6 Hot reasons to try Upgrade Cold Brew Coffee

By Shaun Angel, CPT

How to make Cold Brew Coffee-1

At Livewell, we are all about balance in life, movement and education through our 4 legged stool of “Move-Empower-Release and Connect”. Flex 151 is about gaining strength and maximizing time, efficiency and effectiveness.  We achieve this through our research based protocols and unique program designs. Upgrade Café is about nutrition on-the-go; no, make that flavorful nutrition on-the-go, in ways that ‘hack’ the status quo. Chef Molly has no patience for bland ‘diet’ foods that lack micronutrients, so we don’t even try to go there, especially since we don’t believe in diets. Such offerings as low glycemic paleo doughnuts, getting your required protein through a ‘cookie dough bite’ instead of a boring shake, delicious smoothie concoctions-from chia puddings to pumpkin muffins are fun and healthy.  We have plenty more in store for you in the months ahead, so stay tuned!

One of our popular signature Upgrade offerings is our coffee. So, what goes into that cup of coffee that our followers have came to enjoy? Jump over to my previous blog to learn about what to look for when buying your coffee beans, making your coffee and to help make your mind up if coffee is healthy.  

This blog is centered on how to make it, and why it’s a HOT time to try our COLD Brew! Who here is so busy that they tire of waiting the 10 minutes to brew coffee? Or, maybe for lunch they want a stronger post meal gourmet cup but cannot find it around unless they resort to the mass gallons of boring and lackluster tasting gas station coffee options out there? I admit, as a coffee nerd and coffee snob, this is me sometimes: impatient to wait for a “whole brew cycle” and ticked off if the strength isn’t right. So, cold brew helps these dilemmas, has many uses and for you flavor junkies out there, it tastes better.

What is Cold Brew?  
Cold brewing refers to the method of making your coffee requiring room temperature water instead of hot water. Cold brew coffee does not men you have to drink it over ice like some people think.  With cold brewing, TIME replaces heat in the brewing process (kind of like with Flex 151 intensity of effort replaces time). Since heat is not there, the flavor compounds in the bean come out, but not the compounds extracted with high heat. We simply let the course grounds float in a tub of remineralized, reverse osmosis alkaline water for 24 hours. We then strain through a mesh filter and immediately bottle in the freshness of the concentrate. Note, this is NOT cheap instant coffee like you see sold at the store. This cold brew process is slow and takes over 24 hours to marinade/brew the water and crushed bean vs pouring in instant powder or brewing a 5 minute cup of joe with no flavor.  Cold brew concentrate is like espresso on steroids and full of flavor!

WHY Cold Brew?
Propeller hat scientists figured out that the high heat used during brew cycles pulls out less than desirable oils, fats and tannins from the roasted bean. These are the elements that most people don’t like when they come out in the flavor, which is why they add so much ‘stuff’ to their coffees (creamers, sugars, etc). If you are a wine connoisseur, you may like or disdain tannins, which create the bitter taste profile in most coffee. In fact, some dedicated coffee drinkers LOVE these bitter tannins and would never drink smooth cold brew. 8/10 people, however, hate this bitterness but like coffee. This is why the assortment of creamers are available today. The creamer smoothes the bitterness and acidity. In recent history, half and half or milk sufficed; now people are loading the historically healthy creamers with tons of artificial sweeteners, sugars and fat-free creamers, creating a very unhealthy habit. The cold brewing process gently pulls out the flavor compounds people like in the coffee, but not the bitterness (from oils and fatty acids) and bite that people do not like.

Aside from the trademark distinctively smooth flavor that people love, here are the 6 main benefits to consider with cold brew coffee:

  • Fresh, all natural coffee concentrate. We sell single shots of 3 oz or 12 oz bottles. No need to brew your coffee. Simply microwave or boil some water and add your preferred quantity of cold brew to your desired strength preference.  3 oz:9 oz water is standard for most people.  
  • Serve Hot or Cold: Aside from the usual hot water, you can add to seltzer water for a fizzy coffee indulgence or simply on ice for a hot day.
  • Less caffeine! You get the many health benefits of coffee (see my previous blog); however, the cold process doesn’t pull out as many oils…and thus not as much caffeine from the bean.
  • 67% less acidic than standard coffee! This one is BIG. People are waking up to pH and alkalinity importance in today’s acidic culture. While I would not call our coffee alkaline, it is far less acidic than normal coffee when you factor our alkaline water system and 67% less acidity resulting from the cold brew process!
  • Maximize your value and minimize your time. Ever make four cups but only drink two? Ever drink too much coffee to prevent waste, only to have the jitters? Yep, thought so!  With cold brew concentrate, only use what you wish. No waste. Accidentally sleep in and running late on time? No more coffee-less early morning meetings. Keep a bottle at work and at home! When I travel, I now carry cold brew with me and simply ask for hot water where I go (they always give me hot water free). This saves a lot of money vs a coffee house, saves time, AND I am getting an organic cup of coffee.
Upgrade Cafe Food Photography-6
  • Simple to make!  Add Upgrade cold brew to either hot or cold water. Play around and find your preferred strength. Generally, we recommend for strong coffee lovers to do 3 oz cold brew to 9 oz water. For mild coffee drinkers or those with caffeine sensitivity, 1 oz cold brew to 9 oz works well. Again, use your preference. I use straight as an ‘espresso shot’ prior to a workout. I prefer cold brew concentrate over espresso now. That’s it. Keep refrigerated if possible. Lasts 2 weeks with tight lid for maximum freshness.
Upgrade Coffee 2015-5

