This NFL Player Turns To Alternative Medicine To Stay In Shape. Here's What You Should Steal

mbg Contributor By Krysten Peck
mbg Contributor
Krysten Peck is a freelance writer specializing in arts, wellness, brands, and visual storytelling. She received a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College.

Conversations with today's professional athletes aren't just about punishing regimes and workout playlists, they're about plant-based diets and yoga practices. As it turns out, recovery is just as important to professional athletes' training programs as it is to the wider wellness community, and it signals that the sports world is adopting a more holistic mindset.

On the heels of Sunday’s SuperBowl LII game, Patriots player James Harrison was recently profiled in National Geographic for his commitment to holistic health in managing and treating his pain from two decades worth of physical trauma on the football field.

Harrison is the the oldest defensive linebacker in NFL history and understands the reality that comes along with this title, mostly relating to what is considered ‘old age’ in professional football.

“Some guys do some of the things I do,” said Harrison. “Some don’t. Players try different things. You have to find what works for your body and be committed,” Harrison tells National Geographic.

Harrison may encourage experimentation, but the linebacker has his team of alternative healers locked-in, including a chiropractor and a massage therapist who specializes in traditional Chinese medicine practices such as cupping and acupuncture. To stay in top condition, Harrison employs these holistic health practitioners on a weekly, consistent basis year-round to aid his body in the recovery process, especially during off-season.

For the Patriots linebacker, these treatments help offset the muscle soreness after grueling workout sessions and training practices. Plus, they help jumpstart his bounce back abilities. “All I know is before I get treated, I HURT, and after, I feel better,” shares Harrison in response to larger questions the medical community has posed regarding the lasting benefits of said alternative health treatments. In addition to a recovery plan, Harrison sticks to a diet free of sugar, alcohol, and processed carbs.

While Harrison’s health regmine sets him back at a steep yearly cost of $350,000, he remarks that these treatments have enabled him to beat the biological clock and play past the designated prime of most footballers.

Harrison and his teammate Tom Brady are two of the oldest players in the NFL and both have attributed their longevity to investing in their health the holistic way, with nutrition and functional fitness at the core of their routines.

Whether you’re a wellness devotee in full-bloom or on the precipice of diving into upgrading your day-to-day routine, Harrison’s no-BS take on caring for your body is a reminder that any investment (not restrictive to six figures) in your well-being is one for the long run.

Curious to learn more about acupuncture? Read about how the treatment can help with pain and stress.

And are you ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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