Not that this should be a big surprise or anything, but wearing a bracelet won’t cure your carpal tunnel syndrome.
A federal district court in Chicago has ruled for the Federal Trade Commission in its case against the marketers of the Q-Ray ionized bracelet (which you may recognize from their ubiquitous cable television commercials).
The makers of the Q-Ray bracelets had claimed that their products were supposed to ease all sorts of pains including everything from pulled muscles to carpal tunnel syndrome to cancer. The Q-Ray bracelets were advertised to be “the world’s only ionic bracelet for balancing your yin and yang, blending eastern medicine concepts with high technology, to energize your whole body and relieve pains the natural way.”
The FTC originally filed the case against Q-Ray in 2003, alleging that the defendants had misrepresented that the Q-Ray ionized bracelet “provides immediate significant or complete relief from various types of pain, including, but not limited to, musculoskeletal pain, sciatic pain, persistent headaches, sinus problems, tendinitis, or injuries,” and that “tests prove that the Q-Ray bracelet relieves pain.”
In a decision issued in September 2006, the court found that Q-Ray advertising was false and misleading in representing that the bracelet provides immediate, significant, and/or complete pain relief, and that scientific tests proved that it relieves pain. Q-Ray did not have any such data. The court will require the defendants to turn over $22 million in net profits and pay up to $65 million in refunds to consumers.
I know that if you’re in pain, you’re willing to try almost anything to feel better, and that’s the mindset that products such as these feed on. If you’re desperate enough, even the most outlandish claims can start to sound possible.
But there’s no magic bullet here. Carpal tunnel syndrome, or any repetitive strain injury, is not caused by failure to wear a special bracelet, nor can it be cured by wearing one.
If you’ve purchased a Q-Ray bracelet, you can call the FTC’s refund hot line at 202-326-2063.