Intermittent Hypoxic Therapy
We’ve all heard about top athletes training at high altitude to improve their performance.
But did you know that the benefits of reduced oxygen are not just about running faster or improving your lung capability – but could also increase your metabolism, improve your mood, reduce blood pressure and reduce inflammatory responses in your body?
The system used in Cellgyms and in the Airzone at The Lanserhof is known as Intermittent Hypoxic Therapy (IHT). Using a breathing mask, the amount of oxygen you breathe is initially increased, and then, for a couple of minutes, the oxygen in the air is reduced dramatically.
Simon Moyes has used a Cellgym several times since 2016. He says that, even after just one course of Intermittent Hypoxic Therapy, he noticed an improvement in his energy levels and fitness.
‘When the oxygen is reduced, it’s like getting to the top of a high mountain – it’s really hard work to breathe. But as soon as it’s over, I feel energised. It’s amazing how quickly the body adapts.’
Many systems in the body are affected by this sudden, controlled reduction of oxygen, and studies are still being carried out on the various impacts that Intermittent Hypoxic Therapy can have.
Simon has been using this therapy in conjunction with cryotherapy about once a week – and it’s had a marked and positive impact on his health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that Intermittent Hypoxia can be used to:
Treat lung diseases: such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma: short periods of IH have been shown to improve lung capacity in patients with lung conditions.
Improve metabolism: IH may be used to control obesity and diabetes by reducing blood glucose and cholesterol levels, increasing metabolic rates through stimulating mitochondria in the cells, and stimulating glucose disposal.
Improve cardiovascular system: Intermittent Hypoxia has been shown to enhance aerobic performance by improving blood oxygen transport capacity – basically getting oxygen to your muscles more efficiently.
Reduce blood pressure: under controlled circumstances, hypoxic therapy decreases arterial pressure and there are no side effects, unlike with many blood pressure medications.
Anti-inflammatory response: while this area is still being explored, early studies are showing that, in the right dose, restricting oxygen uptake may have an anti-inflammatory effect and potentially enhance the immune system without triggering an inflammatory response.
Bone health: studies in rats have shown that bone density and new bone formation are both stimulated by Intermittent Hypoxia.
Mental health: there is accumulating evidence that repeated short periods of IHT can reduce the symptoms of depression.
Sleep apnoea: some studies have found that intensive IHT can help restore the motor output that leads to compromised breathing associated with sleep apnoea and the effects of spinal cord injuries.
Airzone Therapy is available at The Lanserhof at The Arts Club in London.