Throughout history, the concept of beauty and aesthetics has always been at the forefront of the humanities. It should come as no surprise that the world holds a favorable view of beauty and beautiful people.
Since time immemorial, all different cultures have attempted an infinite number of methods to beautify, enhance, and modify one’s outward appearance.
From something as simple as cosmetics’ application to highly complex plastic surgery procedures, humankind is no stranger to the pursuit of beauty.
There are countless forms of anti-aging products being sold on the market today. With beauty technology being propelled forwards with each new product or procedure, the industry does not seem to be stopping any time soon. We shall explore one such process today – Total Body Enhancement and look at how it became such a widespread worldwide phenomenon.
What is Total Body Enhancement?
Total Body Enhancement is a treatment available only for premium Black card members of the famous worldwide gym franchise Planet Fitness.
It is a process that claims to give a myriad of health benefits, including the reversing of aging effects, increasing wound healing, and relieving carpal tunnel syndrome. All these benefits are made possible by combining two scientifically-proven processes in one machine: Red light therapy and Whole-Body Vibration. Now that we know what Total Body Enhancement is, let’s look at how it works.
How does it work?
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is a form of treatment using low-level red light to treat numerous skin issues, such as acne, wrinkles, scars, and other skin conditions. It was first discovered in the 1990s by scientists researching how to grow plants in space. What they found was that intense red-colored LEDs highly stimulated the growth of plant cells.
Scientists soon began researching red light therapy for its possible medicinal qualities. Some believed that if it could stimulate growth in plant cells, it could be an effective treatment for human cell conditions such as muscle atrophy and wound healing.
The process is relatively simple – red low-light wavelengths are emitted and enter the skin. This results in a stimulation of blood flow and collagen, which boosts tissue recovery and aids in tissue rejuvenation. It is also known as low-level light therapy (LLLT).
The ground platform of the Total Body Enhancement machine is a vibrating plate. Once you step inside and start the treatment, the ground platform starts vibrating and sending energy throughout your body.
With vibrations happening dozens of times per second, the energy that goes through from your head to your toes causes your muscles to contract and relax. They play high-energy music during the treatment, so it is a full-body experience that leaves its users coming out of the chambers sweating like a complete workout.
Reported benefits of Total Body Enhancement Process
Regular users of the treatment have reported the following benefits of the Total Body Enhancement Process:
- Increased energy pre-workout (due to stimulation of Adenosine Triphosphate, the nucleotide that is responsible for transporting chemical energy between cells)
- Improvement of skin elasticity and reduction of wrinkles and stretch marks
- Stimulation of collagen and elastin production
- Increasing in fat burning efficiency during workout
- Reducing inflammation in joints and muscles post-workout
- Stimulation of blood flow to muscles during workout
Now that we know how it works let’s dive into the pros and cons of Total Body Enhancement to explore its effectiveness.
The Pros and Cons of Total Body Enhancement
1.) Reverses the effects of aging
Red light therapy is a popular method already used in salons worldwide to combat the signs of skin aging and cosmetic issues that include wrinkles, stretch marks, and unsightly blemishes.
Skin issues like sun damage are also treated with Red light therapy, as collagen growth is stimulated to enhance complexion and diminish the effects of these skin conditions.
2.) Reduces pain
A study done by NASA has shown that the use of Red light therapy in cancer patients resulted in 96% of the test subjects reporting a reduction in pain caused by their treatments. This is especially good news for people suffering from chronic conditions like back and neck pain.
3.) Relieves effects of Carpal Tunnel syndrome
This is good news for writers and desk-bound employees who are the most at-risk for conditions such as Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Typing away the workday is bound to result in the slow growth of chronic pain in the wrist joints. This causes diminished efficiency and ineffective workouts for Carpal Tunnel sufferers who visit the gym.
4.) Assists in hair growth
If you notice a lot more hair clogging up the shower drain than usual or feel the bald patch on the top of your head becoming more and more noticeable, this might be good news for you. A comparison study of hair loss sufferers across all ages (18-70 yrs old) showed that subjects who went through low-level red laser therapy reported a higher increase in hair density and stimulated hair growth than those who did not.
5.) Speeds up wound healing
The red light therapy used in the Total Body Enhancement process speeds up the body’s natural wound healing process by stimulating the cells that repair injured tissue. It can successfully induce wound healing in delayed natural healing processes for injuries such as burns, skin grafts, amputations, and infections.
6.) Helps health of joints
Low-level red light therapy increases the collagen production in joints, reducing the inflammation in joints after heavy use. Such as in the case of workouts, gym users have reported less pain in their joints and more mobility and endurance for harder reps after using the Total Body Enhancement machine.
