THE LAB is a collaboration of best-in-class physical performance and wellness professionals, focused on improving human performance by using cutting-edge research and techniques related to both athletic performance and individual wellness. We place an emphasis on building, restoring, and regenerating the human body. At THE LAB, clients of all levels and abilities have access to the tools they need to improve, recover, and perform to their full potential.
It’s been 11 years since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In those 11 years I’ve learned that the words “ache”, “fatigue”, and “brain fog” do not even come close to describing what it’s like to live with RA. It just can’t be explained in words. If you have RA, you know what I mean. When I get to talk with others who have RA, it’s like we share an unspoken language even though we just met. We understand what it’s like to have sleepless nights because of the pain, to take awhile to get going in the morning, and to feel mentally slow as the result of the meds. I find it comforting to talk with you. You remind me that I’m not alone. So here’s my story; I hope it’s helpful to you.
A year ago my husband told me about whole-body Cryotherapy at The LAB and that it might help with RA. A few days later he took me there, and we both experienced our first Cryo session. I was having a bit of a flare that Saturday morning. As I walked in I had a limp, and I had my husband fill out my paperwork since writing wasn’t comfortable. But after two minutes in the Cryo sauna, my limp was gone. Then I picked up a pen and wrote without pain. Relief. I felt relief.
That feeling lasted about a day. On Sunday I could feel the RA pressing back. When Monday came, I signed up for a month of Cryo. I went in six days a week and felt better with each Cryo session. After two weeks, skipping Sunday wasn’t a problem since the Cryo effect was lasting about two days. I was starting to feel better.
I signed up for my second month and then my third and then my fourth. I continued to go in six days a week. As time went on, I felt better and better, and found that I could be without Cryo for three, four, and five days. The inflammation in my joints decreased, as did the pain. I started walking for exercise, and my daily routine began to change because everything was easier and less tiring.
It’s been a year since my first Cryo session, and my life has been changed. I walk three miles a day, get great sleep, have lots of energy, and live without RA pain — and that’s without medication. (No brain fog!) The inflammation in my joints has decreased so much that my joints look pretty similar to my pre-RA joints. I can be away from Cryo for a week now, and maybe longer. (We’ll see!) But most of all, I feel like the person I was 12 years ago, before that dreaded diagnosis. I’m thankful that I can now share a fuller life with my husband and sons, and that I can do more to bless them.
If you or a loved one has RA, or another autoimmune disease, know that you are not alone. The Lab is a place that wants to help you. There you will find people who will support you, care about you, and genuinely desire to help you feel better.
Looking back a year, I now realize that I had forgotten what “normal” felt like. “Normal” feels GREAT.
Debbie Paras, Lab Client
When I suffered a complete Achilles rupture, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, other than a long, tedious, and challenging recovery. Immediately, I Googled “Kobe Bryant Achilles Rehab”, assuming what Kobe did was probably the best of the best! After a ton of research on rehabilitation and physical therapists in the San Luis Obispo area, I ended up deciding on THE LAB all the way out in Santa Barbara!
THE LAB transformed a devastating, debilitating injury, into one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life.
The rehabilitation process I go through, truly rivals that of professional athletes! After receiving treatment (which included using the Alter G to learn to walk with a proper gait again, Cryo to make the body feel good after getting worked on, and Normatec pants for more feel-goodness), Mike Swan and Alex Ash developed a customized program to rebuild my strength from the ground up. At the beginning, my strength program literally included big toe strengthening exercises. It was amazing how out of kilter my entire body was after 8 weeks of not bearing weight on my left leg!
I’m confident when my rehab is complete, I’ll be a stronger, more explosive, and balanced athlete than ever before, and I will have complete confidence in my injured Achilles. I am extremely grateful I found Mike, Marcus, Kate, Kaylene, Bentley, Ruth, Alex, Rob and the rest of THE LAB family!
Bryan Sosa, LAB Client
My name is Andre and I’m from Brazil. I have been living in Santa Barbara for 9 years. Sports have always been a focus for me and in many ways has guided my life.
In March 2011, while snowboarding with my brother, I suffered a traumatic accident that forever changed the course of my life. After a femur fracture on a Friday, doctors worked to save my life and ultimately had to amputate my leg, above the knee, 5 days later.
Soon enough I was back into sports, surfing as my recovery and rehab, as well as using my background as a physical therapist throughout it all.
With the help of “angels” in my path I decided to pick a new sport, Paratriathlon. With the next Paralympics happening in my home country, and the sport’s debut as well, a new dream was born and a hard goal was set for me.
I’m fully backed by Loma Linda University’s Team PossAbilities for all my racing, travelling and equipment. I also have other amazing sponsors and supporters, locally and internationally.
One such sponsor has really helped to raise the level of my game —THE LAB. I’m so lucky they happen to be in the town I chose to live in and feel blessed and fortunate that they invited me to join them. Having their high-tech machinery at my disposal is insane! This is the kind of stuff that I never even dreamed I would have the privilege of taking advantage of! It has definitely made me a better athlete and pushed me beyond my limits. The goal I set for myself is very far from being a walk in the park. However, having THE LAB in my corner has given me way more confidence than ever before that I will accomplish my mission!
Thank you to THE LAB for all that you do for me. Much love and blessings!
Andre Barbieri, LAB Member