Power Up to Your Best Performance Yet
These protocols may be the key to staying injury-free, boosting strength, and clocking your best.
The fictional boxer Rocky Balboa made do with drinking raw eggs and beating up chunks of meat hung on hooks to train for his fights. Fortunately, you don’t need to do these if you want to take on months of training with the “Rocky” theme song ringing in your head.
But you need to know what’s best for your body. Experts say that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to reaching fitness goals. Testament to this are the mushrooming of new treatment centers in Metro Manila, advocating testing methods, nutrition standards, or fitness protocols to help clients achieve optimum levels of performance.
The basics of exercise and proper nutrition you learned in grade school Physical Education classes are now taken to new levels with alternative and scientific approaches resulting in programs that are customized to your anatomy, how your body works, and what you need to boost performance not only in sports but in daily activities.
This shift to other paths of wellness is happening worldwide, with studies in the fields of complementary and alternative medicine merging with sports therapies from innovative massage techniques to laser therapy, and nutritional programs (that may or may not contain Rocky’s raw-eggs drink).
We look at three centers that boast the latest in science and innovation when it comes to injury prevention, endurance training recovery, and nutritional counseling.
The LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness uses your blood analysis to determine what’s best for the body and offers personalized nutrition programs. Pace Prehab & Recovery analyzes your movements to give you detailed advice on maximizing muscle groups while minimizing injury risk. Intercare Healthcare Centers Inc. is at the forefront of chiropractic to help athletes beat pain and up performance levels.
They’re not as mainstream as your gym and physical therapist clinics, but hundreds of sports enthusiasts, from age-group triathletes to professional sportsmen have turned to their services.
Intercare Healthcare Centers Inc:
Making the best of both treatment worlds
The crux of their services combines complementary and alternative therapeutic methods. Dr. Martin Camara, clinic director of Intercare Healthcare Center, Inc. refers to it as integrated medicine.
“In the 80s or 90s, traditional approaches such as acupuncture and massages were not professionalized and were not convenient. What we realized when we opened in 1993 and as we specialized in natural, drugless, non-surgical forms of therapy, was that there was no professional integrated medicine healthcare service in the Philippines and in so many other countries. A patient with a condition would have to go to Chinatown for acupuncture, and then to a spa for a massage, and then a hospital for physical therapy. What we did was to put all these services together and professionalize them in one location,” he says.
what it is
Integrative medicine is a fusion of traditional practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and Pilates designed to address health issues, particularly chronic pain. “We have discovered that certain approaches can only go so far with patients. The best approach is to integrate several treatments so we can offer a more comprehensive approach in addressing problems of our patients, treating conditions that are skeletal, or with the joints, tendons, and nerves,” Camara says. While a lot of their patients come to them with common pains, there have athletes seeking longer-term recovery for recurring issues.
The integrated service is the first of its kind in the Philippines and in a lot of places in the world, and there is a great need for what they do. According to him, low back pain affects four out of five people worldwide. Cardiac conditions may be the number one concern for healthcare, but orthopedic pain and muscoskeletal conditions that affect the way of life are a close second.
How it works
Treatment starts with a consultation, where a workup might even include the taking of photographs of to check how the patient’s body is aligned. “We have a physical evaluation of problem, where we talk about the pain and where it hurts when standing or sitting. If there has already been an MRI or an X-ray, we look at it in relation to posture. We do a history and evaluation and from there come up with a working diagnosis of what we think the problem is and what we can do to get rid of it.”
“There’s a concept in medicine called cumulative microtrauma where small insignificant pain adds up over the weeks, months, and years to lead up to a bigger injury. For endurance athletes, plantar fasciitis is a common problem where they wake up one day and there is inflammation and pain that makes it difficult for them to step on their foot,” he says. This does not happen overnight, he explains, as repetitive trauma on the body over long periods of time takes its toll on all the parts that work together, such as the knees, tendons, hips, and back.
From there, the patient progresses to treatments that may vary according to their condition. Intercare offers Myotherapy, a form of manual therapy which focuses on the rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system. A clinical myotherapist makes an assessment on the areas of pain and restriction throughout the body. Then he applies manual therapy as a means to release this tension by putting pressure at trigger points.
Needles can also come into play. When used to treat specific sports injuries or different forms of pain, acupuncture can help by stimulating the nervous endings, muscles, and connective tissue, resulting in proper blood flow, decreasing pain-related symptoms. Dry Needling is a valuable, effective and efficient adjunct treatment to inactivate myofascial trigger points. A thin solid filament sterile needle is inserted in the myofascial trigger point to produce a local twitch response. This local twitch response then releases the shortened bands of muscle fibers, resulting in muscle relaxation and pain relief.
