Sports wristband claims ‘nonsensical techno-babble’ says consumer rights group
Sports performance technology manufacturers Shuzi Qi came under fire today after product tests revealed their performance-enhancing wristband to be ineffective.
The £60 wristband, sported by Dancing on Ice star Jennifer Ellison on the ITV 1 show earlier in the year 1 6, is claimed to contain a proprietary chip programmed to “resonate with blood cells’ natural frequencies”, causing blood cells to “separate and un-clump” 2 – claims which have been dismissed as meaningless techno-babble by the Merseyside Skeptics Society 3.
In a video released today, the group enlisted a semi-professional rugby player to pit the ‘real’ Shuzi band against an identical, deactivated band. Despite marketing claims that the product aids a player’s performance, the demonstration showed that when a player is unsure which band he’s wearing, the £60 product makes no discernible difference.
Michael Marshall, vice-president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, explained: “If the claims Shuzi make about their products are true, we’d expect to see a marked improvement in the performance of our athlete when wearing the ‘real’ wristband.
“That there was no clear difference suggests to us what we’ve suspected all along – the bands are little more than an expensive sports fad, backed up by a raft of claims which may sound like science, but are actually nonsensical techno-babble.”
During the test, the player took fifty kicks wearing the Shuzi Flat Black Sports Bracelet, and fifty wearing an identical bracelet with the chip removed. Throughout the test, neither the player nor the testers knew which band was which, in order to ensure accuracy and remove bias.4
After a hundred kicks, the results showed no significant difference between the sham band and the ‘real’ band – casting severe doubts over the company’s claims that the chip ‘stimulates the separation of blood cells in a person’s body which help increase blood cell circulation’. (sic)2
The video comes in the wake of consumer action in Australia, where Shuzi’s products have been challenged – resulting in the company withdrawing their trade from the country. After an investigation by the Australian Skeptics, Shuzi were offered $100,000 to prove their product worked – a challenge they initially accepted, before later back-tracking 5.
The latest test was carried out by the Merseyside Skeptics Society after attempts to work with Shuzi directly stalled:
“We originally approached Shuzi in June, voicing our concerns – at first they seemed keen to offer us proof that their products were anything more than another expensive sports fad”, said Marshall, “When Shuzi stopped returning our emails and calls, we decided to test their bracelet ourselves – and it’s fair to say the results didn’t surprise us too much.
“If Shuzi still believe their product really works, we’d love to see their evidence – and I’d certainly be happy to work with them in conducting another test. Otherwise, consumers should be aware that these products simply don’t live up to the marketing hype.”
Notes for editors
- Bet Robbie’s happy! Jennifer Ellison is out of Dancing On Ice, which means her husband can enjoy her newly-toned body
- Shuzi – Background
- The Merseyside Skeptics Society is a non‐profit organisation which aims to develop and support the sceptical community on Merseyside and internationally. The society was founded in February 2009 and holds regular social events in Liverpool.
- Full test protocol
- Australian Skeptics – ‘If you knew Shuzi’Quotes from Richard Saunders, life member of Australian Skeptics: “Australian Skeptics have seen many ‘Power Band’ products similar to Shuzi and none of them have lived up to the claims. In 2009 we helped expose the ‘Power Balance’ band on national TV by putting the Australian promoter to a simple test, which he failed. This eventually led to the downfall of the company. The so-called science these companies rely on to give their products credibility is next to worthless as are the live ‘Body Balance’ tests they use. These tests are nothing more than a side-show trick. Australian Skeptics challenged a representative from Shuzi to perform a simple demonstration of the ‘Body Balance’ test, and win our $100,000 prize into the bargain! However he was unwilling or unable. This in itself speaks volumes.”"Shuzi and other ‘Power Bands’ use a form of Applied Kinesiology in order to demonstrate to potential customers the wonders of their products. Applied Kinesiology.is based on the idea of ‘muscle testing’ to diagnose just about anything but it is not regarded as a legitimate science. It can be used, quite easily, to hoodwink people into believing they have suddenly gained or lost strength and balance.”