A lackadaisical attitude to healthy living, topped off with a fairly enthusiastic hen weekend in London, has left me feeling in need of detox. Tina O'Doherty's Inch Loss Clinic in Edinburgh's Churchill area is offering a new treatment package so it seems the ideal time to try it out.
The detox programme – which can last from a week to a month – consists of regular sessions which combine four different therapies aimed at increasing relaxation, exercising the body (without effort) to burn 500 calories in one session, and encouraging the release of toxins by heating up the body.
And so I find myself lying on a bed in a dark room, soothing music playing in the background, as lots of tiny lights drift around. The detox capsule works by raising internal body temperature, which improves circulation to encourage muscles to release toxins. It gives you a nice warm tummy in the process. Another heat lamp is placed above the face, the idea being that it stimulates collagen, boosting skin-tone and battling wrinkles.
While this is going on, my feet rest on a platform which vibrates, causing the legs (and various other parts) to jiggle. It's a slightly odd sensation, but not unpleasant and the notion that it is burning calories as you just lie there is highly satisfying. It stays switched on for 15 of the 45 minutes the session lasts. The increased blood-flow means that, although I'm lying down and relaxed throughout the treatment, I get up feeling as energised as if I'd just had a workout at the gym.
The impact of detoxing is hard to quantify, but to help clients improve their diets, Tina has created a food hamper and diet sheet, as an optional add-on to the treatment. The hamper contains healthy soups, smoothies and snacks such as seeds and oat biscuits, along with various other basics such as porridge and detox tea. While you have to provide your own fruit, vegetables and meat, there's a shopping list to help.
There's no test to confirm that my body is "detoxed", but after a week of regular relaxation sessions, healthy eating and calorie burning I certainly feel more energised and healthier than I have in quite some time.
• Prices start from 60 (for 45 minutes) and 225 (for a seven-day course). The detox food hampers cost 50 per week. Tina O'Doherty's Inch Loss Clinic, Edinburgh, tel: 0131-446 0340 or visit www.inchlossclinic.com