Field of Science

Power Balance Crap and Crystal Magic

The Italian Antitrust agency (who controls the business practices adopted in commercial concurrence between societies) has initialized an investigation against a business (Sport Town with his Italian distributor Power Balance Italy) that sells Power Balance bracelets and necklaces made of silicone, claiming that it's enforce physical strength and equilibrium sense. The main accusation is misleading advertisement regarding the properties and the effects of the product to trick consumers in buy it.

The two societies promoting the talisman have time until 18. August to furnish a scientific documentation proving the claimed properties, the biological effects and that the use of the talisman has no side effects. Superfluous to say that the probability of positive results is very remote.

This case is only the last example of a long list of electromagnetic devices, claiming to be able to alter the energetic fields of the human body and have medical effects (so it´s not even original as idea).

However the believe of magic powers of talisman is a very old one, and such (crystal-) powers are also attributed by esoteric movements to different rocks and minerals. It's highly probable that as geologist you at least once was asked if and how minerals work on the human body (it happened to me).

Most Gem and Mineral Show today are dominated by people that sell the same bunch of minerals artefacts at least referring to the imaginary power of the rocks.
This wouldn't't be such a problem if there was a sincere reference to the obvious explanation: it has to work because I want to believe so; superstition is widespread and also a powerful "force", this is known as Placebo-effect.

But unfortunately our primitive instincts conflict with our rational mind, on the one side we believe weird things, but at the same time demand a rational explanation.
Most seller of this crap (some believing it, the most probably not) so pick from scientific research what confirms their presumptions, but rejecting all the evidence that dismiss it.
Regarding minerals one of the preferred explanations invokes the influence of the regular atomic structure of crystals on energy-fields, not specifying even what these fields should be. But most minerals used in crystals therapies are not even magnetic, or conduct current, have also no influence whatever on fields or not more that ever piece of matter in the universe. The most used rocks and minerals are also very common, like quartz in his various varieties, it would more reasonable that simply standing on the ground there is more effect on your body.

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