Phiten jewelry in the DUC catalogue
August 8, 2011
So I noticed lately that Ducks Unlimited carries Phiten necklaces in their online Store. For those of you not in the know, Phiten is very similar to the infamous PowerBalance bracelets, but claim to use a proprietary process to turn ordinary titanium into a form that, when added into the necklace, well, here's the quote:
All our products reflect Phiten's uncompromising search for health. Our aim is to provide health-promoting technologies and products. We will never offer an item that might have an ill effect on your health, no matter how convenient and useful it may be. That's our philosophy.
After examining the meaning of health in this day and age, we directed our attention to the body's natural healing power. Part of the body’s natural responses, it is often weakened by the fatigue and stress accumulated with the hectic pace of modern life. Your body’s energy system influences all of your body’s responses. Phiten products regulate and balance that flow of energy throughout your body. Proper energy balance helps to alleviate discomfort, speed recovery, and counteract fatigue by restoring the body’s natural healing powers.
Through dedicated research, we have developed a number of unique wellness technologies and products. Accordingly, we've won the trust of many consumers and increasing numbers of athletes use our products. We are building on this trust to offer new products, adapting and applying our technologies to a wider range of uses to support your health and well-being.
Phiten continues to take on new challenges in serving people around the world by creating more products that answer the desire to enhance and maintain health."
So we're clearly in downtown Woo-ville. So I thought that I would chastise Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) for their poor choice of promotional merchandise. Here's the emails:
I have been a supporter for quite some time. I am proud to display Ducks artwork in my home, and to contribute to Ducks from time to time. I am pleased that Ducks follows a science-based approach to the biology and ecology of it's projects. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I noticed titanium necklaces in your Store. The description includes this doozy:
"Phiten products work with your body's energy system, helping to regulate and balance the flow of energy throughout your body. Proper energy balance helps to alleviate discomfort, speed recovery, and counteract fatigue. Tire less easily and recover faster from intense physical activity! "
This is complete nonsense. It is a preposterous medical claim that is completely unsupported by medicine and science. Frankly, it is false advertising. I am sure that this is an oversight on your part, as it is totally contradictory to your fact-based approach to wetlands conservation. I would request that you remove these items from your catalog immediately, or at the very least, remove the description that suggests a quantifiable health benefit from this ridiculous voodoo jewelry.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
William - I would thank you for your comments and refer you to the Phiten website and the product information. Professional athletes and sportspeople wear them and we thought we would offer the camo versions and see if our membership was interested in such a product. As it turned out they are and we have received nothing but positive feedback from our membership!
Again, Ducks Unlimited Canada does appreciate your comments and will forward your concerns on to management.
Thank you for your support of DUC. If you have any further questions, or if you'd like more information, please feel free to contact me.
Retail Sales Coordinator
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Thank you for your prompt reply, but I think that you haven't entirely understood my position, nor do you understand the Phiten products. They are quite simply, a scam. They are jewelry with no tangible health benefit. The action that they claim for their products is implausible to say the least. Have you stopped to consider how this mystical concoction infused into string might possibly affect the metabolism of lactic acid in the body? I'll help you out-it doesn't. There is no conceivable mechanism for this to work. Their website, if you read the fine print, says that their claims have not been evaluated by the USFDA. The endorsement of professional athletes means nothing. A slick website with a bunch of feel-good pseudo-scientific baloney means nothing. I'm quite sure that I could find a website that claims to know for sure that Elvis is alive and well, living in a flying saucer on the far side of the moon. I am equally certain that I could find some vacuous professional athlete who would buy that load of BS-hook, line and sinker.
I am a scientist. Like the scientific staff at DUC, I work in facts. DUC's conservation work is based on facts, on accepted and verified principles of ecology and conservation biology. Not on the message from some dead ducks coming in through a crystal ball. Phiten products are a slap in the face of reason, critical thinking, and scientific literacy. The "studies" that they cite as proof have holes in the methodology big enough to drive trucks through. Most of it is a complete fabrication. They are completely contradictory to the excellent science-based work that DUC does. They are a shining example of ignorance, the power of the placebo response, and the gullibility of consumers.
Please put me in touch with your manager. Any organization that raises money through such blatantly false merchandising is one that I will not be associated with for very long.
#1 rachel (Guest) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 at 7:43am
Outrageous! Thanks for saying something about this. Have they taken the products down from their website? I could not find them. If they’re still there I am happy to also write to them.
#2 Will Breen (Guest) on Thursday August 11, 2011 at 8:36am
Thanks, Rachel. The products are still on their website, listed under Store, and Sporting Goods, if you can believe it. So by all means, drop Lorna a line.
#3 Luke Dahlgren (Guest) on Saturday October 27, 2012 at 8:01pm
I’m just wondering what proof you have gathered that these products do not work? They may not be scientifically proven, but I tried one of their products at their retail store in Seattle and find that they do provide the effects that they advertise. This may be a placebo effect or it may be a result of the technology that they refer to, I’m not sure of the reasoning, but I do know that they work for me.
Do you have proof to debunk them or are you just morally outraged by their “false” claims?
Please explain the background behind your complaint to DUC?
#4 Will Breen (Guest) on Thursday November 08, 2012 at 1:51pm
Thank you for so ably illustrating the placebo response. I worry that you cannot tell the difference between a placebo response and a verified physiological response, judging by your message, so I would ask you to educate yourself in the phenomenon. The tricks used by hucksters to sell these products and similar ones are well known, easy to learn, and easy to fake. I also worry that if you aren’t able to deduce the basis for my complaint, you may face a challenge in comprehending the information.
That said, also keep in mind that any medical or health-related claim bears the burden of proof, not the counterclaim. A similar product, the Powerband bracelet, has been thoroughly debunked recently, most specifically at The Amazing Meeting 2012, in front of a live audience.
I have reviewed the information about the products carried on the DUC website, and concluded that there is no plausible mechanism for these things to do anything resembling what they claim to do. If you can provide some compelling, scientifically valid evidence for both the mechanism and the results, I would be delighted to examine it. Bear in mind, the subject material consists of some biochemistry, and psychology. If you are not fluent in these fields, then you have some reading to do.
#5 Will Breen (Guest) on Thursday November 08, 2012 at 1:58pm
Oh, forgive me, here is a link to a study on PubMed that found that Power Balance bracelets are crap. Phiten necklaces are a related flavour of crap.