Photo: Screengrab Phiten USA
Next time the Fox or TBS cameras zoom in on a player during their MLB postseason coverage, notice those twisty, colourful necklaces they wear. It seems like everyone’s wearing them. What’s with the jewelry and why is it so popular?They are $50 “Tornado” necklaces made by Phiten. The company claims the product “helps to promote stable energy flow throughout the body.” It says wearers benefit from shortened recovery time, less fatigue, and more relaxed muscles.
One reason many players wear them? During spring training Phiten reps descended upon MLB facilities to hand out the product to players. Stars continue to wear them because they think the jewelry works.
In its “Body Issue,” ESPN Magazine published an expose of a similar item: silicon bracelets with mineral cards. They’re made by Power Balance and worn by the likes of Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and Shaq. Like Phiten, Power Balance claims their bracelets “resonate with and respond to the natural energy of the body” to improve balance, flexibility, and strength.
ESPN Magazine tested these claims against a placebo and, unsurprisingly, they concluded the bracelet’s claims were bogus.
Well, sort of. Athletes who believed in the product actually did perform better. So the next time you see players wearing those thick necklaces or plastic bracelets, just consider them colourful monetizations of the placebo effect.
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