During trials of new medicines, there is always a control group to get base readings from. While one group is given an actual pill with medical benefit, the other group is an identical-looking pill which is made of nothing but sugar. The people in the study are not aware whether or not they are taking a sugar pill or actual medicine since it looks the same.
Strangely enough, test results may show that some people in the control group (the ones receiving a sugar pill) are actually responding positively as if they were being treated with medicine. Taking fake pills, the people still get better. This information shows how much psychology can play a big part in health issues.
Another study was done by two psychologists at Victoria University in New Zealand who wanted to test the placebo effect regarding alcohol. They split students into 2 groups, one that received vodka and lime and others that received "vodka" - actually tonic water - and lime. What happened? People who were drinking the tonic water started acting intoxicated. Simply because the people thought they were drinking, they felt (and acted) like they were.
Back to the wristbands
So, could the placebo effect be responsible for the wristbands too? Check out the video below to see exactly what's going on.