London - To the uninitiated, they look like ordinary black bracelets.

And that, it would seem, is exactly what some so-called sports bands are – despite their hefty price tag.

The bracelets have become the latest must-have among amateur athletes hoping to improve their performance.

But tests on a black bangle made by Shuzi showed it did nothing to improve the skill and accuracy of an amateur rugby player.

The £59 (about R700) bangle is one of a range which contain a chip said to have been programmed to make the cells in the blood separate, boosting circulation. This, it is claimed, can improve balance, strength, concentration, flexibility and energy.

The Merseyside Skeptics Society bought two of the bracelets and removed the chip from one of them. A semi-professional rugby player then took 100 conversion kicks, half with each bracelet, but without knowing which was which.

The results showed the chip had made little or no difference to his performance. - Daily Mail