3 New Elite Athlete-Approved Therapies that Could Help Everyone

In a world where the pursuit of longevity is more fervent than ever, a groundbreaking revelation emerges from the epicenter of sports performance research. 

Imagine harnessing the power of light, cold, and electromagnetic pulses, not just to enhance athletic prowess but to potentially unlock a fountain of youth for the masses. 

As elite athletes swear by these extreme treatments, scientists are now contemplating their broader implications for enhancing health span in the general population. 

A New Dawn In Sports-Performance Research

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In June, the Mass General Brigham healthcare system inaugurated a state-of-the-art 20,000-square-foot laboratory and training facility in Foxborough, Mass. This haven of innovation is equipped with a cryostimulation chamber capable of plunging temperatures to a bone-chilling -220 degrees Fahrenheit and a photobiomodulation bed designed for revolutionary light therapy treatments.

Dr. Sawalla Guseh, a sports cardiologist at Mass General Brigham in Boston, emphasizes the potential of these therapies to extend healthspan, referring to the period one remains healthy, devoid of chronic and debilitating diseases. 

While traditional avenues of diet and exercise remain pivotal, these emerging therapies are carving a new path in wellness clinics and performance-focused membership clubs, promising a rejuvenated approach to health and longevity.

1. Light Therapy: A Beacon of Innovation & Hope

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Light therapy, particularly photobiomodulation (PBM), stands as a beacon of hope and innovation in the relentless pursuit of longevity and peak health. This groundbreaking therapy, which has its roots in the 1960s, has evolved significantly, now promising to redefine our approach to health and wellness.

A Glimpse Into the Science of Photobiomodulation

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Photobiomodulation often likened to photosynthesis in plants, utilizes specific wavelengths of red or near-infrared light to expedite healing and confer other remarkable benefits. This technique, which initially found applications in stimulating hair growth since the 1960s, was later adopted by NASA in the 1980s for space research. 

It is under the scrutiny of longevity researchers, who are exploring its potential to foster collagen growth, reduce inflammation, and enhance cognitive function.

Elite athletes are already leveraging this technology, with sessions in the NovoThor red-light therapy bed and the use of Vielight’s innovative headband-and-nose-clip combination, aiming to boost performance and recovery. This non-thermal process involves endogenous chromophores eliciting molecular, cellular, and tissue level alterations, promising accelerated wound healing and tissue regeneration, enhanced circulation, and reduced inflammation and pain.

The Pioneering Journey & Applications

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In 2015, Dr. Praveen Arany spearheaded efforts to standardize the terminology in the field, establishing PBM and photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) as the standardized terms. Today, PBMT finds applications in many areas, including pain relief, inflammation reduction, and sports injuries. 

It has even garnered FDA approval for stimulating hair growth and decreasing fat deposits, marking its standing as a versatile tool in medical therapy.

The Athletic Edge: A Game-Changer In Sports

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In the competitive world of sports, PBMT has carved a niche for itself as an essential tool in pain management and rehabilitation. 

Athletic trainers and Olympic teams have embraced this therapy, attesting to faster recoveries and enhanced performance among elite athletes.

Expert Insights & Future Prospects

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Margaret Naeser, a prominent researcher, elucidates the mechanism underlying photobiomodulation, highlighting its role in stimulating mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells, to initiate repair signals, thereby enhancing blood flow to the brain and aiding in cell repair. 

This therapy has shown promising results in managing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Alzheimer’s, and strokes, according to a 2023 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports. However, Praveen Arany, an expert in the therapeutic uses of lasers and light, urges caution, advocating for precise prescriptions of “photoceuticals” to maximize benefits in the future. 

As we stand on the cusp of a new era in medical science, PBMT promises a revolution in treating various ailments and a potential preventive measure against numerous conditions, heralding a future with limitless potential in the field of health and wellness.

2. Thermal Regulation: The Cold Hard Facts

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In the ever-evolving world of health and wellness, thermal regulation stands as a frontier where science meets endurance. Athletes have been at the forefront, embracing the chilling embrace of cold baths and cryotherapy chambers, with claims of enhanced athletic performance and a heightened focus that transcends the playing field. 

However, the journey into the cold is not just a modern trend but deeply rooted in science and innovation.

The groundbreaking cooling mittens developed by Stanford University biologists in the early 2000s are at the heart of this cold revolution. These aren’t just any mittens; they are a testament to human ingenuity, capable of reducing muscle temperature within seconds, thereby drawing blood to a network of veins where it is rapidly cooled. 

This precise control of core temperature has been shown to significantly bolster strength and endurance, a discovery that found applications ranging from aiding U.S. military forces in Iraq to enhancing athlete performances at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

But the science of cold goes deeper, touching upon complex physiological responses that our bodies orchestrate in the face of cold exposure. As Dr. Guseh from Mass General Brigham points out, the science-backed physiological benefits are substantial, potentially fostering resilience against the daily stressors that often lead to diseases.

