Sometimes, the best scientific breakthroughs come from the unlikeliest of sources. Isaac Newton discovered gravity when he saw an apple fall. Dr. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin when he accidentally left a petri dish open. And Einstein invented space while tripping on LSD*. But we never thought we’d see the day when Major League Baseball revolutionized the way our bodies work.
That, above, is the Yankees version of the PHITEN Aqua-Titanium necklace that plenty of players have been wearing on the field recently. You can buy it right on the MLB Shop webpage, and there are versions for other teams. As the blurb says (worth mentioning again: this is actually on the MLB website without a disclaimer), the necklace will “regulate the body’s natural electric currents through cell ionization” and “[promote] muscle relaxation, pain and stress relief, fatigue reduction, blood circulation improvement thus helping prevent injury.” That, if it were true, would be the single greatest breakthrough in medicine since forever.
One tiny, insignificant, you-should-probably-buy-five-of-these-anyway detail: that claim isn’t exactly scientific. From the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER:
The necklaces apparently have plenty of believers - or, at least, admirers. Dozens of major-league players have been wearing them this year. And they’ve become even more noticed in the World Series as both teams’ star players have them.
The specially treated titanium is the brainchild of Yoshihiro Hirata, CEO of Phiten, a 20-year-old company based in Japan. Hirata started out making the titanium as beads.
The necklaces are worn in Europe and Japan by professional athletes, from marathon runners to tennis players. Several years ago, a group of American baseball players who were in Japan noticed Japanese athletes sporting the necklaces.
“The players brought the necklaces home with them,” said Scott McDonald, a spokesman for Phiten, “and the trend started from there.”
It’s good that nobody at Phiten went on the record there about the necklaces’ medical benefits, because um, yeah, no:
“It seems like what these necklaces do is work on the placebo effect more than anything else,” said Mark A. Testaiuti, a spinal neurosurgeon with Coastal Spine, in Mount Laurel and Washington Township.
“We may subconsciously feel an improvement, but that is more based on our expectations than what the devices have been scientifically proved to do for us.”
Nonbeliever! Heathen! Witch! These necklaces have “aqua-titanium,” and while that’s a term invented by Phiten (not unlike Jeep’s ill-fated “Trail Rated” campaign from a few years back), it totally means that the metal is like controlling our bodies. How can you deny this?! Our lives are in Phiten’s hands! Why, $40 is a bargain with our natural electrical currents so out of whack. We should be so thankful. (wanking motion)
The best part though, of course, is that the necklace is under MLB’s “Authentic” collection. Placebos, after all, are the most authentic treatment in medical history.
*This sentence is untrue for probably thousands of reasons.