Balance Bracelets – Do They Really Work?
Much news has been made about balance bracelets recently as they have been sported by everyone from elite athletes to weekend warriors. So do these bracelets live up to their claims? I am a Mesa, AZ Chiropractor and have recommended these to my patients for a short time now but the first thing you should know is that the use of magnets, magnetic bracelets and bracelets that give off magnetic – like energy are not new.
Famed chiropractor, Dr. D.D. Palmer – the founding father of chiropractic – was a magnetic healer before he founded the profession of chiropractic. He practiced a form of magnetic healing that was a cross between massage and meridian therapies that was based on the concepts of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Dr. Palmer believed that disease was due to displacement of anatomic parts of the body. These would, in turn, create heat through friction and thereby produce inflammation (Palmer, 1896). Palmer would then locate the areas of displacement by hand palpation and these areas would almost always contain fluid, swelling, and all things associated with inflammation (Palmer, 1896). Dr. Palmer was also a strong believer that circulation was necessary for proper function of the body. He also believed that the lack of circulation was a cause of cancer. Upon finding areas of inflammation and swelling through palpation, Palmer applied magnets in order to decrease inflammation, decrease swelling and ultimately decrease pain.
In the last 5 years, several companies have developed bracelets that claim to increase balance, flexibility and core strength. Many therapists, chiropractors and others have been offering them to their clients and patients. But do they really work?
One company claims to have a performance technology containing a mylar hologram that is embedded with a range of frequencies found in nature that react with one’s energy field or electromagnetic field. The bracelet also claims to give a person a sense of well being, better mood, and increased circulation (powerbalance.com).
So if your chiropractor recommends one to you should you get one? Which claims are we to believe and which claims are false? The University of Wisconsin performed a double blind research study with several athletes; some wearing the bracelets and some wearing placebos. To make a long story short, the balance bracelets were not found to increase strength or balance. The participants were muscle tested first without the bands, and then muscle tested again with the bands. Some of the participants were wearing a real bracelet while others were wearing a placebo bracelet. The findings found that all participants did better the second time being tested regardless of whether a real or placebo bracelet was being worn. We can safely say that the immediate strength and balance claim made by the bracelet companies may be a myth.
As a chiropractor, I have found that the greatest benefit a magnetic type bracelet may have is in the circulation aspect which could lead to a host of health benefits. For one, the FDA has allowed these legal statements to be used: magnets improve circulation, provides pain relief, promotes relaxation, and enhances well being. Basically the government believes that magnets are not harmful. Magnetic or magnetic – like frequency bracelets can decrease pain by increasing circulation to the area.
Here in my Mesa AZ Chiropractic clinic I treat many injured people. An injured area often has decreased oxygen and blood flowing to the area which is synonymous with high acidity. The negative (-) energy field produced by the magnet counteracts the positive (+) energy field produced by the injury. The (-) energy field produced by the bracelet promotes a less acidic state of the blood which makes the blood thinner, enhancing circulation. The psychological benefit of wearing a bracelet cannot be discounted either.
It is my belief as a chiropractor that these bracelets work well with your body’s natural energy fields to enhance circulation and energy flow. Circulation and energy flow are good things, especially for athletes. In a competitive – world where winning and losing is determined sometimes by inches or seconds – wearing a balance bracelet certainly will not hurt you even if some of the benefits mainly psychological. The mind is so powerful that it can make us sick or well. If you think a bracelet will make you healthier and happier then buy one.