24 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
 
 
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SELECTED ISSUE
Spa Business
2023 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Put to the test

First person

Put to the test


Mia Kyricos tries out the advanced biometric data gathering programme by Fountain Life, which has the potential to transform healthcare systems

A full body MRI scan is one of many advanced tests carried out over five-plus hours photo: Fountain Life
Clients are assigned a dedicated suite with branded accessories photo: Mia Kyricos
Replenishing IV drips are administered after extensive blood draws photo: shutterstock/YAKOBCHUK
The experience “disrupts the medical spa and primary care visit all at once,” says Kyricos photo: Fountain Life
Genetic sequencing is used to uncover potential health risks photo: shutterstock/DW2630
There are four centres in the US so far photo: Fountain Life
Dr Bowen oversaw tests on the day and fully explained the results in a follow-up four weeks later photo: Mia Kyricos

For far too long, the global healthcare industry has focused on treating sickness, ultimately giving the wellness industry its raison d’etre: prevention. Now, with the debut of Fountain Life and its latest, spa-inspired centre at the health-minded Lake Nona campus in Florida, the future of medicine may have just arrived.

Via a five-plus hour journey of diagnostic testing, Fountain Life attempts to see, predict and reverse disease progression even before it starts. The programme, which is backed by life coach, philanthropist and entrepreneur Tony Robbins, captures 150 gigabytes of data – from gut microbiome analysis and an epigenetic biological age test to a full body MRI and early cancer detection screening (see page 56). And as I walk into its gleaming new facility, it’s easy to see how this just might be the poster child of preventative medicine.

SPA-LIKE HOSPITALITY
Upon arrival, I’m assigned a dedicated suite with a locker, sofa, table, chair and personalised TV screen naming my carers for the day – a client coordinator, nurse and overseeing doctor (Dr Bowen) who will eventually review all of my results.

Overall, the hospitality is akin to what’s offered at premier health and wellness destinations. Clients are offered scrubs, branded t-shirts and socks. Replenishing IV drips are administered in a hydration lounge after extensive blood draws; teas, coffees and snacks are available after fasting and a made-to-order lunch is delivered fresh to the suite. In addition, clients may select from an optional, al a carte menu of vitamin-based IV infusions designed to further fortify the body.

The experience feels both new and familiar to me. It seems to disrupt the medical spa and primary care visit all at once with a level of diagnostic testing I’ve not seen elsewhere. The fact that a simple blood test can pre-screen for more than 50 cancers, for example, seems profoundly revolutionary and also perplexing that it’s not standard at primary care practices today. And while I was lucky enough to have my first DEXA bone density scan more than 20 years ago at Canyon Ranch, I find it odd that neither health resorts nor my GP have suggested the test akin to an annual breast exam or periodic colonoscopy.

At the very least, I’m happy to see that the GI Map test – my second this year – is gaining popularity to evaluate gut health which we know is increasingly linked to everything from mood to the quality of your skin and hair. This is something more spas and wellness destinations should consider.

AFTER TEST DAY
Four weeks later, I have an extensive 90-minute Zoom follow-up with Dr Bowen and get a full summary of results, considerations and recommendations for my primary care provider.

I’m relieved and grateful to report that no cancers were detected, my brain looks good, I have the bones of a 30-year-old and both my gut and heart are in good shape with some minor opportunities for improvement.

I have concerns that my GP may struggle to understand all the tests and results, but the recommendations seem fairly straightforward and I feel much more equipped to future-proof myself.

THE VERDICT
The Precision Diagnostics programme is priced at a high premium currently not covered by insurance and at an out-of-pocket expense of US$11,700 (€10,597, £9,353). If clients are interested in longer-term support, Fountain Life offers a year-round membership costing US$19,500 (€17,661, £15,585).

Still, the founders of Fountain Life are committed to making these tests and overall access to preventative medicine much more widely available to consumers, independent of their centres, over time. There are currently four facilities across the US and four coming soon – in Toronto, New Delhi and Dubai, as well as another in America.

Down the line, I see collaborations between health resorts and wellness destinations that are easily accessible from major cities, as well as partnerships with primary care facilities which are eager to become more proactive.

The reality is, Fountain Life is far ahead of its time. And while this whole experience may seem overwhelming if not cost-prohibitive, it’s hard not to marvel at these latest advancements. The company is in the admirable position of being both a pioneer and advocate for a dramatic change in our approach to healthcare – namely, our wellcare – and from my perspective, not a moment too soon.

photo: Kyricos & Associates
"It offers a level of diagnostic testing I’ve not seen elsewhere" – Mia Kyricos
PRECISION DIAGNOSTIC TESTING
The Fountain Life assessment includes the following tests:

• Full Body MRI with AI to scan the body and brain for abnormalities, cancer and neurodegenerative disease, often in their infancy

• AI Coronary Artery Scan to detect the warning signs of future heart disease, attacks and related cardiac conditions

• Early Cancer Detection Screening inclusive of a fasting blood test to detect more than 50 types of cancer, most of which traditionally go undetected at stage 1

• DEXA Bone Density Scan to measure the mineral content of bones, risk of osteoporosis and fractures and body composition

• Biologic Age Test which looks at epigenetics and considers more than 900,000 locations of DNA to compare the age of your body with how old you actually are. It also helps to predict lifespan

• Gut Microbiome Analysis to determine the state of good and bad bacteria in the gut with the goal of optimising immunity, digestion and overall health while also testing for conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and chronic fatigue syndrome among others

• Genetic Sequencing to determine how your specific DNA might affect your health in the future

• Executive Blood Panel to assess kidney and liver function, vitamin, mineral and hormone levels, lipid panel and glucose markers, all of which can give insight into potential health risks that may be mitigated by nutritional, lifestyle and related interventions

The DEXA scan looks at bone density / photo: Mia

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 2

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