The British newspapers ‘The Sunday Mail’ has brought up an interesting issue. The latest word in sports technology, which is called IonX. What the hell is IonX? It is a shirt called CCC BaseLayer IonX which is produced by Canterbury firm in New Zealand! But let’s see how it works exactly.

  • It is revolutionary in apparel technology as it delivers ionic energy to the body through a negatively charged electromagnetic field.
  • It improves performance. Ionisation improves the flow of oxygen-enriched blood to bring more energy to the muscles, which increases your average power output, improving speed and strength.
  • It accelerated recovery. The improvement in blood flow efficiently flushes out residual waste products such as lactic acid, which is left in the muscles after high intensity activity. Recovery is accelerated, therefore training or competition can begin again sooner.

And when i looked for more info about this innovation in their official site i found further details such as:

Electomagnetic fields saturated with negative ions have been used for decades by international militaries, international space programs and by Olympic athletes to increase alertness, attentiveness and give an overall sence of well being.

A double blind study conducted in the Sports Technolgy Laboratory at Loughborough University in England concluded that IonX represents a revolutionary apparel technology.

IonX represents a revolutionary performance apprel technology. A study conducted in the Sports Technology Laboratory at Loughborough University showed a significant increase in repetitive, short duration, high intensity exercise performance (power output) in both competitive and recreational athletes when wearing IonX versus non-ionised control garments. This improvement is likely to be functionally relevant to all team sport players or indeed anybody undertaking repetitive bouts of high intensity exercise during training or performance”

Dr Mike Caine, Senior Lecture, Sports Technology, Loughborough University UK

What are the effects of IonX?

  • Increased Blood Flow
  • Increased delivery of oxygen to muscles
  • Increased average power output by 2.7%
  • Accelerated recovery

Further more IonX garments carry a minimum of 3500 IEI. (Ionic Energy Index) which is literally the amount of energy needed to be on the top of a (really) high mountain. Just have a look at this:

Does this actually work? Apparently it does if we judge by the results of this shirt on the South Africa Rugby NT as they were the only team to wear these shirt and won the Rugby World Cup and on Portsmouth, an English Premier Division Club which is doing just fine so far.

Is it legal would the next question be. Apparently yes judging from this:

The International Rugby Board asked the World Anti-Doping Agency for a ruling. They replied that they were happy — for now. Spokesman Frederic Donze said:

‘Since there is no scientific publication supporting claims that changes in the body ion charges or magnetic field distribution enhance performance, and since such technologies do not contain prohibited substances, these technologies should not be considered as a banned method to date.’

But as stated above this technology is not that new at all.

The Japanese long ago realised that standing next to a waterfall, where ionisation also occurs, makes people feel better and German scientists in the 1930s used ionisation chambers to train bomber pilots to stay awake longer and be more alert. That technology was then applied to athletes in the former East Germany and Soviet Union.

It took an American textile company, who made protective suits for the Chernobyl clean-up operation as well as Ian Thorpe’s ‘shark-skin’ swimming outfit, to work out how to incorporate the technology into fabric. Canterbury have a 25-year agreement with that firm.

The final questions are obvious:

  • How long will it take basketball clubs to get a hold of this technology and use it?

And when they do use it…

  • What will it’s role be?
  • How will it affect their performance?
  • What will be the consequences on the competition between the teams?

Imagine (for example) a Final Four Final where the teams are tied in the dying minuted of the game. Then imagine one of the two teams getting a 3% energy boost.

What’s next? Re-chargeable players?