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Phiten necklaces and the placebo effect

Oct 19, 2011, 2:28 PM EDT

CJ Wilson necklace

This was more of a 2010 phenomenon, but those Phiten necklaces haven’t gone away. Especially on the Rangers. All of those dudes have ’em, it seems.  Drives me nuts that these dudes think — or that people who buy those necklaces may think — that they help with your body’s energy flow or what have you, but there are all kinds of dumb people in the world, so we shouldn’t be surprised.

We went over that a couple of times last year and, for what it’s worth, there is no more reason to believe in that witchcraft now than there was a year ago. But for those of you who will be watching the World Series with family members who are unaware of this hokum, just shoot them this article:

So, in sum: there’s no evidence that the body has any sort of energy flow (much less one that can influence the carrying capacity of red blood cells). There is an obvious way in which it transmits energy—nerve impulses—but they are only influenced by electrical currents or strong magnetic fields. The Phiten bracelets provide neither. So there’s no biologically plausible mechanism by which these products can directly influence the body.

It goes on to explain the placebo effect which, yes, is real.  But one would at least think that someone could find a placebo that isn’t so damn ugly.

(thanks to Reflex for the link)

  1. Tim's Neighbor - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I’d take the placebo effect on my bank account from the sponsorship money…

    I run a youth sports league and kids have multiple Phiten necklaces on. Easy bank.

    • hittfamily - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:07 PM

      So you sell special power necklaces to kids? Classy.

      I hate the makers of these things, and anyone who promotes them. Charlatans and swindlers sell these things, homeopathic remedies, and Benny Hinn DVDs.

      Why trust modern science, when a commercial tells you to use “head-on” for a head ache. They market it as a medicine, then sell it in a drug store. In actuality, it is a homeopathic product that has nothing but wax in it, but they made a fortune convincing people it worked. No need to get the FDA involved to check the claims it makes either. Since their are no active ingredients in ANY homeopathic products, there is no need for the FDA to get involved.

      Anyone who believes in the power of products like the copper bracelets, necklaces, and homeopathic remedies, is gullible for sure, but they have also been misled by thieves. People who sell this garbage, especially to children who still believe in Santa Clause, are thieves. The necklaces are just a scheme, but there are some dangers out there with this trash. 15 years ago, homeopaths sold headache cures, muscle relaxers, and other non efective, but otherwise harmless products. Now they have taken the scheme to new heights, selling homeopathic radiation poisoning cures, homeopathic small pox and malaria cures. These are diseases that kill, but these scum sell worthless products with a bold face lie to people who may be in real danger.

      Stop selling snake oil to kids dude, and make a living where you aren’t swindling the gullible.

      • qcubed3 - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        When I first read Benny Hinn, I first thought of Benny Hill, and I was like, that’s a homeopathic remedy I can get behind!

      • hittfamily - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:24 PM

        No, Benny Hill makes you laugh. Benny Hinn makes you empty your wallet so he can live in a 7 million dollar home.

        Benny Hinn picks out old people who WALK into his church, have ushers “help them out” and sit them down in his wheel chairs, brings them up on stage, and performs a miracle by making them stand up out of the wheel chair. He then flies to another 3rd world country on his private jet, and does it all over again. He sells, I mean gives away DVD’s of this deception, for a small heavenly gift of a few hundred dollars, which will help him perform more miracles.

        He is not a homeopath, but someone much much worse. He deceives in the name of the Lord.

    • Panda Claus - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

      He’s saying he wishes he was the one banking on the sale of all those necklaces. He didn’t say he sells them. The league he runs has kids that wear them.

      • hittfamily - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:57 PM

        I interpretited “easy bank” to be he sold them to the kids in his league, like in the concessions perhaps, like with eye black, wristbands, rosin bads, bat doughnuts etc. The message was kind of cryptic.

        If you don’t sell them, my apologies for misunderstanding you “Tim’s Neighbor”. My sentiments towards the manufacturers and retailers of these products remains the same.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    It has to be ugly to work, just like medicine has to taste bad and workouts have to hurt. How else would you know if it worthwhile?

