Do Phiten products really Work?


Alan Sung/ Scienceline.org

 

For years we have seen some of our favorite Major League Baseball players wearing that  colorful and decorative necklace on the mound or in the field. Little did we know that the product is based on scientific evidence that it helps heals the body and is not just a selective MLB fashion statement.

For years the multi-colored titanium bands have adorned either on our favorite players wrists or neck and that has been a huge selling point for kids and adults to try out the products for themselves. There is a huge group of current MLB players who have tested the product and still wear them on the field or on the mound for games during the season.  In recent years, the Boston Red Sox have two players who have visually been pro-titanium necklaces.

Both starting pitcher Josh Beckett, and current American League Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia can be seen with multiple necklaces on their body daily for games. The Rays also sport the stylish necklaces with Rays starter Scott Kazmir and Bullpen pitcher Dan Wheeler wearing their necklaces daily.

The biggest drawing point to these titanium bands being worn by both players and the general public is the manufacturers claims that they can decrease muscle discomfort, help increase blood circulation, promote a sense of relaxation stabilize energy flows, and sooth stress and tension. Each of these reasons would be a great reason for any athlete trying to stay at their top levels and physical best for 162 games during the regular season.

The company responsible for this new baseball fashion plate concerning the titanium-filled bands is Japanese-based Phiten.  The companies website even boasts a the necklaces and wrist bands as “energy transport systems”, and the company maintains that the product “amplifies the energy management system increasing the efficiency of each and every cell.”

        
         Tom Mihalek / AP
But even with great endorsements from players like Beckett and the New York Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain, the product has scientific research done overseas, but no credited United States laboratory has done significant research into the product yet.

The Phiten corporation was founded by Japanese chiropractor Yoshihiro Hirata back in 1983.  The products distributed by the company currently are titanium discs, a wrist band, and the often observed necklaces.  Most of the items shipped have been purchased online at http://www.phiten.com, but some area sporting good stores have begun to distribute the products in the United States. Locally, the best known store to have them in stock is the Sports Authority sporting goods stores. 

The titanium-infused necklaces first gained prominence in Japan, where they are still popular with athletes. According to the company, the necklaces and bracelets work by stabilizing the electric flow that nerves use to communicate actions to the body. “All of the messages in your body travel through electricity, so if you’re tired or just pitched nine innings, the electricity isn’t flowing as smoothly as it can,” said Joe Furuhata, a Phiten spokesman. “Our products smooth out those signals.”

With athletes harboring great superstitions and wanting to keep up with good luck charms, could the Phiten products just been on their bodies when they had great games and not have a significant level of enhancement over their physical being. The psychological effects of believing something is good for you has been proven time and time again. If I told you Cod Liver Oil would prevent a type of cancer in people aged 25-35 years of age, you know that within a months time there would be numerous products on the grocery shelf to combat the problem.

I have owned a pair of them for several and I suffer from some neck discomfort from a former injury. I have worn them for about three years and finally took them off about 6 months ago and have not put them back on my neck. I did feel some relief at first from the product, but then the same symptoms came back after three months. Do the bands have a limited shelf life I did not know about, or could I have mentally convinced myself they were the reason for the neck pain numbing down a bit for that period of time.

I can attest to more of a feeling of relaxation and comfort in my mental being that totally physical at that time. There currently is no study or conclusion drawn by scientists that the product either works or is a farce. I guess the basic belief that it works might be the best medicine here. But just like the human body can convince itself to lift up a 2-ton car off a person trapped by sheer adrenaline or mental power, this product does not make claims of enhancing your physical power or performance.

It’s pure claim to fame is the fact it can do wonders in relieving stress, anxiety, and for the most part muscle discomfort. And for a professional athlete, sometimes the hardest thing to do is believe in something you can not see. There is currently no scientific evidence to support Phiten’s claims. “There’s no science and physiology,” said Dr. Orrin Sherman, chief of sports medicine at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases said in an blog posting on http://www.Scienceline.org. “There’s just no way the chemical structure of the body can be influenced by magnets that small. It’s all superstitions with no scientific basis.”

 So if the product does put Pedroia, Beckett or even Kazmir into a better place mentally, why should we worry about it all.  I remember in college during a Psychology class the fact that sometimes a “placebo” can have the same effect mentally on the body as the same dose of the correct medicine for pain or discomfort. Could the Phiten necklaces also have that same effect as a pain reliever pill or medicine to the body.

But with most of today’s baseball players also believing in the act of the streak and the formation of good luck in odd places, maybe the advent of the Phiten necklaces is a small part of the overall mental preparation for Beckett and Pedroia. If you think the necklace is doing some good and is creating a more positive performance out of you, why would you even think of discarding the product until you find another “lucky charm.”

 

9 Comments

Rays – there was a boy in my Kindergarten class wearing one of the necklaces today. Maybe some of the players “feel” relief using them. I suspect the company is sitting on a gold mine with all the kids wanting to be just like their favorite big leaguer.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Julia,
That is something I purposely left off the blog to see if anyone besides me see the financial windfall of a player wearing an item.
I know if Evan Longoria tomorrow started hitting with Carolina Club bats, there would be a run on the wholesaler for his bat style.
It is an adverse thing that goes with popularity. If you like something and it gets out, then people will want to try or use the same product even if you are not officially endorsing it.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

As a kid yes I want to be like my favorite players but they work! I have a friend who sits next to me in literacy class and his neck was hurting. I gave him my phitten for ten minutes and he said it worked. Maybe it is the mental effects or something but don’t tell that to me. Great story by the way very interesting.

Bob, http://bostonsports.mlblogs.com/

I have a bracelet and necklace…but I got them just because I thought they were pretty :O) Hee! No clue if they do anything at all, but they look nice. They even make silly little discs that look like round bandaids – your can stick them anywhere and it is supposed to help I guess…but again, who knows. They just look like band aids to me :O)

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Thanks Bob.
I just know that sometimes the best cure for pain can be your own mental state and the sense of serenity and peace you can will within yourself.
Placebos have been around for centuries, and who know what of today’s pills and ointments are basically “snake oil” but we believe in their properties.
I have a feeling it is mostly mental, but it did help my neck for a period of time before I began to think about it more.
So like most things in life it will come down to your faith in the product and your loyalty to its benefits or powers.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jenn,
I have had a few women tell me that are a “must have” baseball accessory, and I guess your comment put it in perfect perspective.
They do have a fashionista look to them, which was probably by design by the inventor.
But the great thing about them is the mystery like Chinese herbs on if they actually work or are good for you in the long run.
Guess we will just have to keep buying them and hoping for the best.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I think I’ll go with you on this one. When i first got my phiton i did feel a little relief on the bad headaches i get but after a while that relief wore off. I think its temporary. All though I lost my phiton I would still wear it for style.
baseballPARKS

BaseballParks,

So many MLB players wear them now that it has almost become a secondary uniform requirement for them on game day. I also wore one for a few months and did have a bit of relief,but not sure if it was the mental state or the titanium kicking in at times.
But it is like anything inlife that if you believe it is helping you, that might be half the battle.

Rays Renegade
http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Looks like the jury is still out after all these years. Gerry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 289 other followers

%d bloggers like this: