By Lisa Stone  |  10 September 2019   

Professional MMA living legend Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira is a 4th degree Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt who is one of only three men ever to hold championship titles in both Pride Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

He retired from the sport in 2015 with a body damaged in almost every area nameable. Minotauro went in for stem cell treatment and has had remarkable results. He told Combat.com: “I went to the United States, to Kansas, where there’s a clinic that performs a stem-cell treatment where they take fat cells from your back, three big syringes, and they inject them into your joints. 

I got it done on my knee, my hip, my elbow, and this stimulates cartilage growth. It’s an innovative thing, a new technique. They’ve already treated 153 patients in this place, and they’ve been doing it for a year. The owner, Pat Farley, along with the doctor who does the treatment, called me to come in. 

I was very happy with their invitation and I’m having great results with my pain issues.” That’s pretty impressive, coming from an MMA veteran who fought successfully for almost 20 years.

Martial Arts and Cell Regeneration

Cellular regeneration as related to martial arts recovery is an unusual topic. It is extremely relevant, however, since all types of injuries and physical damage require cellular regeneration. The human body is comprised of about 50 trillion cells, and about 100 billion of them are nerve cells.

New cells must constantly be generated by the body to replace damaged, old, or dead existing cells. When overuse, overtraining, consistent battering from serious training, sparring, fighting, and injury has damaged skin, joints, muscles, tissue, blood, or bones, the martial artist’s body must produce new cells to replenish and replace those damaged or destroyed. Basic martial arts practice regularly inflicts abrasions, bruises, cuts, minor strains and sprains, much less actual sparring and UFC or MMA fights. 

Martial artists even more than the average athlete requires cell regeneration in order to keep the ‘fighting machine’ in top condition. This requires understanding and utilizing methods of healing that will increase cellular regeneration that will reduce recovery time and optimize physical conditioning.

New Cells Created Constantly

Cellular regeneration occurs constantly in the human body as an element of survival, and is a daily process. 

This continuing renewal is necessary to ensure survival of the organism, since otherwise the human body would quickly expire. Information on methods for increasing cell renewal, if they’ve begun to slow or seem sluggish, can be found in FAHL article, Alternative Healing Treatments.

An 80 year old Wushu master had a knee bothering him because of degenerative arthritis. This martial arts master had hit himself for decades with sticks to toughen his shins. His hands had enlarged and calloused knuckles, indicative of breaking boards and other types of aggressive hand strikes practiced over decades. 

His body was perfectly conditioned, and in impressive athletic shape. This wushu master went to Dr. Lox for knee stem cell treatments after he was recommended. The treatment was successful, and the martial arts master said he felt great, then performed the splits 5 minutes after having his knees injected.

Many Paths to Cellular Regeneration

There are many different paths to cellular regeneration. There are Western medical paths, such as stem cell regeneration, and low level light therapy (LLLT), also known as cold laser therapy, which this article addresses.

Cellular Recovery Stem Cells Possibilities | Fighting Arts Health Lab

There are very natural methods such as eating foods that literally support the body and particular organs with cellular regeneration, for example, Ar-tumerone from turmeric helps regenerate brain cells.

Brain cell regeneration could prove essential for the UFC and MMA fighter whose brain would benefit from cellular renewal after a season of head hammers and throws in the octagon.

Another equally valid method is food and nutrition, consistently eating foods known to support and promote cellular regeneration which can have a huge effect. Other methods include reduced calorie intake, which means periodically fasting, or spacing meals out over longer periods of time to ‘rest’ the body.

This has been clearly proven to greatly promote cellular regeneration. There are also specific herbs that are amazing in their ability to increase and promote cellular regeneration. Many of these alternate routes to ‘virtually’ generating a new body from within fall in the realm of Alternative Medicine. These other treatment methods will be examined and discussed further in FAHL articles under Alternative Methods of Cellular Regeneration.

Stem Cell Regeneration Therapy and Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT)

This article will address two well-researched, more traditional approaches to cellular regeneration, including Stem Cell Regeneration, and Low Level Light Therapy, also known as Cold Laser Therapy.

