Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

In which Fash Mob tries crazy new ‘technologies’, so you don’t have to: Hypoxi Therapy

I was contacted a couple of months ago with news of an “amazing new body therapy”, Hypoxi Therapy – and offered the opportunity to try it out for myself.  The theory behind the therapy is that this low-intensity exercise targets “problem …

Thu, Nov 4, 2010, 15:22


I was contacted a couple of months ago with news of an “amazing new body therapy”, Hypoxi Therapy – and offered the opportunity to try it out for myself.  The theory behind the therapy is that this low-intensity exercise targets “problem areas”, usually those affected by cellulite, and is much more affective than regular exercise, because it directs bloodflow to those “problem areas” (my use of inverted commas is to signify the fact that I, personally, don’t believe that cellulite, or fat, are problems).

(This, for the record, is not what you will look like while undertaking your Hypoxi Therapy)

In practice, Hypoxi Therapy is a little like exercise, but going slower, and for less time, than one would usually exercise*. I arrived at the centre, in Clontarf, in pumps and jeans, as I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself in for (bring runners, just so you know).

I sit down with my therapist and we talk through my goals.  Our conversation goes a little somethin’ like this:

Her: “So, tell me, what weight would you like to be?”

Me: “Um . . . the weight I am is okay, I guess.”

Her (looking baffled): “Right. Well, what would you like to achieve? What are your problem areas?”

Me: “Well, my aim with any exercise is to allow me to eat more, I won’t lie.”

Her (looking more baffled than ever before): “Okay, well I’d say you’re a pear shape.”

Me (having lived with my shape for 25 years now): “No, I’m an apple.”

Her: “I’d say you’re a pear.”

Me (thinking of my tubular body and entire lack of hips, coupled with boobs): “No, I’m an apple.”

You can kind of imagine how things went from there, ie, not well. I’m not, it has to be said, the ideal candidate for this kind of problem-solving therapy in that I don’t really believe I have any problems, physical at least. Sure, I have days where I’d like to improve my body, but there are roughly 2.5 million things I consider more important in life than the state of my body, problem area or no.

The therapy itself involved getting into a wetsuit and, depending on your “problem area”, getting into a machine, lying down in a machine (above) that looks a little like a bicycle in a box, or walking on a treadmill. I walked on a treadmill, in a wetsuit, in pumps. Cue blisters and a lot – and I mean a lot – of perspiration. There are few things I ever want to do in a wetsuit (surfing included), but there is nothing I would like to do less in a wetsuit than walk on a treadmill, in pumps.

When my therapy was finished, my therapist asked if I would like to have a diet plan made for me. She obviously wasn’t really getting me; it’s lucky she wasn’t another kind of therapist. I politely declined, and returned a week later, to walk on a treadmill, in a wetsuit, this time wearing runners.

I was told to watch my diet, and not to consume carbohydrates after the therapy (as your body is, eh, a temple, or some such lark), so I went home and got an Indian takeaway. Then I realised that there are at least 300 things that I would rather spend my time doing than standing on a treadmill in a wetsuit, and I didn’t go back. As I say, perhaps not the target audience.

Does it work? Who knows. Who cares – life is way too short for this kind of fad exercising (in my opinion). About twice a week, I go for a run. Once a week I go spinning. I’m never going to be a model, or even a size 10 (unless I develop some kind of food allergy, and I’ll admit that’s something I wish for at least once a week), but I’m also – she says, hopefully – not going to ever be the kind of person who will, willingly, spend time and money (and it’s not cheap, although I’m having difficulty finding a price list on the website) trying to tackle my “problem areas”. The end.

But tell me: have you tried Hypoxi? Have you tried power plates? Have you found yourself sweating and humiliated in a room that isn’t quite a gym, with the aim of solving problems that don’t exist? Tell me all.

* This is, of course, in an alternate reality in which I engage in high-intensity exercise for longer than it takes to run for the bus.

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