A reader has asked us to look into Nikken products which are touted as harnessing the various energies that exist in the natural environment to deliver better health and wellness. Are these products the real deal?
For those who have never heard of this company, it distributes a wide range of products that rely upon “advanced magnet technology” such as Power Bands and necklaces, negative-ion air filtration systems, sport socks and wraps that are made from materials that contain “ceramic-reflective fibers that absorb energy from multiple sources”, PiMag water filtration devices, as well as a full line of natural nutrition and skin care products.
Nikken products, which are sold through a distributor network, are supposedly based on the five pillars of health – body, mind, family, society and finances.
“A balanced approach to living strengthens each of these pillars, and results in a more satisfying, healthy and rewarding lifestyle. Nikken offers you the means to attain this balance, through Nikken products and the Nikken business opportunity.”
The company’s website is full of very scientific-sounding descriptions of their various products but offers no actual studies or clinical trials to prove any of the claims they make about the effectiveness of their merchandise.
The company was founded in 1975 when a man named Isamu Masuda “conceived of an invention that would relax and energize millions of people who suffered from one of mankind’s most common complaints: sore feet, and the fatigue that this extends to the entire body.”
Masuda apparently drew his inspiration “from the pebbled surface at the bottom of a Japanese public bath, added magnetism and the Magstep®, the first Nikken product, was born.”
The company claims this was a “pioneering idea – wellness solutions based on the natural world” and followed Magstep with KenkoCreator, Kenko Pad and Kenko sleep technology. They collected “a team of professionals” that eventually came to North America in 1989.
As scientifically astute as their website descriptions may sound, most of their claims are dubious. For instance, many of their products contain specially created static magnets which they say help counterbalance our diminished contact with the Earth’s magnetic field – something they call Magnetic Equalizing Technology.
One such product is the PowerBand which supposedly employs carefully spaced magnets and far-infrared technology to deliver a “gentle warming effect” on the wearer.
The only problem is that there is no scientific evidence to prove that the use of static magnets has any kind of therapeutic effect on the human body.
As for the “gentle warming effect”, this study specifically addresses these claims and concludes that magnets do not produce any kind of heat. “No meaningful thermal effect was observed with any treatment over time, and treatments did not differ from each other,” this study found. “We conclude that flexible therapeutic magnets were not effective for increasing skin or deep temperatures, contradicting one of the fundamental claims made by magnet distributors.”
The company makes similar questionable claims about its PiMag water filtration system, claiming that “special pi ceramics from deep-sea coral reflect far infrared energy – sometimes called the ‘wavelength of life’.” The water then flows through a magnetic field to complete the process of filtration.
Again, this is very scientific sounding stuff, but when real scientists take a look at the claims, they fall apart.
“No evidence is offered to suggest that these devices are any more useful than an ordinary filter-equipped water pitcher,” writes Stephen Lower, retired faculty member of the Dept. of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby/Vancouver, Canada. “The claims relating to magnets, enhanced oxygen content, vibrations, pi-particles and acid/alkaline balance are scientifcally absurd.”
Lower sums up the company as a “pseudoscience supermarket that offers a huge variety of alternative-health products of dubious value through hundreds of independent dealers. Many based on weird-water, far-infrared and magnetic pseudoscientific nonsense.”