These two approaches to promoting cell renewal within the body have great potential, with relatively few cautions, in the case of stem cell regeneration, or no cautions in the case of LLLT. The idea of forcing the human body to swiftly grow more cells to replace those that are damaged or destroyed, whether by accident or illness, is not a new concept. 

For years, research has attempted to copy in humans the way lizards can lose a tail and grow another one, or copy salamanders and octopi, whose ability to regenerate limbs is legendary. These aims were not achieved until recently. Cellular regeneration in humans through the use of science is an entire new field full of exciting potential. For more information see FAHL article addressing two more excellent methods of cellular regeneration using Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture.

Stem Cell Regeneration Therapy

Ultimately, stem cell regeneration therapy is an alternative to having surgery. Quick info is it uses a person’s own stem cells to heal injured parts such as knees, back, shoulders, elbows, etc.. It can help new and seasoned professional athletes who have been challenged or even put out of commission for years by severe knee and back injuries. 

Stem cell regeneration has only been utilized in recent years, but its efficiency is astounding. Professional athletes become injured in accidents that were previously career-ending events, but now are seen back on the field in record time after receiving stem cell therapy procedures on knees, backs, and shoulders.

Why Stem Cell Therapy Is Controversial

The reasons for it not being utilized and recommended more often are multilevel. First of all, it is still considered controversial and experimental at this point. That being said, these procedures are being performed all over the world, and very successfully, for an incredibly wide variety of issues, including knee, shoulder, and back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and injuries, including moderate to severe joint, tendon, ligament, disc, or bone pain.

Second issue is buyer beware, as some places are very shady and may not use professional level materials or safety measures, or injections may not contain optimal amounts of stem cells, etc. This holds especially true for clinics in foreign countries, where there are many excellent facilities, but careful research is warranted.

Third reason is that insurance companies often will not pay for the procedure. However, stem cell therapy typically costs a fraction of the price usually charged for knee replacement surgery, for example, is more successful, lasts longer, gives better quality of life, hurts less, the procedure time is vastly quicker, and recovery time is virtually nil for many issues.

That brings up another reason for continuing negative coverage on stem cell therapy, which is very basic: knee replacement surgery, and other surgeries being replaced by stem cell therapy, cost big bucks. That kind of money brings a lot of resistance to change and resistance to newer, cheaper, and easier on the patient, very successful procedures. Enough said.

Use Your Stem Cells or Fetal Stem Cells?

The bottom line here is stem cell therapy works, and it works for a dizzying number of issues, depending on which type of stem cell therapy is utilized. Fetal or umbilical cord stem cells are used for issues requiring cells able to evolve into different types of cells needed to provide improvement, such as diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

Cellular Recovery Science

These stem cells detect and restore damaged cells and tissues throughout the body. Most issues martial artists face will be well served by utilizing the patient’s own stem cells taken typically from bone marrow or fat. This method is the simplest procedure. These are called adult stem cells, as opposed to fetal stem cells, which are usually derived from fertilization techniques.

Adult stem cells and tissues derived from the patient's own adult stem cells have the advantage of easy acceptance by the body. These cells are less likely to be rejected by the immune system, which lowers risks, and is vitally important for the projected success of a treatment.

How It Works.

Stem cell therapy is without a doubt one of the best kept secrets in the medical arena today. The two different types of stem cell therapy procedures are completely different in approach, aim, and possibility of complication. This article primarily addresses concerns that martial artists will typically face, which will usually be treated with stem cells extracted from the client’s own bone marrow or fat.

These cells boost the body's existing repair mechanisms. The treatment is typically completely painless as general pain killers are administered during the procedure, and given to the patient afterwards to take home for use in recovery.

Most patient testimonials state that no pain killers were required after the procedure, and also, reduction of pain was experienced immediately, an improvement as compared to before treatment.

There are few side effects when utilizing the patient’s own cells. Although typically considered safe, common side effects of stem cell therapy for arthritis, e.g., may include temporary swelling and pain. Careful evaluation should be done on clinics to ensure cells are meticulously screened to eliminate any possibility of infection or impurity.

A Typical Procedure

Stem cell therapy for knees, for example, usually requires a total of four visits to the doctor. It may take as long as a year to completely rejuvenate knees. The first visit will be the consultation. The actual procedure is a three visit process over a period of approximately a week. The treatment itself is administered intravenously and subcutaneously in under an hour.

