Monday, April 11, 2011

Will wearing a pretty wristwatch reduce anxiety, or make you sleep better?

Yes, to some extent it can. A stopwatch function can help you keep track of time during a presentation, and reduce your stress or level of anxiety. Having a familiar wrist alarm to wake you up reliably in a hotel room is far better than depending on an unfamiliar alarm clock.

But there are grander claims made for some watches, like those from the Philip Stein Company. According to their video and web page they are supposed to expose frequencies and information to the human biofield, which regulates the body’s functions, and tells the body to relax. The watches are very pretty and expensive, and have appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show about her Favorite Things. On the community page at the Philip Stein web site there are publicity photos of many other smiling celebrities, including the Chinese National Badminton Team.

There are other press releases on the web site that describe favorable results from a clinical study of sleep, but don’t bother to link to the final magazine article about it (or mention their their Sleep Natural Frequency Technology). The article appeared in Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy. It has the grand title of A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo Controlled, Crossover Evaluation of Natural Frequency Technology and Sleep Natural Frequency Technology on Sleep in Normal Subjects with Un-refreshing Sleep. However, the article concludes that there was no statistically significant difference between the placebo devices and ones with their Natural Frequency Technology. Harriet Hall pointed this out in a blog post about Frequencies and Their Kindred Delusions. As I have said before about Bach Rescue Remedy, you should always look at the magazine article rather than trusting what you read in a press release.

Back in 2003, an article in Wired discussed their earlier watch design using Teslar technology as being just A Watch Powered by Snake Oil. The Teslar web site describes that technology. It also notes that a clinical study of whether the watch reduces stress also had negative results. The Skeptic’s Dictionary refers to the watches as a type of placebo jewelry. Last year there also was an interview with Ilonka Harezi about her and Teslar.   

By the way, there is not actually a human being named Philip Stein at the Philip Stein Company. The owners are Will and Rina Stein. Since they are a Goliath at marketing, the company instead should have been named Phil I. Stine.

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