SHA Wellness Clinic launches revolutionary new therapy to improve cognitive function
Tried and tested: is transcranial current stimulation the future of wellness?
At the foot of the Sierra Helada hills in Spain lies one of the most unique resorts in the world, the SHA Wellness Clinic. The detox retreat of choice for the ultra-high net worth community intent on luxury travel, the resort goes far beyond traditional beauty treatments. It’s staffed by a team of doctors who specialise in a range of therapies designed to give guests a full-body MOT – both inside and out.
The newest addition to the clinic’s treatment offering is transcranial current stimulation. Making use of the latest advances in neuroscience and technology, the revolutionary treatment uses non-invasive stimulation to improve cognitive function. Essentially, this means using electrodes to administer a light electric pinch to certain parts of the brain, but don't be alarmed – it's not as scary as it sounds. The therapy is even said to be useful in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders such as depression, sleep disorders, strokes and chronic pain.
Spearheading the treatment is Dr Bruno Ribeiro, a master of clinical psychology, who has a particular professional interest in cognitive development and brain stimulation. During a recent trip to London, he hosted a popup clinic at The Dorchester Spa, where Tempus was given a preview of the treatment.
After a brief consultation on my lifestyle, Dr Ribeiro administered a series of tests while my brain was in a restful state. He placed a transcranial helmet on my head – an odd but not uncomfortable experience – to monitor and evaluation brain activity. Interestingly, the levels showed that my concentration was, thankfully, high when he spoke to me, but the blue line which indicates tiredness showed I was sleep deprived, which is something I had expected at my 9am pre-coffee session. >>
For the rest of the session, Dr Ribeiro asked me to complete an extensive series of tests on a computer screen, designed to test my reactions, concentration and memory. While I completed the tests, I wore the headset which, at times, applied pressure, squeezing my head as the electrodes administered soft current discharges.
At the end, he gave me a full run down on his analysis report. It turns out I have an average or above average score on most elements, with a high score in ability to learn new things (a particularly important point of the test, according to the doctor), although my short-term memory was lower than expected – a direct result of sleep deprivation. Clearly this is the issue that needs targeting.
While I didn’t feel any different after the initial treatment, Dr Ribeiro’s feedback was helpful – and seemingly accurate. And while I’m normally a sceptic about these kinds of treatments, what he said seemed to make sense and I’d certainly be interested to find out more with a further session at the clinic in Spain. In the meantime, I’ll be taking his tips and concentrating on getting more sleep!