What makes Upgrade Café Cold Brew coffee different is found in our unique processing methods. First, we use only organic, high altitude coffee beans to keep the pesticides, chemicals and mycotoxin molds as low as possible. We receive our micro roasted coffee fresh weekly, from a local artisan roaster, Bill Slatter! This is a huge component of flavor. He orders the coffee bean unroasted directly from a specialty green coffee importer. We cold brew using our 5 stage reverse osmosis water system. The water then goes through a 15 layer remineralization cartridge to get the pH to the proper level. This also affects coffee flavor in the cold brew process. We then fresh grind our beans, cold brew and store in glass.

Recent client testimonial:
Date: 9/25/15 1:10 pmTo: "Shaun Angel" <sangel@flex151.com> 
"Thanks Shaun!  That coffee seriously is crazy good! Thanks for telling me about it. How much is one of the bigger containers you showed me, sort of looked like an old time milk container? My mind is still pretty blown at how good it is without adding anything in.
LaXXX (privacy)Sent from my iPhone"

So, next time you are in the studio, try out our signature Upgrade Café cold brew coffee. Do a side by side comparison, and experience the difference yourself! Our fresh coffee bags and cold brew concentrate make perfect gifts for that coffee aficionado!
Upgrade Cafe Cold Brewed Coffee

On Coffee: Taste, Health Benefits, Cautions and Tips

By Shaun Angel, Coffee Geek & CPT
Upgrade Coffee 2015-5 

Coffee: Such a welcome morning greeting to many…the process of brewing, the aroma, the warm wake-up signaling the official start of the day for many. At least for me, this is the case.  Whether it is cold or 100 degrees, it is the same:  I love my coffee in the morning.  However, the word conjures up pleasure or guilt to many people. Is it good, bad, healthy, going to extend life or peel back years? Coffee consumption is one of those forbidden fruits of many ‘health nuts’ and there are plenty of people, experts and research findings that support this notion. On the other hand, there is no shortage of research justifying its position in the human diet and even more current research promoting its pro-health effects. So, which is it?

The answer is yes. Both sides are right. As with many things, such as meat consumption, there are good arguments on both sides of the debate. Usually, one simply needs to backup, think logically for a minute and evaluate for themselves. In my experience, common sense tends to win over complicated arguments every time. Then, there is the whole ‘follow the money trail’ of the supposed research and deciding what it was they paid to prove in the first place, and your head could actually spin completely around. That is the very thing wrong with the ‘diet and health’ industry today. Don’t get me started on why diet and health should not be conjoined. Usually, the pursuit of one leads you away from the other. But, that is for another blog. Today’s blog is about coffee….

The Many Health Benefits of Coffee:

  • Antioxidants: A natural blend of polyphenol antioxidants are what makes organic, black coffee healthy. Actually, coffee is the #1 source of antioxidants in the American diet by a long shot!
  • Heart Health: 3-5 cups daily showed less calcium deposits in one study group of over 25,000 members in arteries…that's a good thing since calcium in the arteries is a big part of atherosclerosis. Another study said that the increased blood flow was good and lowered pressure on the heart. Another meta analysis of over 400,000 people showed decreased risk of stroke with 2-6 cups of daily consumption. Again, bear in mind they are not consuming Splenda and Caramel Candy sugar creamer in this research. It is black coffee!
  • Brain Health: There has been considerable research performed on coffee being a good neuroprotective substance, especially when consumed over long periods of time. Generally 4-6 cups daily were studied quantities. MS, Parkinson’s Dementia are all named as helped and benefited in the attached source article and sub sources from that article.
  • Better Mood: Coffee has been shown to stimulate neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, as well as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is great for a function known as neurogenesis (creating more brain cells). Your Flex 151 workout also stimulates BDNF in the brain and muscle cells, which is why I lead my workout with a good shot of coffee unless it is after 2 pm. Who said ‘brain and brawn’ cannot work together?! You certainly are smarter for joining Flex 151 (sorry couldn’t resist!)
  • Blood Sugar Help: Coffee helps with insulin sensitivity, blood sugar regulation and new research is showing anti-cancer properties, liver support, and other benefits I cannot even explain right. See article for more info below.

Here is a short list of things to watch out for with your coffee habit:

Choose organic and fair traded.  This is less than 3% of all coffee sales worldwide. Coffee is a cash crop and heavily sprayed with toxic pesticides, so most of it is not harvested with health effects in mind, even if the marketing on the bag looks 'natural'.  Instead, the large corporate interest greed for profit and the quest for economies of scale run counter to our health and the farmer growing the coffee beans. Do your homework.  Due to American volumes consumed, you don’t want to accumulate these undesirable toxins in your body. These pesticides are bad on the system and the body fights hard daily to detox this junk out of our body; plus, the chemicals will quickly offset any of the health benefits of your cup of coffee. Yes, organic costs more, but your health is worth it. Regarding fair trade, contrary to what the marketing hype says on the bag you are buying, chances are you are enjoying a cup of coffee from a source that is actually running a small business out. Fair trade helps with this. Notice, I say helps….some of even that is 'spin', so knowing your source is key.

