Hyperbaric oxygen chamber, cryotherapy and float tank.
Born with the mission to create "life athletes", The Body Lab combines a state-of-the-art private gym with world-first preventative and therapeutic treatments to optimise health through a science-driven approach.
I can't help but feel a little underdressed as I turn off busy Kensington High Street and step through The Body Lab's sweeping glass doors. The reception desk is a solid piece of brushed concrete, all grey and futuristic, like I imagine the first-class lounge of a space shuttle might look one day. The room feels preened to perfection, yet somehow not too clinical: walls and floor are a soft, muted grey and warm lights that I'm told mimic our circadian rhythm shine down from the high ceiling.
My first treatment is the hyperbaric oxygen chamber - a first of its kind in the UK - which aims to speed up the body's healing process by increasing the absorption of oxygen by up to 35 per cent. Proven to selectively target free radicals to help prevent disease and degeneration, the treatment is also showing positive signs that it might lessen the effects of long Covid, too.
The chamber itself looks more like an MRI scanner than something you'd expect to find at a gym, but then I suppose this isn't something you'd normally find at a gym. I clamber in and lie down, scrambling to slide my laptop in with me as I'm told I can do "anything" from inside. I have emails to catch up on, so, for the next 40 minutes, that's exactly what I do, almost forgetting I'm inside the chamber aside from the slight change in air pressure I can feel in my ears. Once the time is up, I feel rejuvenated, as though I've been on a walk high up on a Swiss hillside, my lungs filled with purified air.
Next up is cryotherapy, a treatment I've been longing to try ever since I started cold-water swimming in lockdown. The coldest treatment room in the whole of Europe, this particular cryotherapy chamber is a cool -110C, and has been proven to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress. Three minutes inside leaves me feeling ready for anything on the outside: I'm awakened, refreshed and my pain threshold feels sky-high.
My final foray at The Body Lab is a dip in the float tank - the largest of its kind in the UK. Filled with half a tonne of Epsom salts, it is proven to reset the body's hormonal and metabolic balance, as well as to accelerate recovery from the effects of stress, illness and injury. A little apprehensive at the thought of being shut inside a lightless tub, I slide in nonetheless. I'm told that 20 minutes inside the tank is akin to two hours of normal sleep, and, as a new member of the insomnia club, I'm keen to try anything. Once inside, I feel weightless and immediately relaxed in a way I've never felt before. Bobbing gently in the water, I close my eyes and let the darkness engulf me, slipping into a slumber-like state as I let my racing thoughts drain from my mind.
For those with a high disposable income looking to optimise their health with a data-led approach, look no further - you won't get more state-of-the-art than this.