I was recently given a new device to try out, the Re-Fa Pro Platinum Electronic Roller. I have taken to pronouncing Re-Fa as reefer, as I can only imagine that the person that designed this thing was under the influence at the time. You see, so many things about Re-Fa perplex me.

First of all there is the shape. Now, this may say more about the circles that I run in than the Re-Fa itself, but everyone who has seen it has remarked on how it resembles body parts that should only be discussed amongst adults. I don’t really understand how it works, if it works, and if indeed it does work what it is supposed to do. And then there is the implausible price tag of $320.

The Re-Fa claims to be microcurrent. Although it is like no other microcurrent device that I have seen or tried. Re-Fa’s accompanying literature says that our bodies naturally emit a low level current and the Re-Fa generates one at a similar level. I’m not sure how since the device doesn’t exactly power up. It is cordless, without batteries but does have a solar panel. I left it out in the sun for a few hours and the only noticeable change was that the plastic handle got hot. The rollers are platinum and geranium, which – and this does seem to make sense – is a semi-conductor used in transistors.

The angle of the rollers’ v-shaped design is supposed to mimic the hands of a masseuse. And this is it: you roll the Re-Fa pretty much anywhere you like over the body or face. You can do this whilst watching TV or taking a bath (yes, the device may be plunged in water), which the Re-Fa model does in her underclothes (at least they are not the “Emporer’s new ones”). Personally, I will concede the sensation of the rollers over the skin is not unpleasant, yet I did not get the promised instant sense of well-being.

I don’t know whether to commend Re-Fa for not making any other promises or be frustrated. On reading through the literature and watching the DVD that came with the device, it never really says what it is supposed to do for the user. Re-Fa is made in Japan and perhaps this reflects a cultural (decidedly not American) unwillingness to explicitly explain the benefits. Perhaps the same inhibitions prevent anyone asking impolitely, so what does this actually do and why should I spend $320 on it.

Perhaps the rather vague reference to having the spirits lifted should be enough. And may be it is. After all the similar sounding reefer makes no more than the same claim.