The Future of Health and Wellness Is A Responsive Textile

08/28/2017 01:41 pm ET Updated Aug 28, 2017

F.D.A. reviewed invincible technology to the rescue

The Salewa Puez Half Zip jacket made with  TirolWool Celliant textiles.
Image courtesy Celliant
The Salewa Puez Half Zip jacket made with TirolWool Celliant textiles.

In 2005, T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell published The China Study, a book based on a 20-year study concerning optimal diets for a life that’s longer and of better quality. By 2013 it had been on The New York Times Bestsellers List and had sold well over a million copies. Its popularity, a precursor to the health drive that was about to kick in full gear. Then came the wellness based literature, health websites, and doctor-hosted TV shows that swept the nation. Athleisure boomed in 2015 followed by the quick rise of wearable technology and fitness-inundated social media. As information became readily accessible, the consumers focus zoomed in on life longevity, disease prevention through apparel in particular. Yet despite the many waist-trainers, weighted vests and sauna-belts promoting quick fixes disguised as health tools, their impracticalities along with lack of medical approval create hidden dangers.

In 2016, Dr. Mehmet Oz testified in front of Congress for his promotion of a “miracle diet pill” due to a class action lawsuit against himself. According to their website, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve or give accreditation to such products and for good reason. Established in 1938, the federal agency is dedicated to overseeing and regulating the safety of drugs, tobacco, and medical products to name a few. In order to protect the consumer, the F.D.A. expresses that to make health related claims, companies must fulfill certain criteria proven by scientific research prior to being approved. A topic as serious as one's health puts pressure on the wellness industry which is why companies like Hologenix spend years working towards the necessary F.D.A. approval.

In July 2017, the F.D.A. designated of Hologenix textile, Celliant, as a medical device and general wellness product. A combination of the words cell and reliant, Celliant is a vasodilator and responsive textile that uses the wearers own energy to help regulate blood flow. But how does a fabric do all that?

A post shared by Celliant (@celliant) on

Developed over the span of 16 years, the textile has infrared fibers within its thread as a means of conducting blood flow and recycling the body's energy. Like something out of a sci-fi novel, Hologenix CEO Seth Casden explains that the “fibers were selected for their thermo-reactive ability to convert body heat into infrared energy and emit it back into the body, it’s completely natural using the body's own energy.” Created with a team of researchers, developers and scientists, Celliant can now make the physiological claim and be placed on the market giving consumers peace of mind to know it will help their blood circulation.

What can good blood circulation do for you?

The importance of blood circulation is simple, it supplies oxygen to the brain, heart and every organ of the body. To find out if poor blood circulation is an issue, all it takes is a quick Google search for “blood circulation medication” that yields over 1.8 million results. The epidemic is only set to grow because according to recent studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 Americans currently experiences chronic pain and 75 million have high blood pressure.

Geographical view of US population with self-reported hypertension according to data from 2011.
Image courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Geographical view of US population with self-reported hypertension according to data from 2011.

While technological advancements and innovations created comfortable lifestyles, they also brought out new physical ailments not dealt with before. Poor blood circulation is a hidden condition that impacts many Americans leading to varicose veins, hypertension, high blood pressure and more. “There's no energy organ, energy is made by every single cell individually and that process is dependent on blood flow and getting oxygen into the cell. This can improve and enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cell thereby improving the body's ability to produce energy,” Casden explains.  

To aid circulation many turn to medication, therapeutic treatment and experimental trends which can prove to be expensive. Diet and exercise are important factors as well but having that extra  tool full of thermo-reactive minerals that can increase blood flow will positively impact oxygen levels, enhance cell vitality, sleep quality, stamina and regulate body temperature.

Why infrared is key

Infrared has become more than a popular health buzzword in recent years with IR lights being implemented in saunas, yoga studios and now within textiles. Using the safe sun rays, not the harmful UV rays, IR has actually been a healing source for thousands of years with evidence dating back to ancient Greece and China. Today, hospitals and doctors use the technology to treat a number of ailments ranging from high blood pressure, to congestive heart failure, muscle tears and rheumatoid arthritis.

In a Q&A on IR saunas, popular wellness website, GOOP spoke to Dr. Alexandro Junger who explained the benefits as to why the treatment is so sought after. "IR penetrates deeper—up to three inches—it mobilizes and burns fat, which not only helps with weight loss but with detoxification as well, since many of the toxins we absorb are surrounded and trapped by fat.”

While the technology has been around for thousands of years, the F.D.A. still requires scientific backed research to prove its benefits before Hologenix could say that it “increased blood flow”. Research and studies were done with animals and plants on whom the placebo effect wouldn’t apply.

Being certified as a medical device by the F.D.A. proved to be no easy feat by any means but now Celliant is finally able to do what Casden has been working towards. Although there’s always more to accomplish, right now the first hurdle is over. "The approval that we have now is strictly for healthy people and we need to continue to do more testing and work, submissions with the FDA to ultimately get indications for the other population groups. If you're 18 playing sports, we can help you recover faster, if you're 80 and you're getting a hip replaced, it can help improve your quality of life and eliminate some of the minor aches and pains. Literally, everyone can benefit.”

Taking on the health and wellness industry

Graph displaying the size of the global wellness economy in 2015
Image courtesy Global Wellness Insittute
Graph displaying the size of the global wellness economy in 2015

According to the Global Wellness Institute, the health and wellness industry hit the $3.7 trillion mark in 2015, gaining momentum with each passing year. Predicted to accelerate by a growth of 17% in the upcoming years, it’s doing this in correlation to the sportswear industry, respectively worth $1.6 trillion. Yet despite the saturation, there’s still a disconnect between it and the medical industry. Innovative textiles are in constant demand as performance based products impact the way people shop. From instant-dry textiles to recyclable materials, activewear offers a grand variety though results-based attire is not guaranteed.

What’s next?

So what is the future of this invisible technology? At the current moment the textile is available in the form of apparel, bedding, veterinary items and medical devices. Hologenix is also focusing on working with various brands to have them use the technology within their garments while they focus on getting more certification. Having previously worked with Adidas and Reebok, Celliant is currently available in the products of over 30 companies though they aim for more than just apparel and bed sheets. Because Celliant is available in polyester and nylon, in both filament and spun yarns it can be used in countless ways. It also doesn’t lose its mineral blend from the fibers during wash cycles creating a longer lasting product.  

Lumen® Premium Celliant bed sheets
Image courtesy Celliant
Lumen® Premium Celliant bed sheets

When looking for aids in health, it’s important to remember that claims of instantaneous results and physiological improvements can be made by anybody but it’s necessary to investigate the source and their accreditation. Having the F.D.A. designation opens many doors for various industries to take advantage of the Celliant technology. Moving forward, Casden expresses his strategy to take on the sportswear, the health and wellness industries, "now that we can legally make the claim ‘blood flow’, we're just getting started."

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