Thursday, June 18, 2020
Copper Fit's stone soup
Let's be honest- just as it was only a matter of time before some company began to add copper- or the concept of copper, or just the name "copper"- to knee sleeves in order to sell them to the population of woo-ingesting idiots out there whose brains are in the 12th century and who think that copper is Magic, it was also pretty inevitable that the same company would remember that there's a larger population of not-so-very-stupid people out there who associate menthol with pain management and start adding THAT to their knee sleeves. I'm just kind of amazed that it took this long.
Menthol was first isolated as a chemical in the late-18th century, and today is used in dozens of different products, probably coming closer to the old description of a Magical Cure-All than anything since the formation of the FDA. It's used in cough drops, cough syrup, creams and inhalers to relieve cold symptoms. It's found in antibacterials to relieve itching and swelling, and lip balms to prevent and treat chapping and cracking. And, of course, it's used to reduce ("provide temporary relief from") muscle aches and pains.
To that last point, menthol is the main active ingredient in balms and other topical treatments made by multiple competing pharmaceutical companies, and for good reason: It's cheap (though not quite as cheap as just adding the word "copper" to your product) and enjoys a positive reputation built from years of practical experience. I doubt there's an adult in the United States who wasn't raised to just ASSUME that menthol does what the companies selling it to you say it does. It would be like questioning the power of water to quench thirst. Practically heresy.
So why would I snark Copper Fit for adding menthol to its knee sleeves? To answer this question, I simply have to go back to the title of this particular blog post. Copper Fit knee sleeves, by themselves, are pretty pointless, expensive little pieces of holistic nonsense which are sold with trumpeted claims of magic properties which "work" on people who are really susceptible to the placebo effect. The commercials look great, these old people who could barely walk are now running, these very believable, sincere-looking people who look like my family members and friends swear they work, plus- unlike that off-the-shelf stuff- they have this cool logo and are Infused with the Properties of Copper. If I put one on and am not running marathons five minutes later, I just Don't Believe Enough. Adding menthol is a very interesting concession by Copper Fit- it's adding actual vegetables and spice to a soup we were told was great already. Copper Fit might as well include a bottle of Tylenol and a jar of Biofreeze (only active ingredient: Menthol) and just raise the price of the sleeve a little. Maybe throw in a warm-up stretching routine as a bonus, Just Pay Extra Shipping and Handling. Don't worry, the great majority of the customer base for Copper Fit knee sleeves will continue to attribute any improvement to the Magic of Copper.