Aches, pains and slow recovery can be natural side effects of a long day in the hills. Getting tired may be good for you, but we’d all like to feel less weary on a hill-walk and have more energy the day after.
Accapi claims that its new range of Nexus Energy Source clothing could transform our energy levels by improving our recovery rate, our sleep and ultimately our active performance. So with my knees aching, and in need of a good night’s kip, I dragged my tired, worn-out body to a press event to see this wonder fabric. I’ve been living in the material ever since. But is it working?
The theory is that Nexus Energy Source fibres emit far infrared (FIR) radiation due to the inclusion of platinum, titanium and aluminium. When these fibres are worn close to the body the effect of the FIR is that there is an increase in blood circulation that can improve recovery from pain and inflammation, and reduce of fatigue, leading to increased strength.
At first this does sound too good to be true, but after some digging around there does seem to be some scientific support for these claims. The effect appears to happen at skin level through increasing skin microcirculation by a mechanism other than its thermal effect. Indeed in a trial of fabrics that were identical apart from Accapi’s FIR emission rate, there was a good effect on oxygen concentration and blood pressure. Furthermore, FIR radiation is widely believed to improve human health and sleep by enhancing blood circulation in the skin. So while the theory may sound astounding, there is at least some support for the idea from the scientific community.
Up close and personal
So feeling this theory may not be as far out as I had initially suspected, I gave two items a trial. For my strained right knee I wore the Accapi Nexus Bodyguard knee support, and for my general fatigue I slept in an Accapi Nexus Pro long-sleeve base layer for a couple of weeks.
I have to say my knee inflammation has reduced along with some of the pain, and I have had some very solid sleeps. So does that mean the product works? Well, it has certainly had an effect, but I don’t know if I would have experienced the same benefit from wearing an identically close-fitting garment, or if what I was experiencing was just a placebo effect.
The effect has not been massive, and it could be that only those with extreme fatigue or athletes who need to squeeze an extra 0.1% performance are going to notice any difference. Sadly the manufacturers have not been able to supply me with a well-designed scientific study to control for placebo effects, so it is hard to give a definitive answer to the benefits of this material. It may be another example of the outdoor industry’s attraction to pseudoscience.
We were presented with some interesting anecdotal evidence as to the benefits of Accapi, but proper scientific studies are required to back up these claims.
Accapi Nexus Bodyguard Knee Guard Pro
Material 65% Nexus Energy Source, 20% polyamide, 15% elastane
Made in Italy
Accapi Nexus Long Sleeve T-Shirt Pro
Material 85% Nexus Energy Source, 10% polyamide,
Sizes XS-XXL (men’s); XS-XXL (women’s)
Made in Italy
Stockist details – tel. (0191) 241 6661; www.accapi.co.uk
Verdict: Accapi Nexus clothing gives improved circulation leading to more energy and better recovery. But the price tag is very high; and there’s a lack of scientific evidence. In summary, it provides deeper sleep and improved energy levels but effect may be too small to notice.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2010