This past August for Lara Rose was unfolding like any other, until the ping of a text message interrupted the work meeting she was leading. A relationship that had quietly fallen out of alignment and ended in divorce years before came bursting back into the picture – with bizarre, Netflix true-crime-thriller-like twists.
“The whole month after that text was a blur,” says the Founder and CEO of Sydney-based Tsavo Wellness. Strangers in her home, crooked lawyers, law enforcement and the court system all made rotations through the saga that had suddenly become her every day.
“The stress was so intense. I can’t express how violating it was. And all the while, I was trying to run a business, pull myself together, stand strong and hold space for others. It was a real test of practicing what I preach at Tsavo.”
A few months before her life was upended, Rose was celebrating the one-year anniversary of her wellness business, built on the buzzy premise of biohacking. These days, it’s hard to miss the news stories featuring billionaire tech bros spending their fortunes to biohack their way back to their teenage bodies. For Rose, it’s all a bit less dramatic and much more accessible.
Changing biology for the positive
Biohacking is the process of changing the biology of the body for the positive, she says. It’s giving your body the tools it needs to heal itself, whether that’s through treatments like the ones she’s made available at Tsavo, or something as low-key as taking vitamins, meditating or hitting the sauna at your local gym.
The suite of Tsavo treatments include biohacking processes designed to put your body through something called ‘eustress’, the beneficial kind of stress that activates healing mechanisms, allowing your body and mind to come back stronger and more resilient. Think of a weight-lifting session during which you’re putting strain on your muscles, creating small tears, so they can repair themselves, Rose explains.
These tools include both localized and whole-body cryotherapy, which provide relief as a specific pain treatment or an overall energy boost. Red-light therapy and infrared saunas are incredible for immune boosting, antiaging and relaxation.
A hyperbaric hydrogen and oxygen chamber, which helps increase the amount of oxygen in blood plasma, mitigating the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation, is also on offer. A lymphatic drainage massage suit stimulates your lymphatic system with a little bit of compression, which makes it a really good for detoxification.
“The purpose is to refuel. To fill up people’s tanks with whatever they need so they can go back into the world stronger, more stable, more grounded with a greater sense of purpose, love and empowerment.”
Each of these treatments, and the others available, result in overall improved wellness – better sleep, more energy, circadian rhythms reset, a calm central nervous system and much more. Rose mentions an 80-year-old client whose crippling arthritis has been reduced to such a degree after regular visits to Tsavo that she can garden again for the first time in a decade.
During her recent challenges, Rose herself made use of every single one of the tools at Tsavo on an almost daily basis – and credits their use for surviving this past August and beyond.
“My overarching thought was, this is why I built Tsavo, to be able to support people going through the biggest challenges of their lives – physical, emotional, spiritual, whatever,” she says. “The purpose is to refuel. To fill up people’s tanks with whatever they need so they can go back into the world stronger, more stable, more grounded with a greater sense of purpose, love and empowerment.
“The innate ability of our bodies and minds to heal themselves depends on our environment. I’ve essentially created an environment, a sanctuary where people can go in feeling one way, have the tools to support their body’s innate ability to heal itself and come out feeling renewed.”
An ethos of empathy
The experience of needing to use the tools herself under such traumatic circumstances offered even further confirmation that what she does at Tsavo is helpful to people. Rose built her business while the COVID-19 pandemic was in full effect and the world was full of uncertainty. But she felt a calling, she says, anticipating just how people would feel when life opened up again.
Tsavo Wellness, named for her connection to Kenya – her birthplace – and the breathtakingly wild Tsavo National Park in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, opened the day Australian mask mandates were lifted.
“People were so scared,” she says. “They were very much in the COVID-19 mindset of fear, fear, fear. And yes, of course, there was a business strategy and a plan. But what kept me going was knowing how much loneliness and fear everybody experienced – and how important it would be to reconnect people with their health.
“I wanted to create an environment where people could feel in control of their bodies and know they have the tools to maximize what they’re getting out of their tank to live their lives.”
Even aside from this past August, Rose is all too familiar with the feeling of running on empty. In her late teens and early 20s, various systemic health issues began to crop up. She felt allopathic medicine let her down, and her search for other, more natural solutions grew into a passion for health and wellbeing.
Years later, her young daughter was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease and given a daunting prognosis. At one point, even attending school seemed out of the question. “That really propelled me to move heaven and Earth to find a better way for her to have an amazing life,” Rose says. “That’s when I learned about the different modalities we now have at Tsavo.”
Finding positives from the negatives
While traveling around the world to find and experiment with different treatments, Rose had to sift through a lot of what she calls snake oil. She mentions a particular, extremely expensive health retreat in Byron Bay that ultimately changed her life.
“It was the biggest rip-off – but also the biggest gift,” Rose says. “Attendees were being treated so badly. They were paying all this money and being told their lack of a breakthrough was their own fault. They were being taken advantage of in such a terrible way.”
“Despite our own individual struggles and limitations, it’s about setting ourselves up as best we can to get the most out of this body and this life.”
She wrote her business plan that same week.
Today, although not totally free of health challenges, her daughter is thriving, living a 20-something life full of travel and exploration – and using the biohacking tools at Tsavo whenever she’s local. “‘That’s my old story,’ she’ll say about her diagnosis. ‘It’s not who I am anymore’,” Rose explains.
Rose’s own challenges from this past summer have yet to be fully resolved, but she’s moving through it with calm and confidence. “We’re all still humans, living our human lives, right? The Tsavo community and the biohacking devices we have honestly and truly supported me – are still supporting me – in a way I’m so grateful for,” she says.
“That’s really what this is about. Despite our own individual struggles and limitations, it’s about setting ourselves up as best we can to get the most out of this body and this life.”
Main image photo credit: Louisa Seton of Sacred Feminine Photography