Treatment of the Month: Intermittent Hypoxia Hyperoxia Treatment (IHHT)
Given the original pitch – “the health benefits of high-altitude training from the comfort of an armchair” – BALANCE was immediately sold. After all, “health benefits” while not moving a muscle? Yes please!
There is, of course, much more to Intermittent Hypoxia Hyperoxia Treatment (IHHT) than a lovely sit down. And so BALANCE makes its way to the Cell Clinic, just off Harley Street, where we meet the heart-swellingly cheerful Dr Ursula Radloff, who travels between London and her native Germany, where IHHT is proving popular (700 clinics and counting). With her Cell Clinic the first of its kind in Britain, Dr Ursula is suitably excited.
Our host is a picture of health (BALANCE discovers she has a son in his 40s), strikingly intelligent (her English makes us suitably ashamed) and stupendously sunny (“Our body consists of 80 trillion cells – although I haven’t counted them!”). She also happens to be the perfect poster girl for the myriad benefits of IHHT, which Dr Ursula uses on a weekly basis. Although, she hastens to add, she does weight training at home. It is, as our title screams, all about finding balance.
The genial German explains that mitochondria power the body’s cells, and disorders and disease can result when these microscopic engines are damaged. Not only can IHHT get rid of damaged mitochondria, but it can replace them with new ones. That impact can prove profound: boosting energy, resilience and, possibly, have anti-ageing effects. If you’re arching an eyebrow right now, it’s important to point out that the Nobel Prize in Medicine 2019 was awarded for the research on how human cells adapt to changing oxygen levels.
BALANCE pops on an oxygen mask and sits back on a reclining chair as the concentration of oxygen is increased to around 34 per cent for two minutes and then decreased to around 15 per cent, and it’s this process which mimics high-altitude training. “It offers prevention and treatment at the same time,” explains Dr Ursula, who has seen clients lose weight, reverse asthma, type 2 diabetes and chronic fatigue and even conceive children (the patient waited until they got home for that!). “It also works well with stress and stabilises the immune system,” she adds.
The next thing BALANCE knows, we are blinking our eyes to wake up. We had drifted off almost instantly, much to Dr Ursula’s delight. Forty minutes has passed by in seconds.
As Dr Ursula says, “You won’t feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger from one session.” Yet BALANCE feels much more serene, which lasts into the night, while sleep is longer and deeper.
And, if IHHT means we get to radiate the same levels of vim and vigour as Dr Ursula, we’re all in.
IS IHHT FOR YOU?
Give it a go if … you enjoy a healthy and balanced lifestyle, then IHHT could have a profound impact on your life. Dr Ursula is the living embodiment of the treatment.
Advantage: While BALANCE was aware that one session wasn’t enough for us to feel too much of an impact, we did feel better for the experience.
Disadvantage: At £200 a visit is pretty costly, and so BALANCE appreciates this won’t be for everyone. Especially when you factor in that Dr Ursula recommends around 10 sessions. That said, given the impact this can have on health and given Dr Ursula’s success rate, you would consider this an investment into your own wellbeing.