Grind your beans fresh and preferably daily: This preserves the antioxidant effect of natural oils in the coffee and prevents rancidity. When the bean gets exposed to air, oxidation sets in and starts to eliminate the health benefits. Many ‘bulk ground’ coffees in the store are rancid prior to you even brewing. Use the 'sniff test' to find out. Make sure the aroma is fresh and strong. Your olfactory senses can tell. If you are unsure compare your coffee smell to a bag of ours next time you are in the facility (sorry—shameless plug). When grinding use an inexpensive burr grinder, not blade grinder. You want a grinder that ‘smacks’ the bean, not a blade that cuts it….better flavor! If grinding ahead for a few days, store your beans and ground coffee in an airtight container.  Don't place in fridge or freezer, a dark cabinet will suffice.
Locally Roasted Coffee-1

Use clean, cool, filtered water. This is a big one to producing maximum flavor and not adding toxins to the brew cycle. Best way to believe me here is to try side by side comparisons using regular tap water and our remineralized R/O water (yes, we sell these systems too...another shameless plug). Grab some remineralized R/O living water at your next appointment from us and try. You will be amazed as long as you aren’t using a bad bean.

If using a drip method, make sure to find non-bleached, natural paper filters. Bleached filters have been found to have dioxins and disinfection byproducts that come out and go into your coffee. Schnucks sells unbleached filters.

Preferably, find a drip coffee maker that has the least amount of plastic parts as possible. Yes, I know I sound like a crazy man, but think about it: you are running boiling water through plastic parts and drinking this first thing it the morning on an empty stomach…and probably don’t stay hydrated on a daily basis anyway! You really think there aren’t some chemicals coming through? Little by little toxins add up. Regarding the gold vs paper filter, your call there. The mesh screens will give you more flavor and are more environmentally friendly. The unbleached filters will catch much of the oil from the bean, which some research says is healthier. Personally, I use a paper filter daily and once or twice per week ‘splurge’ on a good French press or gold screen cup of joe. Yes, it is much better!

Get away from all the sugar and additives. This is sure fire way to make that morning coffee addiction bad for you! Non-dairy creamers, creamers, flavoring, artificial sugar, sugar and other stuff ruin the health effects of the coffee and are disaster for your body. If you have to do this, you are much better off killing your coffee habit as it is only serving as a carrier and delivery agent for more chemicals. Yes, especially artificial “zero calorie” sweeteners as those are far worse for you than simply adding a sugar cube. Sugar unnecessarily spikes your blood sugar levels, which spikes insulin, which starts off a cascade of unpleasant inflammation to your body and helps you form insulin resistance. I don’t think you want your chances of diabetes increasing simply from coffee, right? Almond milk and coconut milk can serve as healthy creamers to cut the bitterness. If you tell me to jump a creek and still need the sweetener, I understand, but please opt for pure stevia, unsulphured molasses, local honey, or maple syrup or coconut sugar.  Those are natural sweeteners and do less harm on the body.  You will find that as you cut the sugars and processed foods from your diet, you will lose the need to add sugars. Who knows, maybe without the sugars and creamers you learn you don’t even like coffee and you instead start drinking more water and/or green matcha tea. If someone is still telling you that artificial sweeteners are fine for you or better than real sugar and will help you lose weight because they are calorie free, you need to tell them to stop and get with the program. They are lost and outdated. The bad information on that stuff is easily studied and debunked. I will help you with volumes of info and even a few entire books if you need them; just ask. Better yet, schedule some additional time with your trainer, Molly or Lisa to learn how to kick the sugar habit once and for all.

What about decaf coffee? If you are sensitive to caffeine but still like coffee, many people opt for decaf thinking it is healthier. Shoot for organic only when buying decaf. The reason is you will guarantee the processing method that removes the caffeine to be of a Swiss type (uses only water) or a Direct Method (using a plant hormone known as ethyl acetate or carbon dioxide). Non organic coffees can use a method known as Direct Process (which uses a chemical known as methyl chloride) to remove the caffeine. This methyl chloride is not good stuff according to the National Institute of Health, which lists it as cancer causing carcinogen. Keep in mind that if you are drinking decaf to reap the benefits of coffee cited here, that likely won’t work as many of the health benefits are, weirdly enough, related to the caffeine itself that is naturally present in the natural bean. Not all, but many of the benefits.

Watch your consumption! When you hear a ‘cup’ of coffee, researchers are referring to a 5-8 oz cup; most coffee houses start at 12 oz. Research shows benefits are less the higher in quantity you go and over 10 cups per day shows adverse effects on the body.

