Negative ion bracelet — Good for health?

Hi Alice,

I heard about the Ion Power Balance Bracelets and that is good for the health. Is that true and how it is good? What do they exactly do and should I buy one?

Hope you will answer my question.



Dear Khalil,  

You might have seen ion power bracelets and other types of energy bracelets on the wrists of both pro athletes and consumers. Those who wear the bracelets report they feel more powerful, have improved coordination, and experience mood boosts! There are two types of power bracelets marketed to the public. The holographic type claims to use holographic technology to vibrate at the same frequency as your body and enhance performance. Other power bracelets, such as the ones you mention, claim to use negative ions to reduce stress and anxiety. Although both sound useful, several studies show that the science behind these bracelets may not be all that. What may be a more likely explanation is that the effects of these bracelets come from the placebo effect — a beneficial effect that’s caused by believing in the treatment, rather than the treatment itself. If you decide you want to try out a power bracelet, it’s wise to keep in mind that any benefits you see may not be coming from the bracelet itself, rather your belief in them. Want to charge ahead and learn more? Keep reading!

So, what is a negative ion and what good does it do? Here’s a quick brush up on some general chemistry: atoms are made up of a nucleus containing protons (positive charge), neutrons (neutral charge), and electrons (negative charge). Atoms that have the same number of protons and electrons are said to be neutral: that is, they have no net positive or negative charge. A neutral atom that has gained an electron is a negative ion.  

Negative ions that are inhaled and reach the bloodstream are believed to boost serotonin levels. Increased serotonin levels could help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while boosting mood and energy. You may be surprised to learn that negative ions exist in nature, and they’re associated with places that people tend to feel are rejuvenating — waterfalls, beaches with strong waves, or the air after a heavy or hard rain. Additionally, negative ion therapies (where negative ions are emitted from a machine into the air) have shown promise as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) due to its antidepressant qualities. This may be why the allure for the ion power bracelet is so compelling.  

Manufacturers of negative ion bracelets and other power bracelets claim that these products mimic the effects of the negative ions that exist in nature, thus enhancing performance and reducing anxiety. However, research on the bracelets reveals that they may not be able to deliver the actual negative ions to the bloodstream. Furthermore, studies on several types of negative ion bracelets have shown to have no effect on various performance qualities, such as strength, flexibility, endurance, or balance. Any effect that researchers did observe were due to the placebo effect, which may cause wearers to believe that the bracelets are improving performance or lessening feelings of anxiety, when really the improvements come from the wearers themselves. A number of science and medical leaders have stated that they don’t believe the bracelets have an ability to improve strength, coordination, or peace of mind as many manufacturers claim. In fact, some bracelet companies have even come under fire from the Federal Trade Commission for claiming that their bracelets were effective at reducing pain — claims that haven’t been shown in research. A lawsuit against one of the bracelet brands resulted in the company admitting to misleading consumers, and that they had no evidence of the bracelets proving their health claims.  

Although there is no proven correlation between what the manufacturers and some wearers’ claim with actual science, the bracelets aren’t harmful, so you may decide to try one for yourself! Even a placebo effect is still an effect. And keep in mind that if you don’t experience any difference in your physical or psychological health, you can always rely on the tried-and-true benefits of getting out into nature: by going for a hike, finding a good beach, or even just taking a stroll after a heavy rain.  

Here’s to hoping you find a little positive in the negativity! 

Last updated Aug 13, 2021
Originally published Jun 06, 2014

Can’t find information on the site about your health concern or issue?