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
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.