Make sure to stop drinking coffee after 2 pm max or it will certainly affect your sleep cycles and circadian rhythm (unless you are a fast caffeine metabolizer...we all know people who can sleep like a log after their dinner coffee.  

Don't count coffee in your (1/2 your body weight in ounces water) daily water goal.  Even though I love coffee and admittedly use it as a crutch due to a fast paced lifestyle, it dehydrates me. After 4-5 cups I am craving water. If I don’t stop then, I get a 2 pm headache.

If you are pregnant, it’s probably best to avoid coffee or any type of caffeine. The caffeine passes through the placenta and gives zero benefits to the baby. Even decaf is not caffeine free (3-18 mg per cup).

A final caution centers around lifestyle: the more rested I am, the less coffee drives my day. Balance is key in life. If you are after antioxidants and a healthy life, focus on healthy nutrition and whole food eating as laid out in our Whole 9 guide. You don’t need coffee. With that being said, I admit I like coffee…without sugar; just plain black, strong coffee. Just like my occasional glass of red wine and dark chocolate addiction, I do the best I can sourcing the healthiest options. Coffee for me is an enjoyment.  I try to use the best beans and process I can, and as a result of it costing more, I started drinking less and appreciating a good up of joe more than just the weak and tasteless and bitter mud water I used to drink. Same thing happened with wine and chocolate. Funny how that works. My team members get onto me when I start going back for more coffee, and it is always because I have been pushing the needle too much. Just like recovery makes Flex 151 work, our body needs recovery.  In today’s modern, frenzied culture, Starbucks are popping up everywhere for more reasons than the European coffee house experience that made them famous and subsequently changed the American coffee experience. We American’s are nuts on stimulants to keep us from resting. So, generally if you are in a frenzied lifestyle and always on the go, you my friend are a perfect candidate to drastically curb your coffee consumption to protect your adrenals and not exacerbate the band-aid effect of the caffeine. Yes, I am talking to myself here! To you others, enjoy in moderation and ask me for any research you want. I can make your head spin with the positive effects of coffee and could talk hours on moderate, unsweetened coffee consumption being one of LEAST of your worries in the health world. Enjoy it and quit letting people sucking down diet cokes and heavy grain based diets tell you to quit drinking coffee. However, counter that with the fact that the research I find shows 2-6 cups per day! Keep in mind this is FAR less than standard America’s Grande cup and incessant refills. So, moderation is key. Be conservative. Another thing I am doing lately is skipping a week every month to keep me honest.  As I write this, I have just came off a ZERO caffeine kick for a MONTH as part of a liver cleanse.  Caffeine is a potent drug. Health effects in moderation are one thing; pure out addiction and using ‘research’ to justify weakness is another. If this is you like it was me (and still is at times I admit), we need to talk about meditation, yoga, the chi machine, sleep quality vs quantity, nutrition and other lifestyle factors. These are all the things that drove Molly and I to expand the business into Livewell.

Move-Empower-Release-Connect-Nourish-Strengthen. Health and wellness is a process and takes a balanced approach. We want to help.
Upgrade Cafe Cold Brewed Coffee

By the way, if you don’t want to worry about the above stuff, we have the highest quality and freshest coffee around. I guarantee it when you take into account not only taste and freshness, but health and wellness. Adding to above list of things to look for is the fact that our beans are roasted WEEKLY, thereby adding considerably to the freshness, taste and antioxidant levels. We sell a full 16oz bag for less price than most store organic specialty coffees, which trick you by selling you only 12 oz in a bag (a trick that really started to surface after the last recession).  Flavor is freshness with coffee, so the freshest coffee you find with normal distribution at stores around here is about 3 months.  We source only high altitude and wet-washed coffee beans to keep dangerous mycotoxins and other molds prevalent in coffee beans as low as possible. Plus, Bill Slatter of Berries to Beans here in town is who does our microroasting at precise temperatures to give you flavor without the 'burnt to a crisp' bitterness of your local FiveBucks. If you think I nerd out a little in this article on health and impact from coffee, you haven’t seen anything until Bill gets a hold of you and starts discussing the cupping notes and profiles of the various coffee beans he provides us to our specs that would make any sommelier in the wine industry grin and be impressed. Truly amazing man. So, you are not only supporting local at Livewell, you are supporting Bill and Jackie’s passion, and Molly and my passion, to provide you with the best possible enjoyment, with highest possible health effects, of your daily coffee habit.

Thanks to all of you who support Livewell, and thanks for putting up with my long blog! 

Please read more and check some source information at this site and by following the article citations: Dr. Mercola Geeky Coffee Health Effect Article

The "Nerd Info" Behind the Unusual & Mysterious, yet Invigorating & Relaxing, Chi Machine Session

By Shaun Angel, CPT

So, what is this "woo-woo" sounding Chi Machine at Livewell?  I know many of you still don't know what this service is all about, even though you may be in a membership package that includes this service.  I mean, what gives?  Livewell featuring Flex 151 is all about computerized robotics, data driven health improvements and cutting edge and research based solutions for your health.  So why would we offer a strange sounding service that sounds like something out of one of an old karate film?  In all seriousness, the answer is simple: because the science is sound, and it works to help us feel better!  Today's post sheds some light and breaks it down:  what it is, how it works, and why you should care for your health and peace of mind.  So, read on and schedule your session today!  You will not regret the 20 minutes of time it takes to feel so much better.