Another popular service is Chiropractic, to help improve conditions such as low back pain, slipped disc, neck and shoulder pain, carpal tunnel and sports injuries. These approaches fit very well with modern approaches in sports medicine, and he has been on the board of consultants for Filipino national athletes training for the Olympics. “It is a perfect fit for athletes who are looking for treatments that are natural, drugless, and non surgical management of pain.”
Intercare is located at Intercare Building, 8420 Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City. For more information, visit www.intercare-centers.com.
LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness :
“You are what you eat” is the mantra at LifeScience. And it does not get more personalized than this, says Marv Romero-Salas, Lifescience executive director.
Their popular Food Intolerance Test (FIT) is a blood workup that lists the food you can most benefit from or avoid, based on the results of your blood test. “A lot of athletes come here with energy problems. They’re supposed to be very fit but they complain of fatigue, chronic headaches, bloating, or dizziness,” she says.
what it is
With FIT, they learn about foods that are in the “red zone” which indicates food to avoid. “We work on replacement, elimination, and exchange,” says Salas.
For Filipinos, the number one culprit is rice, she says. “We have it, three times a day. Over time, we develop intolerance for it.” If it is found on your red zone, the nutritionists offer suggestions on alternatives that your body can process more easily.
Since the average diet is lacking on important micronutrients, they turn to nutrition and supplements. She clarifies that it’s different from the so-called blood-type diet, because each individual’s genetic makeup means a unique blood markup result as well. Then, supplements given are based on tests which measure deficiency or toxicity.
How it works
Their team of nutritionists go one step further by helping their clients plan their meals, right down to raiding their pantries and going grocery shopping with them. “We don’t just hand out the results of their test and tell them to avoid this or that. We take them by the hand and give support,” she says. A supplement package is formulated based on the FIT results.
What follows from the FIT, when the clients pursue the program is a boost in energy levels. “When they modify their diet according to what their body needs and what it doesn’t need, they start performing better,” says Salas.
Down to DNA
Among Lifescience’s flagship tests is the gene test. The results of the gene test are translated into a big book of your life, which becomes a personal roadmap to health and wellness.
“People would take the gene test because there’s a history of cancer or other health issues in the family,” says Salas. “Now athletes are taking it to help improve their performance in the sport of their choice,” she adds.
What it is
There criteria of health that the gene test reveals are nutrition, fitness, oxidative stress levels, detoxification, and sleep. The results are assessed by a doctor, and they address issues, such as hormone problems by balancing diet, supplements and probiotics aimed towards preventing diseases you may be prone to.
How it works
Salas says it may be hard for the average person to completely follow through, but athletes, whether they are age-groupers or professionals, are a dedicated lot committed to implementing the recommendations of their gene tests. “All of this might seem overwhelming, but that is where goal-setting comes in and their commitment to changing their lifestyle because these athletes are after results.” The LifeScience team offers assistance with each step, from meal planning to reading the ingredient list of their favorite sports drinks or protein formulations.
Salas says a solid client base they have comes from triathletes. “When they see the results such as better performance and the elimination of previous complaints such as headaches or fatigue, they really begin to see the effectiveness of the program and become fully committed to the changes in their lifestyle to help them live longer and healthier.”
LifeScience maintains a host of other testing equipment to get down to the details of how your body works and what you can do to improve it. A device that monitors heart rate variability analyzes what happens to the heart during sleep, when the body is in motion, and when it is in recovery. The data from this “can better help you with your health,” she explains.
A kinesthetic expert can also hook you up to a machine that give you a workout best suited to your sport, whether it is golf, basketball, or triathlon. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or HBOT, is used to help regenerate tissues and repair muscles, is also on hand for sports-related injuries or simply for anti-aging purposes.
LifeScience is located at 8th floor, ACCRA Law Tower, 2nd Avenue cor. 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For more information, visit www.lifescience.ph.
PACE Prehab & Recovery:
Prevention is the best cure
Physical Therapist, Board-Certified Orthopedic & Sports Specialist and PACE Co-Founder Francis Diano specializes on rehab and recovery for sports injuries. However, the main focus of PACE is “Prehab”.
Diano, himself a marathoner and triathlete formerly based in New York City, says, “It is functional preventive therapy, where we use our equipment to identify the mechanics you need and the movements that you can use in order to prevent injury.”
what it is
“Prehab allows us to identify your risk factors that could potentially lead to injury, understand your weak points and the limits of your body.
The concept of “Prehab” first caught on in the United States, which he advocated and launched in New York City. “I was starting to see a large influx of patients from the Philippines who were coming to see me in NYC. The common denominator of their feedback was that they felt they lacked options in the Philippines. They said they were being treated with conventional passive modalities and techniques and they still had recurring or unresolved issues,” he said.
