Delivering a kick to Shuzi sports band: Skeptics group conduct test and expose claims

Claims for the Shuzi sports band exposed as baseless by Merseyside skeptics group.

Is the Shuzi sport band a brilliant technology or a waste of money? | Michael Marshall | Science | guardian.co.uk.
The Shuzi sport band claims to deliver ‘Nano Vibrational Technology’ to perk up your blood and enhance performance.

I first became aware of Shuzi’s products when a friend saw its bands on sale in a jewellery shop in Liverpool and called me to ask my opinion. As vice president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society this happens to me fairly regularly, although rarely am I greeted with anything as bewildering as the promise to “un-clump” my blood.

Shuzi explains that a special nanovibrational chip embedded in its bracelet resonates with the body’s natural frequencies, boosting the wearer’s blood flow. This effect, it claims, has been proven by a Nutrition Consultant and Massage Therapist using live blood cell analysis. What’s more, marketing material on sale with their bracelets outlines simple exercises that prove the benefits of wearing Shuzi products.

Better still, according to previous claims made on the web and in the printed information provided with the Shuzi band (below), users will notice “enhanced energy and strength, greater endurance and flexibility, and better balance and mental focus”.

From the Shuzi site:

The Shuzi Chip has been programmed utilizing “Nano Vibrational Technology”. When Shuzi is within your six inches of your body, the subtle vibrational energy emitted from the Shuzi Chip stimulates your blood cells to separate.

That makes absolutely no sense. It sounds sciencey but has no meaning when you understand the science. The words are used to enhance the idea that there is something to this product, making it sound high tech and futuristic.

This is not the first time a similar product with similar claims was marketed. And crashed. These enhanced performance claims were also made by the Power Balance bands sold worldwide, which were popular with U.S. athletes as well. Australian Skeptics were instrumental in exposing Power Balance bands, whose sales crashed. The Merseyside group decided to test the claims of this product as well.

Here is their video:

SPOILER: Fail.

Under double-blind test conditions, Shuzi’s product failed to have any statistically significant effect on our rugby player’s performance.

Source: Merseyside Skeptics

Great job by this skeptical group to test a nonsense claim and unsurprisingly find… nothing of substance. Then, to get this story exposure in a major media outlet is key.

Maybe these products do work but the evidence presented for their efficacy is worthless, the science peppered around the claims is baseless and the tests proved negative. So, what next? People remain gullible and will buy things that appear to deliver a fast result. That’s where critical thinking consumer advocates can help.

Coverage also here.

Interview on Token Skeptic with Mike Hall of Merseyside Skeptics here.

Merseyside Skeptics site.

Australian Skeptics: If you knew Shuzi...

  4 comments for “Delivering a kick to Shuzi sports band: Skeptics group conduct test and expose claims

  1. Peebs
    September 4, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Quite simply, if my blood cells need to separate it means I have A. A bruise B. A haematoma or C. A thrombus.

    Or I’m dehydrated of course.

    Is there no end to the gullibility of the masses?

  2. geo
    September 4, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    OK, I fess up! Yes, I bought two Power-type bracelets. Yep, gave one to my brother.
    Well, there was one difference. In bold print was the word placebo. They were $6 on Ebay. Wore it three or four times thinking I would use it as a conversation starter.
    I think I’ll see if I can find it and try again.
    Enjoyed the video. Thanks.
    George

    • September 4, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      You know, there are things called Placebo bands. I have one myself. :-)

  3. Gary
    September 12, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    What never seems to be challenged in these adverts are claims of things that do not exist. In this case it’s “the body’s natural frequencies”.

    Huh?

    Just like chi or vague “energies”, no definition much less explanation is given. The words are just there to sound “sciency”.

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