I know what you’re thinking: clickbait. I promise—I really did lose 1.5 inches off my waist by lying down. The only thing I didn’t mention is that I was zipped into trousers that looked a little like a ’70s spacesuit, and that my body was being rhythmically compressed to kick-start my lymphatic system. As fortune would have it, on the day I headed to Courthouse Clinic to try the new Body Ballancer treatment (£120 for 45 minutes), it was seriously hot and I was bloated.
Now, before you eye the term “inflatable trousers” with scepticism, know that they have medical pedigree. They were invented to treat patients suffering from lymphoedema, a chronic condition that causes swelling. The Body Ballancer comprises 24 interlinked chambers that inflate and deflate in a gentle wave-like motion to mimic a manual lymphatic-drainage massage. This gentle massage encourages the body to rid itself of excess fluid and toxins.
I met with Jules Willcocks, one of the women responsible for getting clinics and spas in the country set up with the Body Ballancer gadget. She works alongside Naomi Northern-Ellis, who was the first person to import the gadget to the UK back in 2011. Willcocks tells me she experienced the treatment at a detox retreat and was so impressed by the results that she bought a machine to have in her home.
Willcocks likes to zip herself into her Body Ballancer after a long flight or long day. Her husband, on the other hand, uses it after exercising, as it can help flush out the lactic acid that can contribute to those next-day aches and pains.
The device stimulates the lymphatic system to drain away toxins (which can boost the immune system) and whisk away excess fluid. I’ve had two treatments so far and have noticed that despite popping to the loo beforehand, you’ll also need to go once the 45 minutes are up (I was quite literally clambering out of the trousers last time). But that’s not the only sign it had worked: The snug skirt I had on before going in for the first treatment was a good 1.5 inches looser when I zipped it back on.
Gone was that sluggish, bloated, yucky feeling I had beforehand. My legs and feet felt lighter, too. The Body Ballancer claims to improve the appearance of cellulite thanks to increased blood and oxygen flow. I didn’t notice this, but I imagine you would need to commit to a course to reap these rewards. I should also mention that if you’re heading for a treatment, it would be wise to take a pair of leggings (unless you want to wear the rather fetching pair of paper leggings the clinic provides).
I would recommend this treatment to anyone who’s prone to water retention or bloating—especially if you have an important event to attend the next day. If you’re a frequent long-haul traveller, booking in for one of these treatments the day of or after a flight could help relieve some of that post-flight water retention. Still need convincing? I shared my experience on my Instagram story, and quite a few journalist pals have booked in since and are going back for more. Overall, the results are pretty amazing (you can thank me later).