Venturing into the cold waters of scientific research, we find that cold-water immersion (CWI), a practice involving swimming in cold waters or ice bathing, has been a subject of extensive study and debate. 

Proponents claim a plethora of benefits, including a boosted immune system, enhanced peripheral circulation, increased libido, and even calorie burn. These claims, however, stand on a precarious ground of anecdotal evidence and subjective experiences, with the scientific community calling for more rigorous, evidence-based research to substantiate these claims.

The body’s response to cold is nothing short of a symphony of physiological adjustments, harmonizing heat production, and loss mechanisms to maintain the core temperature. This involves a complex interplay of vasomotor control of skin blood perfusion, shivering and non-shivering thermogenesis, and the role of adipose tissue as a thermal insulator. 

These processes are not uniform across individuals, with variations influenced by factors such as age, gender, and the time of day, painting a picture of a complex yet fascinating field of study that holds promises and mysteries yet to be unraveled.

The call for further research echoes louder, urging scientists to delve deeper into the cold waters of thermal regulation, separate fact from fiction, and chart a course toward a future where the cold holds challenges and opportunities for enhancing human health and performance.

3. Magnetic Energy: The Unseen Force of Healing & Wellness

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In the fascinating and ever-evolving world of magnetic energy, our bodies function as electromagnetic entities, a complex system where our brains utilize electromagnetic signals to communicate with various body parts. This intricate system, however, can be disrupted by high-frequency electromagnetic fields emanating from everyday electronic devices, potentially causing harm. 

But fear not, as the therapeutic approach of pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy emerges as a beacon of hope, promising to rejuvenate cells that are losing energy due to stress or fatigue, according to Praveen Arany from the University at Buffalo.

This groundbreaking therapy operates by transmitting low-frequency pulses, ranging between 5 to 30 Hertz, which penetrate through the skin and into cell membranes, initiating genetic alterations and fostering protein synthesis. 

Essentially, PEMF serves as a messenger, instructing the brain to jumpstart the body’s innate healing processes, working at a cellular level to enhance metabolism, augment blood flow, and stimulate tissue regeneration.

The market has witnessed a surge in PEMF devices, such as mats and chairs, starting at around $1,000, which promise to alleviate inflammation or pain in conditions like arthritis. These devices have become a staple in wellness centers across the U.S., aiming to enhance individual performance. 

One notable product is the Magnesphere Halo by Magneceutical Health, a $13,000 chair surrounded by large copper coils designed to create a uniform magnetic field around the body, potentially reducing stress by resetting the nervous system.

However, the benefits of PEMF therapy extend far beyond pain relief. It promises many other advantages, including improved sleep, faster healing, enhanced cell energy, and relaxed muscles. The therapy mimics the Earth’s natural magnetic field, stimulating cellular repair and offering many health benefits such as better oxygenation, improved circulation, and a boosted immune system, which energizes cells to optimally fight infections.

Furthermore, PEMF therapy is potent in managing various conditions, including arthritis, neurological disorders, and injuries, fostering anti-aging benefits by stimulating natural hormone production and improving sleep patterns. 

It even aids in regenerating neurons, cartilage, and bone, showcasing its versatility and efficacy in promoting foundational health.

The Food and Drug Administration (PDF) has given its nod to PEMF for treating various conditions, including bone healing, wound care, and clinical depression. However, its coverage by health insurance remains limited. 

When combined with medication, PEMF can potentially mitigate the effects of chronic arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions, states Joseph Toy, the clinical director of Cliniques Neuro-Vie Santé in Montreal, Canada. However, he warns that the effectiveness of PEMF varies among individuals, necessitating precise prescriptions regarding frequency and wavelength for optimal results. Moreover, he suggests that many home products may not possess the intensity required to penetrate the body and deliver significant benefits.

In a promising development, a recent study highlighted in the NCBI envisages the combination of light therapy and PEMF as a potent tool to assist workers grappling with work-related chronic stress. This randomized controlled trial aims to assess the efficacy of combining coaching with light therapy and PEMF, potentially facilitating a quicker return to work and enhancing the quality of life by reducing stress and fatigue levels.

As we stand at the threshold of a new era in health and wellness, Dave Asprey, the founder of Upgrade Labs, envisions a future where PEMF becomes an integral part of daily routines to curb stress, even foreseeing its incorporation into bedroom walls or wireless routers, heralding a revolution in holistic health and well-being.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter.

  1. wsj.com/health/elite-athletes-swear-by-these-extreme-treatments-scientists-think-they-could-boost-your-health-too-69bdb934
  2. aslms.org/for-the-public/treatments-using-lasers-and-energy-based-devices/photobiomodulation
  3. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9518606/
  4. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4950115/
  5. healingsanctuary.clinic/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/PEMF-LARGE-Handout.pdf
Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.