Hypoxi body shaping
If you subscribe to the 'no pain, no gain' school of toning and weight loss, then look away. On the other hand, if you believe in maximum results with minimum, measured effort, you might find kindred spirits in the folks at Hypoxi.
First developed in Austria in the late '90s by Dr Norbert Egger, the Hypoxi system of workout and therapy equipment promotes targeted body shaping and weight loss with minimal exertion - and with visible results promised in as little as two weeks. The Body Buddies is the sole distributor of Hypoxi machines in Hong Kong, Macau and greater China, and its mini-gym in Central doubles as a showroom for all the latest equipment for sale.
We head over to sample the Hypoxi Method, using a combination of the Hypoxi Dermology and the Hypoxi Training machines. There's none of the usual grunting and sweating at the Hypoxi gym. Instead, we are confronted with a fleet of space-pod-like contraptions, the use of which is guided by Julia Lohmann, trainer and managing director of the outfit. Lohmann explains that the system uses the principle of gentle exercise combined with alternating negative and positive pressure in target areas such as the abdomen, hips and thighs where fat pads accumulate.
After changing into regular workout clothes, we are invited to slip into a large neoprene bodysuit and lie on the Hypoxi Dermology recliner where we are strapped in and hooked up to an intricate hose system that vacuums the suit tight against the body. The 400 activation chambers built into the suit then begin a gentle massage with alternating suction pressure all over the body. It's a bizarrely relaxing, warm sensation of hundreds of fingers pressing and releasing on the skin that lasts for 20 minutes or so. Lohmann explains that the treatment - like the much more painful lymphatic massage - helps with circulation, water retention and skin elasticity.
Moving on to some actual exercise, we strap on a pulse sensor and over it a circular disc around the chest. We enter a tall tub-like structure, which is fitted with an exercise bike inside. The chest disc serves as the lid to this tub, so once strapped in, our lower body is sealed within the cavity. With the upper body free, we are able to chat, browse magazines from the gym's collection, but most importantly, to monitor our heart rate on the machine's screen. The goal is to cycle for 30 minutes at 60-70 rpm, keeping the heart rate within the fat-burning range for our age and body group. All the while, the pressure within the sealed chamber alternates between 15 millibars above and below standard pressure, and the skin temperature rises about three degrees Celsius from ambient. As far as exercise routines go, this was a piece of cake.
After one session, we didn't expect any major weight loss; however, we did notice the skin on the thighs to be smoother after 20 minutes in the Hypoxi Dermology unit; and though the Hypoxi Training session was gentle, we did feel lighter and more flexible after cycling.
The craving for water is also a good sign that the body got a workout. Lohmann shared testimonials from satisfied clients - one lost 2.5 kilos and 25cm from her hips, thighs and waist combined, all in a month.
Hypoxi Training packages (for body shaping) start at HK$7,988 for 12 sessions and Hypoxi Dermology packages (for skin-firming) start at HK$3,288 for 12 sessions. If you choose a combination package, the total price is HK$9,876 - a HK$1,400 discount.
Packages come with a consultation with a technician-trainer, where measurements and target weight loss are noted and dietary tips are given. Progress is monitored throughout the programme. For best results, Lohmann recommends three sessions a week.
Hypoxi Flagship Studio
8/F, EuBank Plaza,
9 Chiu Lung Street, Central
Tel: 2537 6637