Dr. Thiago Freire, welcome to the world of EMK.
Tell us a little about how you, an anti-aging M.D., came to work with a prestigious skin care company?
I am an associate professor and lecturer at the PFUR University of Moscow, educating family physicians on breakthrough research and techniques in the pioneering discipline of anti-aging medicine.
Other than my profession, I am also passionate about international travel, as well as socializing with entertainment and fashion icons. During my travels, I have come to realize that everyone shared one skin challenge that seemed impossible to solve. That’s when I started researching ways to maintain healthy, young and glowing skin in the face of environmental pollution, harsh weather, air travel, and the stress of an active lifestyle. Many of the high-profile celebrities I met with had experienced hard-to-conceal breakouts and skin dullness. Furthermore, many skin professionals had recommended products containing harsh chemicals, making the problem even worse!
Despite all the prestigious skin treatments available, I noticed that something was missing. Therefore, I was inspired to collaborate with the EMK research team to formulate an entirely new, chemical-free, natural peeling product. The goal was something that would lift dull layers and clarify congested skin to get the glow back – instantly! No irritation. No redness. No pore clogging. After more than a year of hard work and research trials, a formula is being launched soon – the 24K Gold Peeling Gel. And now I am constantly collaborating with EMK Skin Care to develop other breakthrough innovations that will change the face of aging.
Your philosophy of aging is to “grow up, but not grow old.” And your vision is that we can live a long, happy life experiencing peaceful sleep, sharper memory, vitality, and a healthy libido. How far away are we from that quality of longevity?
Biologists have successfully extended the life span of some mice by as much as 70%, leading many to believe that ongoing experimentation will eventually lead to life-extending therapies for humans, as well.
The limits to fundamental human life-extension are not technological; in fact, nature already features incredible organisms able to live for centuries, so the methods are there to be found. I can safely say that we are moving in the right direction. I would argue that one of the primary barriers is the lack of public awareness regarding the pace of development and what may be possible in the lifetimes of many who are alive today. Those of us who are aware of the exponential progress being made, which could lead to interventions in degenerative disease and aid the suffering of our fellow human beings, need to communicate what we know to others and share our thoughts on the exciting possibilities. Hope inevitably leads to action, and hope for a better world is not something that we should keep to ourselves.
Research shows that at the beginning of the 20th century, life expectancy at birth in America was approximately 47 years. Currently, newborns are expected to live up to 79 years of age. It is anticipated that by the end of the 21st century, life expectancy in America will be 100 years, provided that every year, a minimum of three months is added.
From a global perspective, the extension of life spans seems independent of any single, specific event. It didn’t accelerate much as antibiotics and vaccines became common, nor did it retreat much during wars or outbreaks of disease. A graph of global life expectancy over time looks like a smoothly rising escalator. The trend holds in most years, for individual nations both rich and poor; the whole world is riding the wave of longevity.
The only limitation to extending active longevity, in my viewpoint, is the patient’s desire and discipline to participate in the anti-aging health program. It’s natural that we want to look attractive, feel excited and optimistic about life, and keep doing activities we love to do. I have seen great life transformations occur when there is commitment and vision on the part of the medical practitioner and the patient. Behavior, attitude, even relationships change for the better. It helps us grow up but not grow old in the traditional sense of “old.” And that is the most exciting thing to see.
If aging is the cause of so many chronic diseases, is there any way it can be slowed?
A broad definition of ‘anti-aging’ is any intervention intended to preserve and extend one’s lifespan. Medical doctors are the vanguard of this next generation of health care, those who have dedicated themselves to the art and science of achieving optimal health and preventing or delaying age-associated disease.
Human life expectancy is rising as a result of advances in modern medicine. Older people are living longer, and aging people are living healthier. So what if you do add on another 30 years to your old age? Who wants to have another 30 years of being decrepit? As my professors used to say, we are only interested in adding life to your years, not years to your life!
In this case, not just lifespan, but “health span” might also increase. Drugs that lengthen health span are becoming – to medical researchers – what vaccines and antibiotics were to previous generations in the lab: their Holy Grail. With that in mind, I would say it’s just a question of time. We truly aren’t far from that quality of longevity. Furthermore, many years ago, our current understanding of biology was that a heart transplant was completely impossible, something from the realm of science fiction. Today, organs are being transplanted thousands of times a day all across the world. Flash back a century or two, and people didn’t believe that there were tiny life forms all around us who could infect us with diseases.
