“Q the nonsense” (Energy jewelry)


The Q-Ray bracelet is the one way to spend money on jewelry without placating your wife. Unless she is seeking to balance her body’s positive and negative ions, and doesn’t mind a product that cannot be tested to do this or anything else.

An ion is an atom that has a positive or negative charge due to a change in its number of electrons. Piggybacking on this legitimate science, the Q-Ray manufacturer claims to sell an ionized product that will eliminate pain caused by an ionic imbalance.

The body cannot suffer an ionic imbalance, so this product works without even having to buy it. The product as claimed is impossible since solid objects cannot be ionized. The company may as well be selling blivets. The manufacturer notes that its product is worn by celebrities and athletes, simultaneously appealing to irrelevant authority and vanity.

When writing about alternative medicine products, this is where I would normally insert the line about it having no peer-reviewed, double blind, reproducible study. But in this case, there is one. The Mayo Clinic ran a test on 710 subjects over four weeks. Scientists studied the claim that the Q-Ray offered pain relief, using the bracelet and a placebo. All subjects were suffering musculoskeletal pain, and the Q-Ray bracelet showed no ability to alleviate it.

Because the company had made claims that were demonstrably false, a federal judge ordered it to pay $22.5 million to the fraud victims. He did not, however, enjoin the company from selling any more bracelets. They can just no longer attribute any ability to it. The manufacturer has been reduced to noting its deluxe silver coating and durability. The latter is an accurate description of a product still being sold after being proven a fraud and being the centerpiece of a 10-figure judgement.

Then we have the Q Link pendant. This is unrelated to the Q-Ray, except for linguistic and loony likenesses.

The Q Link manufacturer claims its product “neutralizes the effects of electromagnetic fields from computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” It never explains what these effects are, why they should be avoided, and how the Q Link products manage this. It adds that the electromagnetic field is an invisible cause of stress and fatigue. Maybe the Q Link can help with my sinking feeling when I think about having to mow the lawn.

Dr. Ben Goldacre, an author and skeptic leader, pried open a Q Link pendant and examined its innards. He found a circuit board connected to nothing. That would be like a front door without a house. He also spied eight copper pads, also connected to nothing. Finally, he saw a zero-ohm resistor, again connected to nothing. It added up to little more than wire crammed into some diamond-shaped rubber.

The electronic components can be bought for a few cents, but the Q Link bracelet sells for $60. For this, consumers will receive a product that, according to the seller, offers “resonance with your biofield and harmonizing of your energy.” Left unclear are how the resonance occurs, what a bioifield is, what your energy is being harmonized with, and why all this adds up to a something beneficial.

The company’s website boasts of many happy customers who relate “a wide range of benefits that have enhanced their quality of life.” Could they be a little more vague?

According to the company, the central feature of the product is that it acts on an energy field “of such low intensity that we have no means of measuring it.” That makes their having accessed and manipulated the field all the more amazing.

They claim users have reported fewer headaches, more energy, increased mental clarity, a sharper focus, better sleep, and less anxiety. Such wide ranging claims are a pseudoscience red flag. Excedrin will make a claim to a specific, testable, ability: Curing headaches. Testimonials that are wildly varying and encompass all manner of mental and physical traits are indicative of people attributing to the Q Link pendant whatever good happens to them when wearing it.

If you want to reap real benefits from jewelry, buy your wife a necklace.

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