“That [reason], and it has always been a dream of mine to be able to help create a world-class Filipino athlete,” Diano added. His experience as a physical therapist has seen him work on athletes from the U.S. National Basketball Association and National Football League, professional European Football players, runners, competitive triathletes, collegiate rowers, Olympians and Paralympians.
How it works
Diano compares the human body to a car, where one does not wait to be stranded on the road before an oil change or wait until the tires blow up before swapping those radials for new ones.
Using equipment such as a Woodway treadmill with state-of-the art sensors with runners for instance, they look at certain movements and spot problem areas such as the hips, knees, or ankles. “If someone has an ankle problem, for example, and comes to us six months later, then the problem may have already spread to the knee and the hips. This is why it is important to be proactive rather than reactive,” he adds. A consultation at PACE Prehab & Recovery takes approximately an hour and follows these steps:
1) Interview. “We determine health history and injuries, and the intensity and frequency of their physical activities.”
2) Screening. “We screen for abnormal movement patterns and functional strength deficits. Here we also look into if they are using defective or inappropriate footwear or equipment.”
3) Planning. “We address how to manage the problems. We include your desired level and intensity of performance and align these with your overall goal.”
4) Assessment. “We then perform a physical and a functional assessment utilizing some of the most high tech assessment tools in the practice such as the Dorsa Vi or Optogait.”
Prehab can promote longevity for engaging in a sport or activity. “We help you understand the stressors of the activity, risk factors, abnormal movement patterns and habits, and what measures you need to take to prevent injury.” At PACE Prehab & Recovery, “we don’t treat your symptoms. We look at the deficiencies present that are causing the issues and that could potentially cause further issues as well.” The treatment model PACE Prehab & Recovery uses doesn’t have you coming in three times a week for eight weeks, he says, “Rather, we ensure that you get the most out of each visit so that you get better faster.”
PACE Prehab & Recovery is located at 16F MDI Corporate Center 10th Ave cor 39th St. BGC Taguig City, Philippines. For more information, visit www.paceprehabandrecovery.com.
They Tried It and It Works
Three endurance sports enthusiasts share the treatments that worked in alleviating their chronic pain.
Frank Lacson, 53, triathlete/wellness coach
The goal I go to Intercare for monthly maintenance. I do heavy mileage in training overtime. I need core alignment. I haven’t had a major injury before so this is also for injury prevention.
How did you hear of Intercare? Intercare has been active in events, races, and expos, so that’s how I discovered them.
The fix(es) Myotherapy and Chiropractic. It’s a kind of core alignment manipulation of the spine. This procedure balances the forces that allows you to move: the muscles, bones, and all that. Being balanced and aligned allows the body to perform optimally and prevent injuries.
Results As Doc Martin (Camara) said, all these things are related to our movement—bones, the fascia, the muscles, and the coordination of your muscles. I just did Ironman Taiwan a month ago (October), so this monthly maintenance helped me recover and prepare for Ironman Langkawi (November 12). My body is conditioned. I feel race-ready.
alvin edrosalam, 40, triathlete/architect
The problem Initial health concern was frequent dizzy spells and insomnia.
How did you hear of LifeScience I learned about Lifescience through Fitness First. We have an ongoing partnership where Lifescience is our healthcare and wellness partner to make sure the tri-team is in the best possible condition to perform during competition.
The fix(es) Gene Test – Sports sensor, which measured my inner strength if I am an athlete for endurance or power, how much detoxification I may need, and which food from over a thousand choices can boost or affect my performance. I underwent a nutrition program to correct my diet; my sleep was also managed to get me into right sleeping habits and hours.
Results Within the first 3 months, my dizziness, bloating and abdominal pain have lessened; I’m starting to sleep better; coughs and colds have shorter duration; my concentration is better and I feel less stressed despite the same workload. I feel more productive. I will get into a new diet program that will help boost my energy in preparation for the coming training season.
ivan carapiet, 30, triathlete/actor
The problem My hip flexor. Tried all sorts of massage, therapy, other doctors and places but [the pain] kept coming back.
Why past treatments didn’t work I don’t know why. Despite repeat sessions with other therapists, specialists, and all sorts of treatments, my problem kept on recurring.
How did you hear of PACE? Through the triathlon community and through my manager Shy Vesagas, who is also part of PACE.
The fix(es) My hip flexor was treated with a combination of dry needling and manual manipulation.
At first, I went for an initial assessment. Even if my complaint was only my hip flexor, Francis examined my whole body to make sure nothing else was wrong. He explained that sometimes there’s an underlying factor that’s causing the pain so it’s always best to look at the body as a whole. He said that everything is connected. Of course he said that in more medical and technical terms.
Results Two days after treatment. More importantly, my hip flexor didn’t act up again. Instead of having to keep on going back for treatments, one or two visits were enough. I now have more time to work and train. I feel great, loose, ready to train, and race hard again.