Human knowledge is only limited by time, namely until we discover the next great innovation. Therefore, it is hard to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow. In the 1950s, two Harvard scientists conclusively proved that space travel was impossible due to the weight of the fuel that would be needed to create sufficient boost. This and many other impressive achievements were all perceived to be impossible at one time, but they were eventually accomplished, and even more life-changing accomplishments were built on that foundation.
Tell us your most valuable anti-aging secret.
I am often asked this question! And the answer is… there is no secret! Looking good is based on being healthy; eating right, getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water and choosing a good skin care regime to support the basic needs of your skin, which is the largest organ in the human body! Discipline and daily care will result in glowing, healthy beautiful skin, but you have to get moving! I work out several times a week, and I hike and ride bikes to keep my fitness levels high. I also eat healthy, but I don’t deprive myself. I live by the 80% Rule: I try to be 80% good for 80% of the time.
What is your viewpoint on cosmetic procedures to combat visual aging, such as Botox®?
I would say that not all cosmetic procedures are harmful. However, there are some cosmetic procedures that may have adverse side effects on the health of the user. Botox® is an injectable toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and is the most popular treatment used to smooth out wrinkles in the forehead – the frown lines – and around the eyes. However, let’s remember that this is a toxin, delivered via a needle! Side effects can include double vision, breathing problems, and allergy-induced rashes, so why not invest in a natural alternative instead? This is my opinion. I have patients who love Botox. I have patients who prefer to go natural. I say that I became Botox-vegan, so now I adopt an approach focused on plant and fruit peeling, gold masks, energetic massage and many other holistic procedures. These can deliver exquisite and similar results, in most cases, without pain, side effects, and downtime.
With a little patience and dedication to a nightly skin-care regimen, you can achieve smooth, wrinkle-free skin without injections. You can also maximize those results by eating right, exercising and keeping your stress level under control, without masking the wrinkles – instantly! I always try to tell my patients the importance of a complete approach to anti-aging. If cosmetic professionals told their Botox patients about the basics of a healthy lifestyle, they would help to prolong life, rather than solely solving a recurring problem.
Quite honestly, I have seen better total body results in my patients following a healthy lifestyle program than with cosmetic fillers and injectables, which can instantly solve the problem and make you forget about the necessary steps to stay healthy on the inside too. My patients who go natural rarely go back for injections. They start accepting themselves in a global way and taking care of themselves in a way they’re not used to doing!
How did you decide to become an anti-aging physician?
Anti-aging is a modern and relatively new discipline, and I have always enjoyed studying new things and mastering them. During my university years, I enjoyed taking part in scientific projects, and I had a very inspiring Russian teacher who was a pioneer bio-gerontologist in the field of anti-aging. Ambitions and attempts to control aging have been part of human culture for thousands of years, and I felt very intrigued and curious about how that field was still moving forward.
Although not universally true, one thing that characterizes both contemporary and previous anti-aging endeavors is their public perception as something simultaneously seductive and desirable, yet also transgressive, suspicious, and even dangerous! As such, contemporary anti-aging research is a type of “forbidden knowledge”, an area of research that is, in some ways, considered off-limits for various, often moral reasons. I always wondered why I was never taught in med school that scientific research studies prove that interventions in diet, exercise, nutrition, and single-gene modulation in the laboratory setting beneficially and significantly impact healthy function in an aging population. I started researching this challenging area by myself and seeking all the extra knowledge I could by meeting teachers after class to discuss and borrow their books, speaking to researchers, and seeking out publications that were not available either online or in a medical bookshop. I felt that I was entering a very selective field that is still very limited to access.