Four Visits Total.

The first of the four visits is the consultation. The next of three visits will usually be very quick, with the doctor first anesthetizing the knee. Next the doctor gives several shots to the places where the cartilage and ligaments need regeneration. These shots are given to prepare the areas before the actual stem cells are injected. 

The next visit will be a few days later. First blood will be drawn, stem cells will be extracted, and prepared for stem cell therapy injections. After these are prepared, they are injected into the treatment areas, and the patient is sent home to rest. A few days later, typically this procedure will be repeated, in order to give the treated areas another boost of stem cells.

Luke Rockhold Undergoes Stem Cell Treatment

Former UFC Middleweight Champion fighter Luke Skyler Rockhold has had stem cell regeneration therapy. He says it put him back together, and back in the cage. He says: “I’m doing what I can to avoid surgery and get healthy. I had a stem cell procedure done a week and a half ago. Hoping to get back to training in 3-4 weeks. There’s nothing I want more then to get back in the gym, get back in the cage and get my belt back.” He made a video about his healing experience using stem cell therapy. Go here to watch it.

Stem Cell Therapy Research Is Ongoing

In a few years stem cell therapies capable of regenerating any human tissue damaged by injury, disease, or ageing could be available. Australia researchers have developed a method similar to that used by salamanders to regenerate limbs. This method could repair spinal discs, regenerate lung tissue, fix bone fractures, and could transform the medical field.

Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) or Cold Laser Therapy

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been used since 1967, when Endre Mester started using lasers to treat patients with nonhealing skin ulcers. LLLT promotes cellular regeneration and wound healing by increasing oxygen in cells, increasing biological response modifiers responsible for closing and healing wounds, increasing collagen production resulting in stronger wound tissue and bones after healing, increasing production of ATP, and promoting neurogenesis, or the creation of new neurons.

The influence of LLLT on the electron transport chain increases the levels of ATP produced by a cell. It also helps activate transcription factors, which increases the number of receptors on the surface of target cells of many stimulatory and protective genes, making the cells more sensitive to a hormone or another agent. 

This is effective because these genes are stimulated by low-level light, and support cellular proliferation, migration, and the production of cytokines and growth factors, which.  

LEDs Work

It was originally believed that LLLT or photobiomodulation required the use of coherent laser light, but more recently, light emitting diodes (LEDs) have been used very effectively. LEDs are a cheaper and simpler alternative. The impressive number of issues effectively addressed by LLLT keeps expanding, and now hand-held LEDs make it easier to use.

What is Low Level Light Therapy

The simple answer is light is applied to the body in order to promote healing. A certain type and wavelength of light or laser is applied to the patient in a certain way, particular place, and for a definite length of time.

Cellular Recovery LLLT | Fighting Arts Health Lab

LLLT involves exposing cells or tissue to low levels of red and near infrared (NIR) light. LLLT is also called “low level” because it uses light at energy densities that are low compared to other forms of laser therapy that basically destroy tissue, and are utilized primarily for surgery.

LLLT uses power densities that are too low to produce heating of tissue, and when utilized correctly, will not harm tissues in any manner, only healing of issues will occur. When administering Low Level Light Therapy, red and near infra-red light is applied over injuries, injured areas, lesions, skin, scalp, or other areas of the body to improve wound and soft tissue healing, reduce inflammation, give relief for both acute and chronic pain, promote cell and hair growth, along with  many other physical and mental uses.

Mike Hill uses LLLT

Professional Middleweight UFC fighter, Tomb’s Mike “The Messenger” Hill, was healed from two bulging discs in his lower back in 2013 using Low Level Light Therapy. Hill’s regular doctors had told him he would never fight again. Dr. Thiel uses LLLT, and said Hill’s back could be healed. LLLT worked, and Mike Hill is back in the octagon. Watch this video of Hill talking about his experience with LLLT. 

The successful application of LLLT limits its usage to within a specified set of wavelengths of laser in order to be effective. Administering LLLT either below or above that ideal dose range will typically cause therapy to be ineffective. LLLT has been utilized and proven to be excellent physical therapy tool for over forty years.

