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Placebo Effect in Sports Products

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Almost every person has seen an ad in which a product is presented as a guaranteed way to improve athletic performance. Often times, such merchandise is sponsored by a renowned athlete. While the actual science behind the ameliorative properties of most products may be exaggerated, many consumers swear that the advertised effects are authentic. Such an outcome can be explained by the placebo effect, which describes a beneficial outcome resulting from a certain product that is attributed to the belief that the product will function as advertised regardless of its legitimacy. While the placebo effect may apply to any type of product, it has been particularly prominent in sports-related goods.
Various products ranging from post-exercise recovery oils to protein bars have been claimed to have significant effects on athleticism. However, when studies on these products are conducted, they are often proven to have no significant sports related effects. Perhaps the most publicized scandal regarding the placebo effect in sports can be seen with the Power Balance Bracelet. The Power Balance Bracelet is claimed to improve strength, balance, and flexibility and had famous sponsors including basketball players Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom. With such claims and support, the product performed relatively well, grossing $5.6 million in revenue, only to be later exposed for not actually having the capability to improve athletic performance. After receiving pressure from the Australian government to produce evidence, Power Balance was forced to admit that the bracelet provided no significant improvement to athletic performance. Nonetheless, consumers of the band claimed that it had worked as advertised. Such as the buyers of these products, CHS students are no exception to coming under the influence of the placebo effect.
“I’ve bought plenty of things like creatine and whey protein to improve strength,” senior Bryan Huang said. “ I feel that the products that I buy improve my athleticism even though some studies say that they provide benefits no better than a typical healthy diet.”
The placebo effect suggests that an individual could have great athleticism; however, if they believe that they will fail, it is unlikely they will perform satisfactorily. As demonstrated, the mind is perhaps the most significant contributor to athletic performance.

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Placebo Effect in Sports Products