Survival Straps, one of the big names in paracord bracelets, has recently released a new line of bracelets called Active Edge, which claim to have been enhanced with “InBalance technology” for better range of motion, strength, and recovery. I’ve been testing one of their bracelets for a few weeks now. Did my experiment of one prove to be a success?
The timing for this review worked out quite well for me. I recently had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in my left knee, and I just finished my prescribed course of physical therapy. My primary physical activity is running, and I was cleared to run a few days before the bracelet arrived. In addition, there are several exercises and stretches that I was doing before and after the bracelet, so I tried to (unscientifically) measure any differences I felt as a result of wearing the Active Edge strap. The company also provided us with scientific studies backing up their assertions, and I have asked a friend of mine who is a biologist to read them over since I haven’t taken a science class in 15 years. When we have her professional opinion back, we’ll add it to the end of this review, but until then we’ll focus on my personal observations of my experience with Active Edge.
I hate to say this, but it didn’t seem to have any impact on my physical well-being. I didn’t feel any difference in running with or without the bracelet. Yes, I continued to show steady improvement at physical therapy, but I was already showing improvement before the bracelet. Two months of PT did have a tremendous impact on my overall knee flexibility, and I found that my knee had better range of motion than I had before I tore my meniscus (I tore my ACL in that knee years ago, so there were some pre-existing issues there). Since PT had such a huge impact, I have a very hard time crediting the last 5% or so of improvement in range of motion to a paracord bracelet. PT managed to get me from 70% to 85%, and it’s hard to believe it was the bracelet, and not the ongoing stretches and workouts, that got me to that next bit. I did experience some discomfort in my knee as the weather turned suddenly cold, but I can’t say the bracelet did anything to take the edge off the pain, or that it would have been worse without it. Is it possible there was some marginal improvement as a result of this magical “InBalance” technology? Sure, it’s entirely possible that the improvement and edge it gave me were incremental, but, again, I just don’t feel like it added anything in particular that simply staying on top of physical therapy and doing my exercises on time wasn’t already doing.
Before you think I am being too harsh, bear in mind these are the main assertions from their FAQ:
Who can benefit from Active Edge products?
Based on our clinical trials, testimonials and personal experiences, Active Edge products can benefit many different people and in different ways.
- Athletes looking to get an improvement in flexibility, strength and recovery.
- Runners trying to get better times.
- People looking to get a better night’s sleep.
- Senior citizens looking for a reduction in inflammation of the joints.
- People looking for pain reduction from ailments like arthritis.
- People looking to give their older dogs a boost.
Should I just wear my Active Edge product when I am doing an activity like working out or running?
The clinical trials show the technology should start to positively affect the human body within a couple of minutes. However, we recommend that you wear your bracelet or necklace 24 hours a day. There are 2 reasons for this.
Many testimonials say that positive affects seem to happen after a period of time. For example: You have a knee that aches from an old injury. You may not notice any difference to your knee within a few minutes of wearing your Active Edge bracelet. However, you may notice a reduction in pain in that knee after a few days of wearing the bracelet.
Medical experts believe that our technology helps to increase blood flow and oxygen intake. There are many positive benefits to this. You may find that there is an increase in your flexibility or endurance when working out. However, you may also find that you start sleeping much better when you wear the products. We suggest you wear your Active Edge gear around the clock or as often as possible to receive the maximum benefit in different areas.
I faithfully wore my Active Edge bracelet every day; in fact, I haven’t taken it off since it arrived two weeks ago. I’ve showered with it, worn it to work, and even wore it into the pool at one point. My knee still aches occasionally, as I said above, and I don’t feel that I’m sleeping differently or otherwise impacted. This may work for some people, but it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference in how my body responds to injury or stress.
On a positive note, the bracelet itself is quite nice. It’s well made, with a simple to use but high quality pin clasp. This isn’t coming off unless you take it off, which adds some security to wearing it. The stitching is tight and solid, and I’ve even gotten complements from people who noted how attractive it is. (It’s worth noting as an aside that my wife Sarah did NOT agree, and thought it was quite ugly.) I like that the clasp has multiple holes so you can have it as tight or loose as you’d like. This is key for a bracelet you’re supposed to wear 24/7, since you may want it tighter or looser depending on your activities. Survival Straps is stamped into the clasp, but if you don’t like the advertising you can just keep the clasp facing in so the branding is hidden. And like all Survival Straps, you could dismantle this into paracord if you needed it to create a tourniquet while also using it to rappel down the side of a building. (Note: we’re exaggerating slightly. If you need a tourniquet, please seek out a medical professional, and do not assume paracord will stop the bleeding.)
If you like the look of paracord, and you have some minor aches and pains that might be helped with the power of suggestion, the Active Edge bracelets and necklaces start at $39.99. It’s a bit steep for a paracord bracelet that may or may not have actual medical powers (placebo effect, anyway); the medicinal aspect didn’t work for me, but if you think it will work for you, then it won’t hurt to give it a try.
Source: manufacturer provided review sample
What I Like: Attractive bracelet; solid build quality
What Needs Improvement: Assertions of physical improvement and benefits are dubious and we were unable to confirm or experience them for ourselves.