A doctor who practised functional medicine once asked me a rather interesting question: “Why do people only see a doctor when they’re ill? Why not come and see me before you fall ill so that I can prevent you from falling ill in the future?” It was, I have to admit, a rather different way to look at wellness but, at the same time, also provided me with some food for thought as to what health management really entails.
It seems, however, that an increasing number of people are thinking precisely along these seemingly New Age lines (after all, ‘prevention is better than the cure’, no?), so much so that it has precipitated the launch of services such as One Hundred Years — a private-client health-management service in the UK. This looks after every aspect of its members’ health from detailed initial assessments, formulation of health optimisation programmes, use of global experts to implement programmes and insurance cover, giving priority access to the world’s leading clinics, surgeons and other experts.
I am at the Centre for Health & Human Performance at 76 Harley Street where the programme is headquartered and where London-based members are invited to utilise high-tech equipment such as the Milon Studio (filled with Milon equipment that are up to 30 percent more effective than traditional workouts), as well as access to a cardiopulmonary exercise testing lab (alternative fitness providers will be sourced for international members). As we walk around the facility, its chief medical officer, Dr Jack Kreindler, explains that One Hundred Years aims “to rethink health and healthcare”.
“Our motivation is to learn what health means to individual clients,” he says, revealing that all members are given a Private Health Advisory Team that can be accessed at any time, from any country. “And then, we proactively help them achieve that by professionally coordinating access to the best minds in particular fields.”
Dr Kreindler adds that the concept was born out of a research and development project that was trying to see if elite sport science could be applied to health and human performance: “If we can find that magic that gets people up mountains or become Olympic champions, then can we not apply this to everyday life? We realised that people can come in for a day once a year to get a health assessment but what if they could have their health managed like a Premiership footballer could have their health managed?
“Rather than keeping healthy for a month where they are prepping for a major operation or getting ready to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, our clients have a desire for a long-term strategic health programme where their health is managed for them and their family members throughout the various stages of their life.”
He cites the example of a man who is not ill but runs an international business and who is travelling all the time: “This person is not the youngest but absolutely has to run circles around people half his age. He also cannot afford to be jet-lagged and can’t afford, with his young children, to fall ill. So we’re talking about a person who needs to be performing way above and beyond what you would expect from a normal person. This is where we come in. We come in to make him ‘beyond better’. We treat him as if he is an athlete and try to tune his body so that he’s performing optimally.
“We would not say ‘go to the gym and eat healthily’, we would go beyond to find out if his genes were such that he doesn’t respond well to certain medicine; we look at whether he has got risks for certain things; we continue to monitor advances in medicine on his behalf so that, say, 20 years down the road, if there is a new development in a drug that can help him reduce his risk for age-related blindness… we will track those developments for him. We build a health strategy for this person so that they don’t need to.”
The result is a well-informed individual who is not just in a position to have their body tuned to its optimal potential but also one who is secure in the knowledge that their health is extremely well taken care of. That said, while it is easy to preach to the converted, there will be those who will still think of medicine in a traditional way i.e. when they are ill. “It is part of the reason why the programme is called One Hundred Years,” concludes Dr Kreindler. “Because, in 100 years, this is how medicine will look.” Unless, of course, you are one of those lucky members of the programme, in which case this is how medicine can look now.
Memberships start from £3,000, although a pay-as-you-go option is also available. For more information, click here.