I’m a relatively active person but I’d be lying if I said I was immune to the allure of get-fit-quick, silver bullet-style solutions to weight loss.
Not that I’m trying to lose weight per se. It’s just that now that I’ve reached a certain numerical age (it rhymes with shmirty, if you must know), I find my previous exercise efforts to be wholly ineffective. I.e. The lumps and bumps have moved in and they are squatting stubbornly on my thighs and stomach.
Which is why, when the lovely Siobhan White from recently-opened Hypoxi Designer Body Newstead invited me in to try the new studio, I was as keen as mustard. Once I’d Googled what the heck Hypoxi actually was, that is.
The Low Down
As it turns out, there’s a bit of science behind hypoxi. My cursory Google enquiries told me that it was initially developed for high performance athlete rehabilitation. Good, I clearly fit squarely into that category. Upon further
link clicking in-depth research, I discover that the general gist is weight and cellulite reduction through lymphatic stimulation, low impact exercise, and improved circulation. This is done with the help of a selection of rather futuristic sounding machines, infra-red saunas and something known as the AirPod.
Does it pass the celeb test? Robbie Williams, Cheryl Cole and Madonna are all devotees of hypoxi. Closer to home, Zoe Foster Blake is also apparently a former ambassador and fan. Good enough for me.
I arrive at Hypoxi Designer Body Newstead’s light, bright and spotless Chester Street boutique on a Monday morning, after a Saturday and Sunday where I have been, ahem, less than kind to my body (it was cheat weekend, okay). I’m also still somewhat in the dark about how this hypoxi business actually works but I’m feeling intrepid. Siobhan is bright and chipper as I fill in the client questionnaire, which makes enquiries down a similar vein to one you’d find in beauty salon.
Siobhan guides me into the back room, where I’m fitted into what appears to be a fat shrinking scuba suit. There’s an intriguing, slightly disconcerting collection of pipes and hoses connected to the suit at about waist level. The pipes are connected to a machine which I can only assume is for collecting the actual bits of fat that will be sucked from my body. Ah, the wonder of science.
Things transpire *slightly* differently; Siobhan tells me that the suit I step into is called the HypoxiDermology or HD for short its real purpose is to tone and rejuvenate my skin with the help of 400 integrated pressure chambers positioned specifically around my stomach, back, buttocks, legs and thigh region.
Despite the initial feeling of claustrophobia, as the one-size-fits-all suit vacuums the air out (and my pasty winter body in), the sensation is a pleasant one. Modelled on the ancient technique of Chinese cupping – though 100 times more effective, Siobhan tells me – it feels like large bubble wrap popping against my skin inside the suit. I’ve had massages much less enjoyable than this.
The basic principle of rejuvenation applies here; the HD stimulates circulation and blood flow to areas of stubborn cellulite and excess weight, aiding with detox and toning.
I’m in it for about 20 minutes and I’m on the edge of dozing off when Siobhan switches it off, and frees me from the wetsuit. From there, I’m taken to a futuristic-looking cycle machine (the L250 trainer), where I’m fitted with skirt made from more wetsuit offcuts and a rubber ring at the bottom. Once I’m sealed in snugly in a reclined position, I begin cycling as the machine hums through a regular rhythm of compression and decompression. I’ve skipped the activation phase, thanks to my time in the HD, and headed straight for the training phase.
The chamber, I’m told, works by artificially stimulating the blood supply to the fat and tissue around the stomach, buttocks, hips and thighs, where it’s enriched with fatty acids. Throughout the 30 minute session, the fatty acids are then taken from the problem zone and consumed by the body as fuel instead.
Look, there’s no beating around the bush; this is still exercise (just because I said I’m active doesn’t mean I like it). But it’s far less impactful and strain-filled than pounding the pavement or lifting weights. You can lie back, magazine in hand and let the machine do most* of the work for you. (*There is the little task of keeping your heart rate up at a level set by your trainer, but nothing too arduous.)
My 30 minutes goes by in a flash, and Siobhan tells me that I’m not allowed to eat carbs or exercise for at least six hours following a session, which nixes my plan for a donut and coffee from Nodo located very cruelly, just next door. Water is a must post-treatment to assist with flushing toxins, and good diet plus regular exercise is highly recommended. Hypoxi works best with repeat sessions, so noticing immediate results from one session is unlikely, although I do feel quite refreshed.
The verdict, then? It’s not a ‘magic pill’ for extreme weight loss and you will have to do some work. But, hypoxi is an effective way to rid yourself of pesky lumps and bumps when it feels like no amount of treadmill punishment will do. The added bonus is that it feels way more like a beauty treatment than a gym session, which is a win in my books.
Image credit: Louise Coghill