Is Kailo Pain Relief a Scam? Let’s take a look….
Kailo is another new crowdfunding product on indiegogo, that to date has raised over an astonishing $2,000,000 AUD.
Advertised as “The Future of Pain Relief“, Kailo is sold as a miraculous pain-relief solution that you don’t need to eat, don’t need to touch, and that doesn’t require batteries – and yet never runs out. They claim that it is a “nanotech bio-antenna that interacts with electrical signals in your body, naturally relieving pain.”
While these are certainly astonishing claims, amazing claims require extraordinary proof, and here is where things start to get concerning. While Kailo has been promoted on other websites, to date, I have not found anyone on the internet actually examining and critiquing their specific claims.
How does Kailo Work?
Now, Kailo have a section on their main product page titled “So, how does it work?“. Let’s take a look at what they say:
“Kailo interacts with the body’s electrical system. Each Kailo contains a patented array of nanocapacitors that work as a bio antenna, assisting the body in clear communication to turn down the volume on your pain.“
Ok – there is a lot there that is “sciencey-sounding”, perhaps enough to almost be believable. Let’s break down the bogus:
- “Kailo interacts with the body’s electrical system“.
All electrical systems need to have a conductive pathway to work – this means that for any device to have any effect on the body’s electrical system, it must be touching the body. Kailo does not require contact with the skin, so how can it interact with the body’s electrical system?
Secondly, for any device to operate, it requires a power source. This could be a battery, a solar panel, a piezeelectric element – there’s a range of different options. Kailo has no power source! An example of a different pain-relief system that does interact with the body’s electrical system is Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which actually does work for muscle pain. Unlike Kailo, TENS requires contact with the skin, and requires a power source like batteries in order to operate.
- “Each Kailo contains a patented array of nanocapacitors“
Now, this part could be true – I have not tested Kailo, but even so it is completely irrelevant! There is no evidence that nanocapacitors alone can cause pain relief. At the bottom of the Kailo homepage, is the text: “Kailo licenses technology from nCAP technologies.”. When you lookup nCap technology, you find a link to “nCap Medical“, which in turn links to “nCap Pain Relief“. You will see – nCAP Pain Relief looks like the same kind of product as Kailo! It turns out, nCAP also had a kickstarter. If you visit the nCap medical page, there is a section by the supposed inventor, “Rhett Spencer”. When you lookup patents by nCAP technologies, you will find that they do indeed hold a patent by Rhett Spencer – you can see it for yourself, it’s this one. However, the nCAP patent has nothing at all in it about pain-relief! Irrelevant patents hold no significance as proof. Remember, a patent alone means nothing – you don’t need to prove something works in order to get a patent. In other words, having a patent does not mean that your product works. I can patent the lightsaber if I wanted too, but I don’t need to show anybody proof that it actually works.
- “nanocapacitors that work as a bio-antenna“
Lets first talk about “nano-capacitors”. Nano-capacitors are nothing inherently special – Kailo is supposedly coated with nano-particles where each particle can act as a capacitor. What happens when you combine millions of nano-capacitors? You get one normal capacitor. We’ve had capacitors around for decades, and no-one has yet found a way to use capacitors by themself for pain relief.
Next, while capacitors can certainly be used as part of an antenna design, an antenna alone does nothing – you need other components as well. Antenna’s can receive or transmit signals, but received signals are always far, far weaker than transmitted signals from direct contact. Yes, technology exists to pickup nerve signals on our skin – but even with today’s highly-sensitive electronics, these nerve signals are still incredibly faint even when in direct contact with the skin, while Kailo claims it even works through layers of clothing.
- “bio-antenna, assisting the body in clear communication to turn down the volume on your pain“
This is again just faux-medical waffle. There is no such thing about reducing pain by increasing clear communication. Pain-relief typically works by blocking communication transmitters or receptor points to prevent pain signals being transmitted, which is the complete opposite of what Kailo is claiming.
Secondly, there is no information about what kind of signals the Kailo antenna is supposedly receiving. We don’t yet know how to detect the difference between nerve signals for pain, and nerve signals for information like touch or temperature. Even if (big if!) Kailo affected pain signals, it would also be likely to affect other signals. This is probably a good thing – if Kailo really worked, then holding Kailo near your head could be dangerous as it could affect the billions of nerves and signals in the brain!
Finally, while antennas can certainly be used to both receive and send signals, for a new signal to be emitted from an antenna requires having an amplifier – which would require power to operate. There are no claims about Kailo amplifying any signals, and Kailo apparently does not require power. There is no explanation provided about how the Kailo patch could possibly send any signal that affects the body, without needing a power source.
Overall, Kailo have a fancy sounding paragraph, but in reality they do not explain how their product actually works. In summary, there is no credible proof offered for how this product works.
So if the product is so bogus, why does it seem to be working at all for some people?
For starters, if you look at the customer questions on Indiegogo, it is clear that for many people it does not work at all. But why does it work for some?
Welcome to the Placebo effect – this is a well-known and well understood yet curious phenomenon, that about 1/3 of people who believe that something will help their symptoms, find that that it helps them! Even for fake devices, all it takes is for the people to believe that it works, and their brain will change it. For example, if I told you that eating a sugar cube, followed by a salt cube would reduce your pain, and you actually believed my claims, there is a good chance you you might actually find a reduction in pain! Even people who are sceptical, may unconciously be susceptible to the placebo effect. In scientific studies we design tests specifically to avoid the placebo effect using placebo product (non-functional) control groups, to compare against results from the product being tested.
Who is behind Kailo?
Kailo was founded by Stuart Mugleston Fetzer in Feb 2018. He is a material science engineer (just like myself!) from the University of Utah (not like myself). Stuart professes to have an active faith (like myself) and is an active member of the Church of Latter-day Saints (not like myself), and he teaches adult religion classes at Brigham Young University. He lives in Sandy, Utah with his family, where he runs a number of other businesses alongside Kailo (aka – Pain Relief Technologies LLC), including High Line Funds LLC. It is unclear what the connection is with nCAP (the antenna patent owner, run by Rhett F Spencer & Anthony J Sutera), other than they are both operated in Utah and appear to also be LDS members.
Having pain sucks. In my opinion, Kailo looks 100% like a scam, and I recommend you save your dollars. Talk to your doctor about other options.
UPDATE (feb 2020): I bought a Kailo so you don’t have to.
Postscript: other things I missed:
- Their promo youtube video at the start of the indiegogo campaign only has less than 20,000 views (19,286 as of 5/11/19), but yet they have 9,835 backers? Something fishy here!
- The “coach” in their kailo promo video is Bart Johnson, an actor.
- Kailo tried to provide a more detailed explanation of how it works on facebook – just as bogus, and I note that they mis-spelled anesthetic. They talk about healing, but as mentioned below, they admit that Kailo is certainly not any kind of cure.
- Kailo was launched on Kickstarter, but for some undisclosed reason they have moved to indiegogo.
Kailo is not a cure
This is important. If Kailo was advertised to cure or treat any medical condition, Kailo would be in deep doo-doo with the FDA. This is why they are very careful to clarifiy that Kailo is not a cure.
Kailo Reviews and Testimonials