The use low level laser light therapy and LED (light emitting diode) therapy (also known as photobiomodulation) has been shown to reduce edema, and promote healing in a range of musculoskeletal pathologies. See more complete list below of medical treatments proven effective through application of LLLT.  

UFC officially promotes use of Laser Light Therapy

The $14 Million UFC Performance Institute has a NovoTHOR whole-body laser light therapy pod. An estimated 30% of athletes have visited the facility. Conor McGregor used it to train before his boxing match with Floyd MayweatherJoe Rogan sustained a shoulder and back injury, and had cold laser therapy to heal them. Rogan said it did wonders, and healed him rapidly.

LLLT Is Profoundly Useful

LLLT is an amazing therapy tool that very few people in the U.S. have heard about. One of the reasons for this omission on the part of the medical establishment to recommend this powerful, noninvasive, and reasonably priced tool to patients is the current inability of science to completely understand the incredibly complex and deeply synergistic manner in which it works together with the body to promote healing.

Another reason is the fact that since it is not completely understood, it has taken time and persistent research to discover the ideal and most optimally effective light wave range for administering LLLT. Although it is not completely understood why and how LLLT works so effectively, optimum light type and emission parameters are being solidified for particular ailments and applications. LLLT use will undoubtedly become widely adopted once people realize it is a completely safe and scientifically based therapy.

LLLT Stimulates Cellular Regeneration, or Neurogenesis

In essence, neurogenesis means cellular regeneration. The word “neuro” means relating to nerves, while “genesis” means the formation or beginning of something. Neurogenesis is essentially the process by which neurons are generated from neural stem cells, or quite simply, the growth and development of neurons.

This simple, painless, easy process actually stimulates cellular regeneration in many ways. The treatment has been shown to improve spatial memory and learning. The likelihood that LLLT can induce the brain to repair itself after injury suggests that laser therapy may have much wider applications than that previously considered.

Many diseases of the brain that are traumatic, degenerative, and psychiatric could benefit if neurogenesis can be induced by an inexpensive, low-risk procedure with no known side-effects, such as LLLT.

Martial Artists and Low Level Light Therapy

The list of physical, mental and emotional issues that are improved by LLLT is nothing less than astounding, and steadily expanding. The martial artist will undoubtedly find many useful applications. 

The list is so long, links will be listed at the bottom of this article. They include: rotator cuff disease; improvement of compromised immune system; hair loss; skin problems including acne, scars, psoriasis, and age-related issues; herpes virus lesions; spinal cord injury; stroke; autism and Down’s syndrome; Alzheimer’s; accelerated wound healing; brain injury and traumatic brain injury; veterans harmed by war conditions; and pain.

LLLT for Pain

LLLT treats all types of pain including acute and chronic, post-surgical pain, dental conditions, whiplash injuries, muscular back pain, cervical or lumbar radiculopathy, tendinitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, frozen shoulder, neck and back pain, epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinopathy, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, post tibial fracture surgery and chronic regional pain syndrome. This list is so broad there are undoubtedly multiple paths within the body for reducing pain.

Ponder This...

There are many reliable methods of increasing the rate of cell regeneration in the body. Stem cell regeneration therapy is an excellent method of treating acute injury and long term degenerative issues. It is already being utilized and promoted by MMA and UFC officials. LLLT is swiftly becoming accepted in the fighting world, and mainstream medical field, as well. No adverse side effects have ever been reported in applications of LLLT.

It is a safe treatment for a vastly diverse number of issues, and uses scientifically proven methods. Both of these methods of treatment will significantly improve injuries and adverse conditions for the martial artist.

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About the author

Lisa Stone is a writer, artist, and dancer from the US who specializes in martial arts, health, and fitness. She began as a freelance ghostwriter helping authors with fiction writing and poetry then moved to online web writing. She’s addicted to sushi with ginger and wasabi, and martial arts films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Always an athlete, Lisa started martial arts training the week after an attack on the street left her feeling vulnerable, victimized, angry and helpless. Intensive martial arts training shifted that dynamic almost overnight. It was the excitement, fun, and camaraderie that kept her going back week after week to classes designed to test physical, mental, and emotional limits. And she’s still hooked—lol, pun intended! Find her at writesalternative.com.

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