Background. The Eastern sense of the word “chi” means energy, or life force energy. The unusual Chi Machine is a passive aerobics stimulator, developed by Dr. Shizuo Inoue, Chairman of Japan's Oxygen Health Association. Dr. Inoue believed that a lack of oxygen and poor circulation were the cause of many chronic diseases. Dr. Inoue, who has spent decades researching the relationship between oxygen levels in the body and the quality of human health, got his idea by watching goldfish swimming. Engineers took his basic concept and designed the Chi Machine. ® "The pattern of motion the machine generates in the human body uses minimum effort and achieves maximum results," says Dr. Inoue. "It improves the basic metabolism of the body, increases our energy, adds flexibility to our lives and improves our attitude. It can also increase our sense of awareness, balancing the mind/body connection."

Unlike many forms of exercise, it is easy to experience its benefits (you simply lie there), and provides excellent results without stress or injury. No one is too out of shape or too in shape to benefit. 20 minutes on the Chi Machine is like 10,000 steps, or walking for 90 minutes, when looking at oxygenation of tissues. When we refer to ‘passive aerobics’, we are referring to the circulation and oxygenation effects of the body.  See the chi Machine live the The Doctor's Show:

Benefits you may experience from your session.  The Chi Machine ® passive aerobics session stimulates an exclusive body response through gentle "figure 8" oscillations with the body helping to:

  • Counteract the effects of stress by rapidly inducing a deep state of relaxation
  • The gentle wave-like movement of the spine relaxes the muscles of the back, improving flexibility and movement while relieving pain.
  • Promote blood cell production, blood circulation and tissue oxygenation.
  • Relax muscles locally
  • Relieve vertebra joint pressure
  • Promote a sense of well being
  • Enhance lymphatic drainage
  • Enhance detoxification
  • Improve immune system function
  • Massage abdominal organs to aid in digestion
  • Stimulate the flow of “Chi” energy throughout the body
  • Improve athletic recovery times, or speed recovery post workout
  • The perfect synergy to use before a FAR IR Sauna session, after a Whole Body vibration session or before/after yoga for centering and other synergistic effects
Your Experience Awaits!  Book Now!

What to expect and How it works:

Our clients joke it is like swimming on land! The gentle, repetitive oscillation of the Chi Machine is non-jarring and very passive. Nothing to be nervous about! The specific movement pace and travel creates relaxation, helping to change Beta brainwaves to a relaxed Alpha brainwave state, enhanced by the precise figure eight motion the machine generates. It is this 144 side to side motions per minute programming that is actually stimulating a lateral flexion in the spine, activating the sympathetic nervous system to calm down, which then allows the tiny tubes in the lungs known as bronchi and alveoli to expand, thus driving more oxygen between lungs and circulatory system. This is what is allowing the oxygenation to occur. When we walk, we are really only moving forward and backward. The chi machine, conversely, is moving us side to side creating the action through vertebral movement. (Ok, I will take my propeller hat off now!)

At Livewell, we are always ‘upgrading’ things where it makes sense, so you will additionally experience your chi machine session while lying on a specially designed FAR Infrared (FIR) Heating pad. Far IR heat is actually a form of light and the results of FIR are phenomenal. Heat therapy can enhance the immune system, increase blood flow and oxygenation, relieve minor aches and pains and help to eliminate toxins. The heating pad helps to warm along the spine and increase circulation through increased capillary action; basically, helping to drive blood flow and thus increasing oxygenation throughout the body. See my recent blog on the effects of FAR IR heat after you read this.  Due to the effects of meditation and the chi machine's help with shifting our brain state, we pair your Chi Machine Service with a selection of our tranquil meditation music or even binaural beats. These facilitate a quicker brainwave shift to allow relaxation to occur. This trifecta combination allows a deep state of relaxation to occur as the body quickly unloads pressure and moves from our normal sympathetic nervous system state, or fight or flight response most Americans are perpetually in….to a parasympathetic relaxation state where true restoration can occur.

All this happens quickly with our unique combination approach of the Chi Machine's gentle undulating motion, the red light tinted room, the Far IR heating pad and the binaural meditation sounds and music in your ears. A 20 minute session leaves you refreshed and ready to tackle the day! Test us in this. You will be amazed at how good you feel after, and your resulting productivity increase will more than make up for the lost 20 minutes you gave yourself.

Things to consider to be ready for your session:

  • Drink a glass of water prior and after your session. Many of the benefits come from the lymphatic stimulation, which releases toxins. Staying hydrated helps facilitate these toxins out of the system.
  • Don’t get up quickly after a session. Roll to your side and ‘come to’ for a few minutes. You will likely feel a slight tingling sensation in your extremities and a little euphoria. Enjoy this feeling; it is the best part! We call it the “Chi Rush”!
  • Let yourself go! Quit thinking and just be. This helps you get more out of your session. You have the rest of your day to be stressed out.
  • Regular street clothes are fine. You will simply remove your shoes. We have a specially designed pad to cushion your ankles and bolsters for under your knees if you suffer from knee pain. Risk of injury is very low as you are simply lying flat on your back and not actively engaging any part of your fully supported body. Heart rate and resting blood pressure will not increase.  Check with your physician if you are unsure if this is ok for you.
  • It is better to start slowly and work up your time due to the rapid detoxification that can occur if you haven’t been exercising. All it takes is 4-6 minutes once or twice daily, slowly working up to 15-20 minutes max per session.


