By Lisa Browdy
If you're heading over to the mall to do your holiday shopping, it's likely that you'll pass a kiosk where you will be invited to try out some version or another of an Energy Band with negative ions to enhance your health and strength.
Since I try to stay out of malls in December, I went to North Riverside Park Mall just before Thanksgiving to pick up some necessities. I was greeted by a large, friendly young man who invited me to try an experiment. He had me hold my arms out and stand on one foot, while he pushed down on the arm on the side of my raised leg. Of course I toppled over. Then he had me hold one of his Energy Excel bands while doing the same thing. Oddly enough, I stayed upright, even though he seemed to use the same amount of pressure when pressing my arm down.
The young salesman, whose name was Peter, explained that all the electronics we use and their pulses in the air effect our ions, and that the energy band is infused with negative ions to counteract them He offered me a folder with a number of articles on the positive effect of negative ions on the human body (though none of them came in bracelet form). There is a hologram design on the band, which looks like a cousin to one of those rubber "livestrong" type bracelets, but Peter said that the negative ions were infused in the whole thing.
It seemed pretty farfetched, but so do a lot of other things that have real benefits, so I plunked down my $21 and purchased a size extra small (I have delicate bones) in the most inauspicious color -- frost – that they offered. Emblazoned with the phrase "Energy Excel: More Energy, Great Life" I was a little embarrassed to wear it around, but we investigative journalists have to make these kind of sacrifices.
Marketed with names like "Power Bands," "Balance Bands" and "Energy Bands," these products claim to increase strength, balance and energy and even reduce pain and help with sleep. I've seen some advertised for up to $60.
I wore mine with an open mind around the clock for about a week, with very little to say for it. I eat well and exercise often, so my physical energy level is already pretty good. The band didn't help much with my sleep (I wake up earlier than I should), nor did it help my balancing poses in Yoga class. Interestingly, I tried the one-foot arm-press experiment on my family members over Thanksgiving, and it worked just as well for them as it did for me back at the mall.
But really, how often do you need to stand on one foot while someone presses down on your arm? Though you might covet some extra energy as you plow through your gift list. pass the Energy Bands by and focus on your shopping.