Brace Yourself


Scam or magical pain relief, opinions have long been divided as to whether copper bracelets could help relieve arthritic and other types of pain. While some still claim they have experienced positive benefits, a number of scientific reports say that there is no benefit – other than the so-called placebo effect: you think something might help and therefore it does.

A newer twist on the copper bracelet is the copper-infused sports apparel. One of the biggest brands in the market is Tommie Copper, who had a turnover between April 2011 and October 2014 of $87 million – not bad for products that retailed for $30-$70 a time; making huge assumptions that the average retail was half way between the two, and their wholesale discount averaged 50% (so a wholesale value of $25), that provides a back-of-the-envelope guesstimate of around 3.5 million items sold in about 3 ½ years. The company ended up reaching a $1.35 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) who had charged the company with making false claims that the products would relieve severe pain and inflammation. While Tommie Copper didn’t admin the charges, Jessica Rich, a Director of the FTC, said “it’s tempting to believe that wearing certain clothing will eliminate severe pain, but Tommie Copper didn’t have science to back its claims.”

And now, a press release lands on our newsdesk, from “Copper United” who are selling a knee brace which includes copper. Interestingly, they focus more on the lack of odour saying “our sleeves can be wornall day and throughout the night without a hint of unwanted moisture or odour” and that “copper is able to generate a magnetic field that encourages the body to cure, regenerate tissues, and overall heal various illnesses” – so they are not claiming that the copper heals, but that it encourages the body to heal itself.

One aspect does have medical support (no pun intended): the use of compression. The acronym RICE applies, standing for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The compressing of a strained or injured area works by limiting swelling and providing support.

Beyond this, SpyCycle remains sceptical. There are however loads of positive reviews for the products where they are sold on Amazon, with 88% giving them either 4 or 5 stars, compared with just 4% awarding 1 or 2 stars.

Anthony Ferris, founder and CEO of Copper United said “Keeping the skin dry is the paramount goal we set out to achieve with this Knee Brace. Dry skin prevents itching, sweating, odours, bacterial build-up, and all around discomfort. Consider incorporating the benefits of Knee Braces again with our easy to use, easy to wear, and perfectly clean Copper United Knee Brace today.”


Bike & Cycle News – SpyCycle

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