What Drives Athletes to Natural Alternatives | Baesline News

What Drives Athletes to Natural Alternatives

This article is part of our DEFINITIONS series. Mentioned below are data, links and other information that our Editorial team found most interesting when researching a movement. If you have other data or information that you think is compelling about this movement, please send a note to: definitions@cadmedia.wpengine.com.

The Clean Sports Collective is a nonprofit started in 2016 to bring together “athletes, brands, events, clubs, fans and public to support the pursuit of clean sport and athletics through the absence of performance-enhancing drugs.

What are some of these natural alternatives and who uses them?

Chiropractic Care focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure, mainly the spine, and its functioning. Practitioners primarily perform adjustments to the body to correct alignment problems, alleviate pain, improve function, and support the body’s natural healing abilities.

Players across multiple sports are treated with Chiropractic Care, including Aaron Rodgers (NFL), Derrick Rose (NBA) and Phil Mickelson (PGA).

Massage Therapy includes many techniques with the type of massage usually dependent on specific needs and physical conditions.

Superstars like Kobe Bryant (NBA) and James Harrison (NFL) use Massage Therapy to recover.

Retired NBA Superstar, Kobe Bryant


Acupuncture is the insertion thin needles through the skin to stimulate specific points on the body.

Players across multiple sports use Acupuncture, including AJ Burnett (MLB) and Tony Richardson (NFL).

Cupping involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The cups themselves can be made from a variety of materials including bamboo, glass, or earthenware.

Athletes that use cupping include Michael Phelps (Swimmer) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (MLB)

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy uses a pressurized chamber to breathe out of.

A number of athletes including Ryan Braun (MLB), Wilson Chandler (NBA) and Steph Curry (NBA) own their own chambers.

Inside of a Hyperbolic Oxygen Chamber

Regenokine, or Orthokine, tries to increase the production of the anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein. In doing so it is supposed to reduce pain.

Both Andrew Bogut (NBA) and Michael Bennett (NFL) have experimented with this treatment and have also encouraged teammates to try it too.

Gyrostim is a computer controlled multi-axis rotating chair that is designed to improve balance and coordination. It has been applied to concussion cases to help people regain brain function after the impact.

This non-traditional therapy made headlines when Sidney Crosby (NHL) admitted to using it to recover from a concussion.

Stem Cell Therapy uses stem cells that are naturally found in the body to help repair damaged tissue. The process extracts stem cells from the patient and reinserts them at the point where recovery is desired.

Rafael Nadal (ATP), Pao Gasol (NBA) and Bartolo Colon (MLB) have all used Stem Cell Therapy in the past.

Despite it being banned by nearly every professional sports league, athletes are increasingly coming forward and claiming that cannabis should be allowed to be part of their training and recovery regimens.

  • Can Weed Make You a Better Athlete?, The Bleacher Report
  • The Green Team: 18 of the Biggest Cannabis Advocates in Sports, Men’s Journal
  • Most Americans approve of athletes using pot for pain, poll says, CNN
  • Amid opioid epidemic, NFL player risks career to push for medical marijuana, The Guardian