The Sun Ancon Chi Machine, is licensed and classified as a medical device in three countries.— Japan 1993: O2B 1539 and 02B 0694 – Australia 2001: L 81810 – Canada 2004: 28813 and 66598

HTE Americas Informational Video on Chi Machine: How it Works and Health Effects

It has been studied in extensive clinical trials, even being cited for review on PubMed.gov for effectiveness for those with secondary leg lymphadema.

The Sun Ancon Chi Machine Aerobic Exerciser: a new patient focused, home based therapy for people with chronic secondary leg lymphedema.

Whole Body Vibration: “Shake it up” & Accelerate your Health!

By Shaun Angel, CPT

We are excited to introduce Whole Body Vibration Training, also known as Acceleration Training, to Livewell Services! I will apologize up front for this lengthy blog, but just as with the research behind Flex 151, answering questions or addressing your skepticism is not able to be answered quickly. Guy Kawasaki writes in his book “Enchantment”, ‘the greater the mousetrap, the harder it is to sell because it goes against conventional wisdom and thinking’. Well, that is exactly the marketing dilemma of Livewell featuring Flex 151.  As an example, everyone cites ‘no time’ as an excuse for why they cannot exercise or ‘confusion of eating’ on why they are not on a healthy eating plan. None of these people would argue the logic that exercise and eating vegetables would help them. But, as soon as you give them solutions for their problems with Flex 151 as in “15 minutes, once or twice weekly, coupled with eating whole foods that rot and don’t equate to sugar in the body 80% of the time”…you know what they do…they pull out the huge “skepticism card” and say “I don’t believe it..no way..that goes against everything I have ever heard”. As you have probably already figured out as you started to tell people about us at Flex 151, the most skeptical of your friends and family are not even 'in the arena' doing something to help their health. That’s right, they are not exercising, eating right, etc. You just took away their excuses and gave them some solutions and they made another excuse as to why they cannot start their health journey. It is just human nature, and we all do it. Yes, even me!  So, thank you for your referrals, because I definitely know how hard it is to get someone to start!! Yes, I do know you have told a ton of people about us, even if they have not called yet.

This digression has a point, I promise. The topic of today’s blog is equally as controversial to conventional fitness wisdom as is high intensity training is to reducing workout time. So, I am going to give you enough information to make an informed decision as to its effectiveness, benefits to be gained from its use, as well as plenty of sources to read aside from my propaganda.  Haha!  I am used to it with selling Flex 151. Enjoy!!

How Does Whole Body Vibration Work?  Whole Body Vibration, or WBV, trains and conditions your body through acceleration, not mass, in order to improve fitness and health. You probably learned while studying gravity, Newton’s Second Law of Motion in high school:
Force = Mass x Acceleration.

WBV consists of sitting or standing on a platform that vibrates in a way designed to stimulate your hormonal, cardiovascular, lymphatic, and nervous systems simultaneously. In other words, WBV challenges your body’s innate stability response by working your proprioceptors. This system controls balance and equilibrium. As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy to your body, forcing your muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second by inciting a stretch reflex in the muscles known as the “Tonic Vibratory Reflex” (the same involuntary reflex that initiates when your doctor causes you knee to jerk) . The activity may cause you to feel as if you're exerting yourself, and you can use it to get the lymphatic, oxygenation and circulatory benefits of hours of walking, or you can perform some simple movements to get actual exercise that enhances quality of muscle, regardless of age or fitness level. It is not only a localized muscular effect however. The brain does not know which part of the muscle spindle to use, so it flexes and releases the entire muscle at once, which is why a 20 minute WBV session can achieve the conventional exercise equivalent of 60 minutes!

From an exercise standpoint, normal strength training uses the first part of this formula, Mass, to simulate gravity and drive Force on the body. It is this Force that drives the benefits we experience from exercise and to get stronger with weight training. To increase force, you have to continually increase mass (weight) in the gym, or intensity at Flex 151. WBV, on the other hand, uses the other part of the Force equation, Acceleration, in order to make improvements on the body by forcing the body to make tiny muscular counter movements up to 50 times per second. Holding weight against vibration increases the effects of gravity. By making the muscles react this rapidly, WBV also drives force on the body, but without the pressure of standard exercise on joints and with only your body weight being used. Whole body Vibration training has been advocated as a therapeutic method in the treatment of sarcopenia (age related loss of muscle), osteoporosis, and metabolic syndrome and is used in the fitness industry, physical therapy applications, rehabilitation, professional sports, and beauty and wellness applications. There are over 200 documented studies showing WBV’s effects on the body and its use is accepted by major medical and athletic centers across the country with research going back 50 years.
oscillating wbv