Early on, I joined associations like A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine), RUSIAM (Russian Academy of Anti-aging Medicine) and WOSIAM (European Society of Interdisciplinary Anti-aging Medicine) and began studying cases, attending congresses and interacting with this fascinating secret world. I was also invited to collaborate with my Biochemistry teacher on developing a book for the department, although I was still a 3rd year student at the time. I was always excited to study deeply and explore the chemical processes within and related to living organisms. The invitation to take part in the book boosted my confidence and drove my passion for biochemistry even further. This was another factor that contributed to my knowledge and interest in anti-aging medicine. Mastering biochemistry helped me focus on what’s happening inside our cells, by studying components like proteins, lipids, and organelles. Biochemistry also looks at how cells communicate with each other, for example, during growth or when fighting off an illness. By that time, I felt honored to contribute to the book, “Biochemistry for Medical Students,” which was published in 2011 and would eventually change my life. The influence of such great professors and their willingness to let me access their knowledge led to the honor of receiving first place in a Russian Olympiad of medical students in Biochemistry. And this has led me to where I am today.
As an international traveler and socialite, what makes a woman beautiful in your eyes?
I will immediately point out that there are many things that can make a woman beautiful. However, I feel that beauty and confidence are two key aspects that make a woman beautiful in my eyes. Beauty brings confidence, and later, success. This is achieved by having beautiful skin, peace of mind, inner calmness and the feeling of being younger each day. I can say that when a woman takes care of her skin, hair and body, she feels confident and radiates a very intense energy that naturally makes her look beautiful. Confidence improves the mood and causes sensual energy to bloom, which all men love. What makes a woman beautiful in my eyes is confidence! If she looks like she doesn’t like herself, she will make everyone around her feel the same way. A woman is beautiful when she isn’t afraid to be herself. When she’s not ashamed of her quirks, and not only openly admits to them, but accepts them as a part of who she is. That’s beauty. I would say, “When she is comfortable in her skin, any woman can be beautiful.”
Of course, the concept of beauty, like anything else, is dynamic, and we are influenced by a society that somewhat dictates the ‘rules’ of what it’s like to be beautiful. From time to time, these rules get broken, and we have a slightly different approach to the concept of beauty. Is this a good or a bad thing? It’s hard to give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer as, whether we like it or not, we are impacted by the time we happen to live in. Since ancient times, women have worked to look beautiful and have used different methods to enhance their natural appearance, trying to adhere to the existing norms of beauty. Since there’s a correlation between physical attractiveness and confidence, it wouldn’t hurt to use some makeup or accept some contemporary norms of ‘beauty’, especially if it affects your behavior in a positive way. However, it’s important to keep the balance and not become obsessed with one’s physical appearance, as that is only one aspect of personality.
Can you share anything exciting you’ve discovered recently in your research?
As a researcher, I often come across new ideas that can make our skin healthy. The major one I discovered recently was the use of hypnosis in dermatology and anti-aging, as well as transcendental meditation! The latter is becoming so mainstream these days that it is popping up in schools, hospitals, law firms, government and corporate offices, and even prisons. In fact, one study done by researchers from the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science in N.Y suggests that people who meditate regularly have levels of an age-related hormone that is comparable to their non-meditating counterparts who are five to 10 years younger. A growing body of evidence also suggests that transcendental meditation helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Transcendental meditation involves sitting with your eyes closed and thinking of “a meaningless sound” (mantra) for 20 minutes a day. This type of daily meditation is one of Madonna’s anti-aging secrets. As she says, “the benefits of meditation aren’t just in your head. They’re as physiological as the benefits of exercise on your muscles.”
I am also studying the benefits of hypnosis in dermatology. There has been a lot of interesting news in this area in recent years, including some of the unique treatments that I have personally developed! I love innovating and developing new treatment methods that can help people. I love to deliver knowledge and create excitement when people see results that they never expected to achieve.
I am also developing a new product with EMK, which must remain a secret for now. All I can say is that it will be another innovation for the market.
Los Angeles and the island of Langkawi in summer! I also enjoy skiing in Swiss Alps in winter, shopping in Paris, doing business in New York and Moscow. For a quick relaxing getaway, I love Maldives. If I need to really decompress, then Bali. I’ve been to these places so many times, and I’m never tired to go back.
The energy in these places connects to my soul in an unexplainable way. I feel home there
Best read? The Servant by James C. Hunter. It’s a great work about leadership.
Travel essential? Rescue Serum and our new 24K Gold Peel.
Listening to? Meditation.
Hungry for? More anti-aging research. I can never ingest enough! Also, improving my skills in different sports.