For the last couple of years, I’ve been seeing athletes, baseball players in particular, wearing necklaces that looked to be made of some type of cord with varying colors. I really didn’t give it much thought as I figured it was just another fashion trend that I somehow missed despite getting all of my advice from GQ and Maxim.

It turns out that these necklaces are not merely fashion accessories, but are made with titanium – not just any titanium – but a revolutionary new process! It’s coated with Aqua Titanium, has a core of micro-sized titanium spheres, as well as Carbonized Titanium. Wow! Carbonized Titanium!  It’s all part of the patented Energy Transport System.  (Did I say patented?  I meant trademarked.  Not really a difference, right?)

The manufacturer, Phiten, is very careful about making specific health claims but their authorized ditributers will tell you that it alleviates neck and shoulder pain, enhances athletic abilities, and will get you laid (I added that last one.) The Phiten site claims that “Phiten’s processes amplify the energy management system increasing the eficiency of each and every cell.”  What the hell does that even mean?

They have signed on several MLB players on endorsements including Josh Becket.  They are a Japanese company which may explain why Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima was the first player I remember seeing with one.

In any case, does this sound at all familiar?  Remember back a few years when everyone, especially golfers, were wearing metallic bracelets?  I can’t tell you how many people swore that they felt better.  Wrist, arm, shoulder, even back pain were gone.  A medical breakthrough for sure.  Remember that?  That was the Q-Ray bracelet which can still be purchased today for prices ranging from $70 to $300.

What you may not remember are the lawsuits filed by consumer agencies and the FTC against the manufacturer for making flase claims which eventually resulted in QT, Inc paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and customer refunds.  The company is still going strong but no longer makes claims on health benefits.

The Q-Ray (not unlike the Phiten necklace) was claimed to do all of miraculous things based on all sorts of psuedo-scientific and Chinese medicine type claims.  Q-ray made several different claims over time and changed their story as the law suits unfolded and punishment was handed down.  At one point, they claimed that the bracelet balanced ionic energies and increased the flow of energy.  Of course, nothing could be backed up with any scientific research or studies.  During the trial, the president of the company admitted that he could not define the term ionizing and that he picked it for marketing reasons.

So, before you go fork over your hard earned dollars on a new fancy titanium necklace just like Dustin Pedroia wears, do so knowing that any claims made for health benefits are not backed by valid medical science but it might be worthwhile anyhow, especially if it gets you laid.

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