The Italian Almanac
Italy's antitrust watchdog said that it had opened a probe into the companies which distribute the Power Balance wristband, which has become this summer's fad. The probe by the authority will focus on "possible inappropriate commercial practices" by the companies which sell the wrist band that promises to give "balance, strength and flexibility".
The focus of the probe will be whether the consumer risks being misled by properties attributed to the product. The probe will center on two companies: Power Balance Italy, which distributes the Power Balance brand in Italy; and Sport Town, a company which retails the product. The two companies will have 15 days to submit medical/scientific evidence dealing with the composition of the product and its effects on the human body as well as information dealing with any possible side effects in regard to the consumer's health and safety .
Neither company has at present issued any statement about the probe. According to the producer's website, Power Balance is "performance technology designed to work with your body's natural energy field". Both the Power Balance wristband and pendant necklace are made of silicon on which a hologram has been embedded.
Producers claim the holograms are specifically designed to work with the body's natural energy flow in order to increase endurance, balance, strength, and flexibility. The product, they added, is "based on the idea of optimizing the body's natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies". Power Balance was introduced in California in 2007 and has been endorsed by several well-known athletes.
Critics say the bracelet works thanks to a placebo effect with any improvement in balance, flexibility and strength the result of simple positive thinking and belief in its powers.