TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – We all have bad habits, from nail biting to smoking to snacking too much. But, one product making its rounds across social media is aiming to cure folks of their bad habits.
The device is known as the “Pavlok” – more specifically, the “Pavlok 2.”
According to the Pavlok website, the device “uses beep, vibration and zap to help you break bad habits and build good ones.”
Those who wear it push a button to shock themselves when they start to do things like reach for that cigarette. Shocks for other bad habits, such as sleeping in, can be set up using the company’s mobile app.
The device’s battery has the capacity for over 150+ “tiny jolts,” according to the website.
The idea is for a person’s brain to associate the bad behavior of a habit with the uncomfortable shock.
The website states those who use the device will begin to notice cravings “significantly reduced, if not gone entirely within three to five days.”
But does shocking yourself over and over to keep your hand out of that cookie jar make sense?
Tampa psychiatrist Dr. Walter Afield doesn’t think so.
“They put it on you and you’re supposed to find nirvana and some new thing and get a shock and get this and that…that’s, that’s hocus pocus,” he said. “There is no such thing. I wish there were. I wish there were a magic pill or a magic shock box or a magic thing you put on your head or on your wrist. But that’s wishful thinking.”
Pavlok’s website is full of science and data about shocks being used as aversion therapy for more than 80 years.
Users have given testimonials, saying they’ve stopped doing things like sleeping in and grinding their teeth.
“I feel like I’m back in control of my relationship with food. I feel like I have a much healthier relationship with food,” user “Tasha” describes in one video.
Dr. Afield said he wishes quitting bad habits were actually this easy.
“Everyone’s looking for a magic cure today. They don’t want psychotherapy, they don’t want to see any psychiatrists,” he said. “They went through the pill phase now they want some new magical thing to cure it. It’s, you know, sort of psychotherapy and fries to go. That’s the mentality.”
The company confirms on their website they are in the process of filing for FDA clearance and running clinical tests, which have not been completed. Pavlok is not a medical device.
8 On Your Side reached out to Pavlok for further comment and has not yet heard back.