This technology is nothing new. Back in the 60’s, when the ‘Space Race’ was underway, the Soviets were working with technology to allow their cosmonauts to stay in space longer. You see, without gravitational pull on the body, muscle atrophy and bone loss sets in rapidly. Their ‘vibrational’ secret made gravity work for them in a zero gravity environment and the result was that cosmonauts were able to stay in space 400 days vs Americans 130. So, this news spread through Europe, where many professional athletes and Olympic contenders began using WBV as a training tool for greater muscle health and performance. Even today, there is considerably more research performed in Europe vs America, where it is still pretty new to the scene. I first heard about Acceleration training around 2006, was very impressed by the research, and was seriously thinking about buying a machine about 2012. I was even more sold after doing a workout on one at the simplicity of using a simple formula mash-up (F=MxA) to drive results on the body. As a sales professional at the time, time was then and still is a precious commodity.

For years, many health minded people have known the benefits of rebounding on a mini trampoline daily. The effects of rebounding include increased circulation, enhanced cardiovascular function, lymphatic stimulation, strength, joint health…all without injurious forces and stress on the ankles, knees, and hips versus jogging. That is why rebounding is still so popular today, especially among the elderly population; in fact, if you can find a mini trampoline, it would be a great 15-20 minute workout to add to your day regardless of your age! The rebounding effect adds G-Forces to your body. When you jump you unload gravitational pull at the top and when you come back down you load 2-3 times the force of gravity depending on how aggressive and high the jump. But before you skip Livewell and go buy a mini trampoline, WBV is like your muscles and system experiencing the stimulation of 30-50 rebounds a second as you make gently body movements on a platform! It’s this constant muscle tensioning that increases muscle strength, flexibility, balance and circulation. That’s right! 95% of your muscles are activated with WBV stimulus, including the fast and super fast twitch muscle fibers, due to the vibration causing a rapid acceleration/deceleration of the tissues causing a forced involuntary contraction. Conventional resistance exercise activates about 40% of muscle fibers, generally the slow twitch fibers only (note this is with conventional weight training, not Flex 151, which stimulates more muscle recruitment through our sequential recruitment of slow and fast twitch muscle fibers and concentric and eccentric isokinetic engagement). So if you are looking for another time efficient means to safely move between your Flex 151 workouts, WBV can help you gets the benefits of exercise, just faster and more efficiently

How does WBV fit in with Flex 151?  At Livewell featuring Flex 151, we are about time efficiency, safety and effectiveness through research based programs and solutions that improve lives. Why is it that at the beginning of every January, the gyms get so crowded you cannot find a machine and 6 weeks into the new year, you can generally pick your spot? The reason is people are human—they are busy. The ‘want' to get healthier is there, but the time, know-how and continued motivation is not. That is where we step in with Flex 151 to improve your total body fitness in 15 minutes once or twice weekly. However, we never tell you that is all you have to do to achieve true health. Livewell steps in for the other 80% of the game to help you Move-Empower-Release-Connect and Nourish. Livewell’s Whole Body Vibration Training helps you in the ‘off days’ between your next Flex 151 interval training session or workout and yoga. We don’t claim that it can take the place of what yoga and Flex 151 can do for you health, but it can sure help you boost your fitness, strength, tone, flexibility, bone density, circulation, oxygenation, detoxification and range of motion all in a time-efficient manner. Like 15 minutes! See some examples of how it can fit into a well rounded program:

  • Having a hard time hitting your 10,000 steps per day? Let WBV help you increase that movement.
  • Need help with warming up the body and stimulating your lymphatic system?
  • Like the idea of increasing your energy, boosting neurotransmitters and need a mood ‘elevator’ to brighten your day? WBV can help.
  • Not interested in Flex 151 or yoga, WBV can be a very good ease into a fitness routine, where it will help your mobility, balance and bone mineral density. It takes no skill, exercises are easy and consistent use can build vitality.
So what do some very well known performers like Queen Latifah, numerous professional sports teams and thousands of athletes know about WBV that we don’t?

Additional Benefits: 

  • Boosts muscle strength, flexibility, balance/equilibrium, endurance and gait.  
  • By improving balance and coordination, and promoting normal muscle mass, WBV can make a difference in the quality of life of seniors.
  • For seniors who have a hard time performing aerobic exercise, using WBV can help them improve performance, allowing them to become stronger, faster and more agile, according to recent research (see source below)
  • Reduce soreness and pain and contributes to a faster recovery after an intense workout
  • Improved core stability
  • Improvement in blood circulation
  • Increased lymphatic drainage (lymph doesn’t move through a pump so has to be stimulated through muscular work)
  • Can yield smother skin through increased circulation and more youthful and glowing appearance
  • Improved range of motion through dynamic movements and localized stretching. Vibration enhances stretching!
  • Decreased cellulite and visceral fat around the belly
  • Decreased workout time
  • Reduce stress through cortisol lowering effect
  • Improve digestion and speed up metabolism
  • Improve bone mineral density
  • Increase endorphins, mood and increase energy immediately through the powerful and fast oxygenation of cellular tissues.
  • Improve sleep

