Ionized bracelets, or ionic bracelets, are a type of metal jewelry purported to affect the chi of the wearer, though no claims to effectiveness—or the basis for such claims—have been substantiated by their manufacturers. The Q-Ray is the most well known brand, while the lesser known Balance, Bio-Ray, IRenew and Rayma bracelets are also considered to be of the "ionized" family. Other alternative health bracelets, such as magnetic or copper therapy bracelets, are considered separate products.
Marketing claims and FTC action
Western interest in the Q-Ray Ionized Bracelet rose as a result of an infomercial campaign by QT Inc. which ran from August 2000 through June 11, 2003. During this time many claims were made regarding the product's alleged effectiveness, most notably regarding relief from pain and arthritis due to manipulation of a body's chi.
These claims were the topic of a 2003 injunction by the Federal Trade Commission and later a high-profile court ruling in 2006. A major factor in these rulings was a November 2002 study by Mayo Clinic that demonstrated no significant effect by the Q-Ray bracelet on muscle pain relative to the placebo effect. The court was unable to find any basis for QT Inc.'s claims related to traditional Chinese medicine, concluding that it was "part of a scheme devised by [QT Inc.] to defraud [its] consumers".
In a Marketplace interview, Charles Park, president of Q-Ray Canada, explains that the term "ionized" does not mean the bracelets themselves are ionized, but rather that the term comes from their secret "ionization process" which, he asserts, affects the bracelets in undisclosed ways.
In October 1973, corporate websites claim,[clarification needed] Manuel L. Polo began investigating the effects of different metals on humans, believing that some metals offered a benefit when worn. This led directly to his creation of the Bio-Ray (Biomagnetic Regulator), the first ionized bracelet. Years later in 1994, Andrew Park bought a Bio-Ray bracelet while visiting Barcelona, Spain. Believing that it had reduced his lower back pain, he was inspired to found QT Inc., which began manufacturing and selling Q-Ray bracelets in the United States by 1996.
A randomized double-blind study conducted at the Jacksonville Florida Mayo Clinic claimed that ionized bracelets, at least those produced by one manufacturer, did not differ in muscular pain relief over placebo bracelets. According to this study, both the placebo and ionized bracelet wearers lessened their perception of pain similarly.
There are no well known studies on other aspects of ionized jewelry.
- Biofield (disambiguation)
- Power Balance
- Hologram therapy
- Magnet therapy
- Negative air ionization therapy
- Court rules in FTC's favor in Q-Ray bracelet case U.S. Federal Trade Commission (2006)
- QRay Ionized Bracelets
- A Q-Ray timeline CBC Marketplace 14 November 2007
- FTC halts deceptive pain relief claims. U.S. Federal Trade Commission (2003)
- "Effect of 'Ionized' Wrist Bracelets on Musculoskeletal Pain: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial" Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2002. 77:1164-1168.
- Meet the little bracelet that raises big questions CBC Marketplace 14 November 2007
- Bio Ray
- Bratton R, Montero D, Adams K, et al (2002). "Are ionized wrist bracelets better than placebo for musculoskeletal pain?". The Journal of Family Practice. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved January 30, 2013.