14.06.2024

Is Meghan Markle’s anti-stress patch just pseudoscience?

Questions were today being asked over the legitimacy of claims made about the ‘magic’ bracelet worn by Meghan Markle. The Duchess of Sussex, 42, raised eyebrows as she was pictured near her Montecito home with a mysterious blue patch attached to her wrist.

Although at first glance it appeared to look like sticker, it was quickly revealed to be a $4 gadget designed to send calming signals to the brain.

NuCalm, the US-based firm which makes the ‘Biosignal Processing Disc’, claims that its products are ‘clinically proven to reduce stress and improve sleep’.

Experts immediately cast doubt over the science supposedly supporting one of the gadget’s major claims, however.

Meghan Markle was pictured over the weekend near her home in Montecito, California, showing off a £3.15 patch that promises to zap stress from the body

The patches, which cost $4 (£3.15) each and are sold in packs of 20 or 100, promise to make users feel more relaxed

The patches, which cost $4 (£3.15) each and are sold in packs of 20 or 100, promise to make users feel more relaxed

Professor Guy Leschziner, a neurologist from King’s College London, said it sounded suspiciously like ‘pseudoscience’ that it can give the benefits of two hours of sleep in just 20 minutes.

The patches, sold in packs of 20 or 100, promise to make all users feel more relaxed and are said to work like human batteries.

They are stuck to the skin three fingers below the left wrist — on the ‘pericardium-6 acupuncture point’, which is the same point anti-sickness wristbands put pressure on in a bid to relieve nausea and vomiting. This location, according to traditional Chinese medicine, has a direct connection with the heart.

Each contains a tiny Tesla coil – a type of electric circuit designed by inventor Nikola Tesla in 1891.

They emit waves mimicing the natural frequencies of neurotransmitters in the body, such as gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA) and L-Theanine.

NuCalm claims this activates the body’s internal GABAergic system, which is said to involved in regulating anxiety, muscle tension and memory.

The so-called biosignals transmitted interrupt ‘the cortisol and adrenaline response’, the body’s main stress hormones.

The devices, developed over a period of 20 years by the late neuroscientist Dr Blake Holloway, also slow brainwave frequency and relax the mind and body, NuCalm says.

Plans, which range from £235 to £2,750 a year, see users wear the patches alongside using NuCalm apps that promise to boost sleep and focus energy.

Users select a programme for guided relaxation where two frequencies are played through headphones.

These relaxation therapies, which use ‘neuroacoustic’ software, are said to turn high beta brain waves — associated with fear — into alpha brain waves, linked to meditation.

They are thought to be particularly helpful for those hoping to overcome a phobia of dental procedures.

Claims include that using its patch and sleep app for 20 minutes ‘can give you the benefits of over 2 hours of restorative sleep’, according to the company’s website.

Jim Poole, chief executive of parent company Solace Lifesciences, said: ‘NuCalm is magic. It’s a miracle.

‘It is the perfect antidote to the poignancy of our stressed-out times and it will change your life.’

However, the science behind the tech is weak, according to Professor Leschziner, a consultant neurologist.

He told The Telegraph there is ‘some evidence’ that the body’s acoustic signals can be utilised to regulate brainwaves.

But he says the company’s claims ‘sounds like pseudoscience’.

‘How you could possibly say that 20 minutes of sleep under this device equates to two hours of normal deep sleep, I just don’t understand,’ Professor Leschziner said.

Previous inventions from NuCalm include chewable supplements, skin creams, headphones playing relaxing music and lightblocking glasses.

But NuCalm says the blue discs are the most effective and affordable invention yet.

It notes that some users experience heat, tingling or redness at the site of the disc, while others don’t feel anything. The patch can be moved to the shoulder blade or ball of the foot if it triggers discomfort or irritation, according to NuCalm.

Shortly after the pictures of Meghan wearing the device were shared, NuCalm posted the images on its Instagram, stating: ‘Yes, that’s the nucalm bio-signalling disc, a tool to get the most clinical benefit from your NuCalm subscription.’

It attached a link for a seven-day free trial to its post.

Advocates of the patch include life coach guru Tony Robbins, who has been accused of promoting pseudo-science and labelled a ‘snake-oil salesman’.

‘When you’ve got Tony Robbins as your main proponent, that has to ring some alarm bells,’ Professor Leschziner told The Telegraph.

The Duchess of Sussex has long promoted the importance of mental health.

During her 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey — a year after she and the Prince quit their Royal duties — she revealed that she had suffering from suicidal thoughts, saying: ‘I just didn’t want to be alive any more.’

Meghan told Oprah that she was sharing her mental health struggles ‘because there’s so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help’.

Shortly after the interview, Prince Harry worked with Oprah on a six-part mental health series called The Me You Can’t See.

In this series, he explained that he had used drink and drugs between the ages of 28 and 32 to cope with his traumatic childhood.

He added that he had later turned to therapy to ‘heal [himself] from the past’.

How does NuCalm’s  bio-signalling disc work?

The patches, sold in packs of 20 or 100, promise to make all users feel more relaxed and are said to work like human batteries.

They are stuck to the skin three fingers below the left wrist — on the ‘pericardium-6 acupuncture point’. This location, according to traditional Chinese medicine, has a direct connection with the heart.

Each contains a tiny Tesla coil – a type of electric circuit designed by inventor Nikola Tesla in 1891.

They emit waves mimicing the natural frequencies of neurotransmitters in the body, such as gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA) and L-Theanine.

NuCalm claims this activates the body’s internal GABAergic system, which is said to involved in regulating anxiety, muscle tension and memory.

The so-called biosignals transmitted interrupt ‘the cortisol and adrenaline response’, the body’s main stress hormones.

The devices, developed over a period of 20 years by the late neuroscientist Dr Blake Holloway, also slow brainwave frequency and relax the mind and body, NuCalm says.

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