Where I see the major benefit for WBV is in the neuromuscular training effect of the entire body as a whole. It really goes hand in hand with Flex 151’s sequential recruitment of muscle fibers philosophy. Our body is very complex. Both programs are really neuromuscular integration programs designed to connect the muscle with the mind, what I call connecting ‘brain and brawn’. With Flex 151, you have to ‘follow the line’, which is training this control aspect, coupled with ‘holding the line’ as you fatigue and have to pick up effort. WBV addresses your whole body at one time, making your motor units fire 30-50 times per second without you even thinking as your body sub-state is feeling an imbalance under foot. This is very different than training one body part at a time, even with Flex 151. Together, we are filling in gaps. Just like getting out of the box is good in yoga and barre, by forcing your body to work the muscle in a truly functional way, WBV adds this same element. It is very time efficient. 15 minutes is all you need.

For 5 years I have kept Flex 151 high intensity training 1-2 times per week as my foundation. I add in around that weekly martial arts with my son. When the weather is nice I try to get on a SUP board and paddle or mountain bike. I add yoga or Pilates when I can and try to get as much ‘non-exercise’ movement like walking in that I can daily. The way I use WBV is to pre-warm for my Flex 151 workouts and to cool down. I do it mainly for the lymphatic stimulation, oxygenation and circulation. My workouts are very intense, so it prepares my mind for what is to come with that leg press! Secondly, I do it for active isolated stretching routine on non-Flex 151 days to work my range of motion. My recovery times between workouts have improved. I like the ‘stimulated mind’ feeling I have when doing 5-10 minutes of WBV on of days either morning or evening, and I notice I sleep better on days I do WBV.

One of the best uses for WBV is for someone who is just starting a fitness routine and a little uneasy about jumping in to yoga, barre or Flex 151. It can be a very passive workout not requiring effort to still reap benefits. For seniors, it is perfect, and just like Flex 151, they have the most to gain because they have had more time to accumulate loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia). A little improvement yield big changes as our skeletal muscle is the 'engine that drives the car' so to speak. For a great combination, going from 15 minutes on the WBV to the FAR IR Sauna creates a synergistic effect with exercise, detox and circulation. Kick up your favorite yoga moves by performing them on a WBV session! Feeling stiff? Simply do a normal stretching routine with body part on the platform for maximum blood flow, stretch and circulation. Want a high intensity strength session, let us help you do super slow compound sets while on the vibe. Like the unilateral leg press? Try unilateral while forcing your muscles to respond 30x per second! Wish to smoke out your deep core stabilizer muscles? Try planks for a minute hold followed by unilateral arm and leg movements. You might wish you hadn’t!

WBV can enhance your general well-being and quality of life regardless of age or physical condition. I invite you to schedule a session in the weeks ahead and see and feel for yourself!

Just for clarification, we are not equating WBVT to the famed ‘Shake Weight’ (in case you were wondering)! haha...I couldn't resist because I know what you were thinking!  Please don’t equate 50 years of research in whole body vibration to a $20 Wally world shake weight and dismiss the science! Besides, fat loss is accomplished through the proper hormonal environment and occurs globally, not locally.  Spot reduction in fat from your workouts does not work and is one of the oldest fitness industry scams out there (like doing more sit-ups to lose belly weight is a lie the fitness industry propagates because it is an easy myth to go along with).

What to expect for your first WBV Appointment?

Due to the detoxifying effects of WBV and how much the lymphatic system is stimulated, just like Flex 151, more is not better. Start at 5 minutes and work up your time, as it is easy to overdo it on WBV in the beginning. Drink a bottle of water before and immediately after your session. You can perform exercises passively by simply standing on the platform. Once you get acclimated to this, moving between isometric holds (statics) to dynamic movement (full or partial range of motion) is a great idea. As with any exercise program, it is wise to consult a physician before beginning.

So, if you are skeptical like I was in the beginning, then continue following links and reading more information. If you are also tired of reading and want to actually start to make a difference in your health, then schedule a session NOW. Feeling is believing, just like with Flex 151. Whether you are looking to lose belly weight and help with cellulite, improve flexibility, reduce pain, improve balance and mobility…or even improve your golf swing, WBV can help. Schedule an appointment today and give it a month trial. WBV is another tool in your ‘health kit’ to help create the balance in life you want without sacrificing wasted time. Remember, Livewell is about YOUR Life: Transformed, which is why we continually push the needle on researching out of the box solutions to meet the demands of your busy, modern life. Through our unique blend of Move-Empower-Release and Connect services, and preferably balanced with Flex 151’s Intelligent Strength System, you CAN achieve improved wellness and health. Start today! Your quality of life is worth it!

Sources and Further Research:

Summary of Research for Whole Body Vibration

The Truth About Whole Body Vibration, 2nd Edition.

Becky Chambers, “Whole Body Vibration: The Future of Good Health,” Charlottesville: Quartet Books, 2013.

Effects of a short-term whole body vibration intervention on physical fitness in elderly people

Fibromyalgia and the relevance of the whole-body vibration exercises in vibratory platforms: a short review