7.) Tones your body with consistent use
A common compliment of the Total Body Enhancement machine is that with regular use, users have reported that their weight loss journeys have taken less time than expected. This is due to their bodies experiencing dozens of vibrations per minute on the ground platforms of the Total Body Enhancement machine that simulate a complete workout. After using the Total Body Enhancement machine, almost all users have reported muscle sore the next day, just like how you would feel after a heavy gym session.
8.) Reduces stress
Because of the high-intensity nature of the Total Body Enhancement experience, endorphins in the body are released, causing a dynamic feel-good reaction for its users. The combination of the beneficial effects of red light therapy, such as cell regeneration and the vibration ground plate’s energy, result in a massive boost of chemicals that help combat stress and anxiety.
1.) Exclusive to Planet Fitness
Although red light therapy is not an entirely novel form of treatment, the Total Body Enhancement experience is unique only to Planet Fitness members who hold a premium membership called the Black card. It costs $249.99 a year for this membership.
2.) Sleep problems
Some users have reported sleep problems immediately after using the Total Body Enhancement machine. A possible explanation is that some users are taking in the red light therapy more efficiently. Thus, their bodies took a long time to process and slow down the increased cell activity due to the stimulation caused by the red light in the machine.
3.) Nausea and vertigo
This is common in new users as they are not used to the heightened intensity that the Total Body Enhancement puts their bodies through.
You can resolve this by choosing a lower level of intensity at the machine control panel before starting the process.
4.) A rapid drop in blood pressure
This may come in together with the Nausea and vertigo, as the intensity causes the blood pressure of some users to drop as it adjusts to the vigorous full-body vibration workout and light therapy it is subject to during the Total Body Enhancement experience.
5.) Mood swings
Some users have reported mood swings and anxiety after using the Total Body Enhancement machine, likely caused by your body rapidly releasing endorphins. The mood difference during the subsequent cooldown period might be too polarizing for some initial users of the device.
6.) Same benefits available elsewhere
You can find similar benefits in other treatments that may not cost as much. For example, an alternative to red light therapy could be to take store-bought or prescribed natural supplements. You could switch the vibrating ground panel out for regular cardio or weightlifting workout that effectively targets all muscle groups in the body.
Are UV and Red light therapy similar?
No, they are absolutely not!
Tanning beds and salons use UV therapy. This is the same kind of stuff that you get from direct sunlight. As far as human skin is concerned, the UV waves that you get from the sun gives you a very high risk of skin cancer if you do not sufficiently protect yourself from it. The same goes for tanning beds – which is why such treatments are becoming increasingly unpopular.
Red light therapy produces wavelengths that are harmless to the human body. It creates a biochemical effect in cells that strengthen the mitochondria and produces Adenosine Triphosphate, which is crucial for cell activity. So rather than cause possible damage to the skin as exposure you increase exposure, red light therapy gets better the more you’re exposed
Pre or post-workout?
Most users swear by the benefits of using it before their workout for an increased boost in metabolism, blood flow, and much more effective reps. However, there are benefits for using the Total Body Enhancement machine either before or after hitting the weights. Let’s compare the benefits of using Total Body Enhancement for both scenarios.
When you use the Total Body Enhancement machine before the workout, it is a great warm-up exercise to get your blood pumping and metabolism energized. It kick starts your system to ensure you have all the necessary endorphins your body needs to have a killer workout.
The red light therapy also induces advanced cell repair and regeneration so you won’t end up with a sore joint reducing the efficiency of your workout time.
The benefit of using the Total Body Enhancement machine after the workout is that at a lower intensity, it’s an experience that helps your body relax in the cooldown period after your workout. It also promotes muscle growth and reduces the inflammation that might occur in your joints and muscles.
Final thoughts on Total Body Enhancement
It seems that Total Body Enhancement has earned its merits through its ability to produce results for its users. Although all the positive effects of red light therapy remain scientifically proven on larger sample sizes, the reviews from its users have shown that the benefits outweigh the cons in this case.
However, there are several caveats to the Total Body Enhancement process. A few examples would be that pregnant women, obese individuals, people with pacemakers, people with preexisting conditions such as epilepsy, those who have recently undergone surgery, and those on medication that cause dizziness or Nausea.
In all, the Total Body Enhancement process seems to be worth a try, if anything at all. Its benefits are numerous, and its drawbacks are easily contested if you can live with them. One thing to note is that the results will only show after consistent use, so it will probably take more than 1 or 2 sessions to see for yourself if Total Body Enhancement is beneficial for you.