We Tried It: HYPOXI

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Health & Fitness Issue: January 2016
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Photo by Marilyn HawkesWhen I first saw the sign for HYPOXI at Scottsdale Seville, I thought it was an oxygen bar. Closer look: The sign says HYPOXI Design Your Body.

Turns out, Hypoxi is a studio that uses an advanced vacuum and compression technology combined with low-impact exercise and healthy nutrition to “burn stubborn fat” from the body. The HYPOXI website says, “HYPOXI activates your body’s natural system to burn specific areas of fat and cellulite.” What? I had to try it!

After requesting a free appointment online, someone texted me a few days later to set up a time to try the exercise, which has been around for a while but is new to the United States. Upon arrival, I was greeted by Shawdi, who gave me a short tour of the tidy studio and then took me to my first station to undergo hypoxi-dermology, a treatment that involves putting on a neck-to-toe compression suit over my clothes and then being hooked up to a machine. Shawdi helped me slip into the space-age garment, which was cumbersome and a little inflexible, and instructed me to lie down on the table. I felt like I was gearing up for a ride on the space shuttle.

Shawdi explained that the machine helps firm and tone the skin and is great for lymphatic drainage and detoxing the body because the technology enables increased blood circulation. After all the air was aspirated out of the suit and it began to tighten around me, Shawdi set the timer for 15 minutes, turned off the light and left me with soothing native flute music.

Photo courtesy Marilyn HawkesAs the suit tightened around my stomach, hips and thighs, I started to regret the two cups of coffee and light breakfast I had before the appointment. All of the sudden, I felt the sensation of being gently pelted with air bubbles that continually massaged my body in waves. At first, the suit felt tight and claustrophobic, but after a while the rhythmic massage lulled me into relaxation. When the buzzer rang after 15 minutes and I peeled off the suit, I felt this weird combination of being energized and sedated at the same time.

Next up, Shawdi affixed a heart-rate monitor around my chest and a compression skirt around my waist, and then hooked me up to the S120, a stationery bicycle encased in a machine that targets fat and cellulite around the hips, butt, thighs, lower back and lower stomach. I pedaled for 30 minutes and was vacuumed and compressed while enclosed in the machine. Always one to multitask, I checked my email, surfed the Internet and kept an eye on my heart rate and other vitals displayed in front of me. I had visions of my fat cells being zapped and disappearing. But where do they go?

I have to admit, the 30 minutes went by quickly. Shawdi helped me out of the tomb-like cycle and discussed my heart rate and body temperature, then cautioned me not to eat carbs for two hours. Liz, the nutrition consultant, explained that after the exercise session, I was still burning fat, and to keep the fat-burning process going and get the maximum results from the treatment, I should skip ingesting carbs for a couple of hours. In other words – no caramel macchiato at Starbucks on the way home.

Did it work? It’s hard to tell after only one session, but it was an interesting and painless way to exercise. The HYPOXI website says that you’ll see results after two to four weeks. The first time’s free, so why not give it a try?

If you go:

HYPOXI Seville Studio
7001 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale

HYPOXI Biltmore Studio
Biltmore Fashion Park, 2502 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix