A treatment that promises to help numerous health conditions (while strengthening the immune system and improving energy, alleviating seasonal affective disorder, aiding sleep, detoxification, circulation, joint and muscle pain, arthritis, blood pressure and skin conditions) and which involves lying on sun loungers, was an appealing thought as I meandered down Marylebone’s Harley Street on a cold October day.
I saw none of the women with moulded Plasticine faces I expected in this part of town; only middle-aged, distinguished, men in sharp suits whom I assumed were the well-heeled doctors who shaped and sculpted the human form. Head bowed, I strode on, hoping nobody would slight me by approaching with some great deal on liposuction.
I arrived at the Wholistic Medical Centre; an alternative health centre which brings together the best of medical and holistic practices and focuses on patients’ proactivity and prevention. I was there to test Real Sunlight; a treatment that fully replicates natural sunlight and sunbathing, creating full spectrum sunlight with reduced UVA and UVB light. Evidently it is a safe and vetted way of guaranteeing that you catch the rays and vitamin D your body craves; regardless of British weather.
I changed behind a screen in the real sunlight room on the ground floor of the centre, feeling a little disorientated in my shorts and a bikini top, in October in a smart room in Harley Street. After I settled on one of three unoccupied sun loungers, three large lamps above me whirred into life and for an hour I lay languorously in the warm glow, feeling rather sleepy. Of the three available settings for this treatment I had Mauritius, which meant I had 45 minutes of ‘full daylight’ and 15 of infrared only which is ‘sunset’.
It was a relaxing experience, if a little strange. They do recommend a few more sessions to feel any considerable effects. I can’t pretend I felt euphoric or my skin was suddenly shiningly beautiful. What I can say is that I felt surprisingly calm during my return journey through rampaging London commuters; a tube journey usually leaves me stressed and snarling. I slept well that night; a real deep, fresh air and holiday sleep. I also noticed a few light tan lines creeping round my body, which I hadn’t expected.
I would certainly use real sunshine again, and book a course. I think, for those who suffer during the winter months, it could be a real pick-me-up, something to keep you sane. It is lovely to walk off a busy London street in your lunch hour, lie down for a while and come out surprisingly refreshed and mellow.
It is National Stress Awareness day on November 3, which makes me wonder: if everyone had access to a Real Sunlight room, would we need a day dedicated to stress?
You can experience a Real Sunlight room in London at:
The Wholistic Medical Centre
57 Harley Street
Grange St Paul’s Hotel
10 Godliman Street
Image by Matthewvenn courtesy of Flickr