I recently went to Bluewater to buy some socks. I could have gone to other places but I needed to be out the house for a couple of hours until it was time to go to the cinema. I didn’t really want to buy anything else but I figured that I could see what the world looked like and wander the halls of capitalism a few times. Too many people were without masks in my opinion and so I am not sure I’ll be heading out to busy places anytime soon. The CV-19 situation right now in the country is not good even though everyone is treating it as though the world is back to normal. Anyway, while wandering the halls of Bluewater I saw two products being sold by pop-up stalls that sparked alerts in my head. One of these was a Bosch odour remover that has really piqued my curiosity, it’s £250 if you are interested. I think I’d rather just wash my clothes and not be a sticky arse. The product I’m going to write about here is the Recovapro.
A centre-of-the-aisle store had a bunch of massagers and some staff ready to demonstrate how they work. I wandered past initially but I did wonder if they make any unrealistic claims when speaking to people or in their literature. On the second pass I took one of the leaflets, more to remember to write about them and see what claims they make.
From the leaflet the Recovapro will relieve aches and pains. It is passionately used and trusted by athletes and sporting professionals who take wellness and recovery seriously[I wasn’t aware that athletes aren’t sporting professionals but there you are]. The benefits are:
- Encourage blood circulation.
- Relieve muscle soreness and stiffness.
- Promote muscle warm up and recovery.
- Naturally relieves chronic and acute pains.
- Relaxes the body for better sleep.
- Improves range of motion and flexibility.
All of these things seem to be vague claims about self limiting situations with regards to the body. Aches and pains go away by themselves. If you think you have better motion then you will report better motion whether you really do or do not. People consider this the placebo effect but in reality the placebo effect is just a scientific way of saying no real effect but self-reported results are boosted due to self-delusion. I have no idea whether the Recoverpro does or does not do any of the things claimed. Apparently this product is “clinically proven” and I will investigate that a little later.
The leaflet has a section on why it works. All of these five statements are more about how the device works in a mechanical sense rather than how it actually affects the body and so I’m writing off that page of the leaflet. Next section is about the benefits which is really a list of parts of the body and descriptions of what those bits of the body do. This page sounds quite sciency too. More information about how to use the product which is really a list of screen shots of YouTube videos showing how the device can be placed upon your body. The YouTube videos seem to claim that the device will “treat” particular areas of the body but I’m pretty sure it’s just how to contact the device with your skin.
The next page in the leaflet is a bunch of reviews on Trustpilot and I couldn’t give a shit about what other people think their device does. Testimonials are the worst kind of evidence possible and so this page is ignored and always should be. Recoverpro then answer the question “Why are we the best?” with a list of technical specifications compared with the competitors. There isn’t really anything here to explain why they are the best, just a bunch of numbers. These things cost GBP229 which seems a lot of money to me.
There isn’t really anything in the leaflet that makes enforceable claims. They mention wellness which isn’t a legally defined term and anyone can claim they can improve wellness. The other claims are all rather vague and have no scientific meaning. The use the work “treat” on the YouTube videos but then make no claims as to what they are treating or how it works and so there is a legitimate claim that they aren’t claiming they can treat actual diseases and injuries. This is all rather worrying really for a device that costs, what I consider, a lot of money.
I emailed the company and said I was interested in their product [true] but wondered what actual clinical evidence they had for it working. This is what I wrote:
I'm interested in your device but would like to see the clinical proof that you have. Could you send me a pdf [or similar] of what evidence you have that shows this device works as you claim? I'm super interested but it's quite a bit of money for me at the moment.
I got back a response and I was hoping they would have some decent clinical trials or science to back up their claims. As I said earlier the worst kind of evidence entirely is anecdotal and so I wanted something a little more formal. The whole reason science developed is that humans are very good at misleading themselves and so we have methods for ascertaining what is really going on. These methods, called science, remove all the human factors when done well. Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty about science that isn’t great but overall and in the long run it is a process that works and self-corrects. The response from the company was this:
On our website you can find a varied array of blogs, articles, stories and reviews showcasing how the Recovapro can help muscle tightness, aches and pains. Likewise, it is utilised by many physiotheraposts, masseurs and athletes.
So, on the website there are stories, blogs and reviews. None of this is good evidence to back up what the company claims. I was hoping for a little more. It’s a shame that all they have is anecdote. The fact that people use this device is not evidence that it works. The fact that people have spent over GBP200 on a device and think it helps them is not a surprise. I have spent money on amplifiers in the past and the more I spend the better quality the sound. It’s a bit like wine really, the more things cost the better the person thinks they are. I’m doubtful as to whether this device is a revolutionary as the company claims. I think it is just an expensive Hitachi Magic Wand with better marketing. Next time I am in the shopping centre I might see what health claims the people selling this actually make but this would also require me to get past my fear of actually talking to people.
This is communication number 1919 and so, in keeping with a recent trend on this site, here are some of the things that happened in that year:
- The great molasses flood killed 29 in Boston.
- There are riots in Glasgow over working hours.
- Amanullah Khan becomes King of Afghanistan.
- There’s a race riot in Chicago.
- The 1918 flu pandemic officially ends.