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Q&A: Baseball players' Phiten necklaces claim to balance energy flow

Necklaces for energy flow

What is the significance of the "necklaces" many of the players wore in the World Series?

Fox announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver mentioned them during the broadcast of the World Series, saying they improved circulation. The necklaces are made by Phiten, a Japanese company that has a contract with MLB, and are described as having an "exclusive Aqua-Titanium technology," according to Phiten's website.

The necklaces are said to "promote stable energy flow throughout the body. The benefits of this are longer-lasting energy, less fatigue, shortened recovery time and more relaxed muscles," the website said.

However, there is no U.S. scientific evidence to support that claim, according to a story written in April 2009 by Times medical writer Richard Martin. He talked with Jeff Konin, executive director for the Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma Institute at the University of South Florida.

"There are no studies that have looked at whether or not wearing one of these necklaces or bands has any impact or any change in one's body," said Konin. His view has been shared by others in the scientific and medical communities.

Still, Konin considers the products harmless. He likened the titanium bands' popularity to other products such as Breathe Right nasal strips, which were marketed successfully for athletes, despite a lack of evidence or science to back the manufacturer's claims.

Origins of name 'World Series'

Why is it called the World Series?

The origin of the name World Series can be traced to 1887, when the 1886 postseason series between the champion of the National League and the American Association played for "The World's Championship," according to Spalding's Baseball Guide.

"As the editor noted, the two leagues 'both entitle their championship contests each season as those for the baseball championship of the United States,' so a more grandiose name was required to describe the postseason showdown between the two 'champions of the United States,' " wrote the late Doug Pappas, an attorney who was the chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research Business of Baseball Committee.

According to Pappas, in 1904, another publication, the Reach Guide, called the first postseason series (played in 1903 between what are known as the National and American leagues) the World's Championship Series. Reach shortened it to World's Series in 1912 and to World Series in 1931.

The Spalding Guide switched to World Series in 1917. The Sporting News Guide used World's Series from 1942 to 1962, switching to World Series in the 1964 edition.

Q&A: Baseball players' Phiten necklaces claim to balance energy flow 11/14/10 [Last modified: Sunday, November 14, 2010 3:30am]

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