Pavlok wristband sends shock to help prevent bad habits

Are you trying to a kick a habit of eating fast food, smoking, swearing or nail biting? This bracelet claims to literally shock you out of your bad habit.

Pavlok is a bracelet that sends a 350-volt jolt to the wearer every time they find themselves falling victim to a habit they're working to change. The company says the behavior training device uses negative stimuli (the shock) and association (the habit) to teach your brain to associate the two stimuli together, called aversive therapy, until your brain no longer likes the bad habit.

The effect is similar to the reaction of a friend who got food poisoning from a particular restaurant and will no longer eat there, or someone who swears off alcohol after having a bad hangover from too many shots, the company says.

A burger is seen in this 2018 file photo, alongside the Pavlok bracelet.

A burger is seen in this 2018 file photo, alongside the Pavlok bracelet. (Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images and Pavlok)

The user simply presses down on a lightning bolt symbol on the bracelet every time they find themselves falling victim to their bad habit. Pavlok has 10 different strength settings, which can be described as “something between a static shock and someone pinching you,” the company said in an email.

There is a Pavlok app where the strength of the shock can be adjusted. If the bracelet user is worried about their amount of self-discipline, a friend or family member can also download the app and send a shock to the wearer.

The Pavlok 2 sells for $199.99 online. The company claims that within three to five days, users will begin to notice their cravings significantly reduced, “if not gone entirely.”

Creator Maneesh Sethi was inspired to create the Pavlok from his own issues with productivity, suffering from ADHD, and too much time spent on social media, the company said.

In 2012, Sethi hired a girl on Craigslist to slap him in the face every time he went on Facebook and wrote a article about the experience. Sethi said his productivity skyrocketed that day and realized there was something behind the idea, which ultimately led to the Pavlok.

The company said its number-one use case is for waking up early and also sells a Shock Clock 2 bracelet for $149.99, aiming to train the wearer to wake up.

“Our product vibrates, beeps, and zaps until the user gets up and does jumping jacks,” the company said. “This has been EXTREMELY effective for heavy sleepers (and) people with sleep disorders.”