Titanium tape: a fraud?
Ever heard of titanium tape? Little adhesive strips containing titanium that you stick onto your skin to relieve muscle pain. It's all the rage in Japan, and even some professional athletes swear by them. There are also titanium bracelets, necklaces, gels, even shirts and hats that have titanium woven into them. Is it a fraud? I almost paid $15 for a bracelet the other day, just to prove to myself that it is a fraud, but I couldn't get myself to do it.
According to Phiten, the manufacturer, titanium "improves blood circulation by regulating the body's electrical current." It also says, "The unique "Phild Processing" process produces a carbonized Titanium powder, which is used in Phiten products. By emitting a uniform wave, the powder helps to seriously control electrical disturbances in the body. The elimination of pain and discomfort is almost immediate and some people feel pain-free for the first time in their lives. Phild Processing has been found to be effective for the temporary relief of pain from bursitis, sciatica, tendonitis, headaches, certain types of arthritis, and premenstrual syndrome."
Titanium emits a uniform wave? For real?
Once, there was a fast-talking salesman at a Phiten display panel who performed a demonstration for me. He had a bag full of heavy water bottles on the ground. "Pick it up with your index finger," he said. It was a bit heavy. Then he slapped a little "titanium disk" onto my bicep. "Now try it again," he said with a smug smile. It felt the same, really, but I felt so bad for the guy that I told him it felt just a little bit lighter.
A couple years ago, tourmaline bracelets were all the rage. I think these were supposed to improve blood circulation as well. Products that use simple magnets to improve blood circulation (because blood contains iron??) have been around for years now. Once, a friend spotted an old guy at an onsen bath - naked of course - who had a giant tourmaline rope tied around his waist. People seriously believe in this stuff! Frauds, frauds, the whole lot, but if the placebo effect works, then why complain. Maybe if you can get an entire nation to believe something is true, then it really is true as long as you're there. And there's no better nation in the world for this than Japan.