    • El Bravo - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      If you ejaculate at the end…then you know it worked.

  3. halladaysbiceps - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    I see a lot of Phillies players wearing these dumb necklaces. If they think spreading deer antler liquid on themselves will give them greater power, these players will believe anything.

    • hittfamily - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:26 AM

      Holy crap. 10 up, none down. Cepts, this is disappointing. What happened?

  4. The Common Man - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    My favorite place to take a first date, as a teen and twenty-something in the Twin Cities, was The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices (because you don’t really know someone until you see how they react to getting their personality read by a phrenology machine or to seeing a prostate warmer). These sound like they’d fit right in next to the Radium Pills and the machine that cures you with flashing red and green lights.

    • Kyle - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:08 PM

      Oh TCM, you hopeless romantic, you.

    • hittfamily - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:27 PM

      And if they like the prostate warmer, you know the date will end very very well.

  5. cur68 - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Crash Davis: I never told him to stay out of your bed.
    Annie Savoy: You most certainly did.
    Crash Davis: I never told him to stay out of your bed.
    Annie Savoy: Yes you did.
    Crash Davis: I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak.
    Annie Savoy: Oh fine.
    Crash Davis: You know why? Because they don’t – -they don’t happen very often.
    Annie Savoy: Right.
    Crash Davis: If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you *are*! And you should know that

    …and so they wear those ugly a$$ necklaces….

  6. dlindstedt2 - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I just think some of them have a cool look to them. That is the only reason to buy them.

  7. Brian Donohue - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    You don’t want to confuse the metaphor with the effect. One well known and effective system of physiotherapy, acupuncture and its related practices, is based purely on an energy-flow scientific metaphor (to be specific, meridians). Energy passes between and among non-neural cells and circuits, that’s hardly a matter of debate or quackery. The metaphors of western mechanistic science are frequently shown to be imperfect or incomplete, that is, they don’t objectively describe what they set out to. But there is as little need to discard them on that basis as there is for tossing Newtonian physics in the wastebin because it fails to describe quantum effects and relativistic behavior of massive objects.

    A related question for this author: the placebo effect exists. It often “works.” Should we call anyone who benefits from that a quack or a fraud? Should we be ashamed of ourselves that such an effect brings benefit to our bodies and our lives? Because it’s, brrr…irrational???

    • Reflex - Oct 19, 2011 at 11:57 PM

      Western medicine is ‘incomplete’ only in the sense that ‘we don’t know everything there is to know about biology at this time’. Any system of medicine that claims to know everything is false.

      The placebo effect does work, and is indeed quantifiable. However it can be invoked as cheaply as a sugar pill, so trying to use placebo effect as a justification for overpriced necklaces is scamming the customer.

      Oh, and acupuncture does not work as you stated there. In fact it requires no skill at all, randomized needle pricks have the same effectiveness as that performed by a trained acupuncturist, this test was run recently and pretty much debunked the entire theory behind it.

  8. Jonny 5 - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    *I wrap one around my privates. It seems to work quite well in the sack. Not that I needed them to begin with but if I think they’re doing something better for me, they are doing something better for me. You see, much like sex, baseball has a lot to do with what’s between the ears actually.

    *No, I really don’t, but the fib helps make my point.

    • El Bravo - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      Will you change your tag to The Phiten Scroter?

  9. Panda Claus - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Maybe you should have sent a case or two of these to the Braves this year, although I’m sure a few must wear them. Sounds like remorseful jealousy to me. Even if they are useless neck trinkets.

    • El Bravo - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:00 PM

      [shaking fists in air] Damn you Panda! Damn you!!!!

  10. clevelandsteamer1 - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    The only reason they wear the necklaces is because Academy Sports is a huge sponsor of the Rangers.

  11. Reflex - Oct 19, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Woo, I got something posted. 😉

    Glad you guys liked the link. Ars Technica is fantastic for articles like this, and for once it crossed over with my favorite sport.

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