Massage Away Cellulite

When the FDA okayed Endermologie’s claims, we reported on the expensive, deep-suctioning massage device that supposedly diminishes cellulite. But we wanted to see for ourselves what it might do.

Tester: Pam Uhl, 53. “Overall, I’m fairly content with my body. But, what I’d really like is to look more toned.”

Product claims: Effective treatment for temporarily reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Cost: $35 for the initial consultation, and $1,600 for twenty 40-minute treatments.

Caveat: Although I was told to eat a low-fat diet and to exercise, I continued my normal eating and exercise habits. I wanted to see what Endermologie alone could do.

My first time: Dressed in a full-body, nylon leotard (included in the price), I lay on a table while the technician rhythmically moved what looked and sounded like a giant vacuum cleaner over my hips, buttocks and thighs. My skin was being rolled and suctioned, and it felt like someone was pressing on bruises — hard. The intensity can be varied from 1 to 10, but the procedure was so uncomfortable that I feared I’d never get past the first level. Surprisingly, the technician said some people fall asleep during the treatment. I was more tempted to jump up, grab my clothes and learn to love my cellulite!

Great tip: When I started to avoid caffeine for 12 hours before treatments, my tolerance increased dramatically, and I was gradually able to handle intensities between 6 and 10. (My technician had explained that caffeine consumption and treatment on days around menstruation could both increase discomfort.) Also, certain technicians’ methods were more comfortable than others.

Safety: One possible side effect — minor bruising — didn’t occur with me.

Results: After about a dozen treatments, I noticed a slight improvement in my cellulite — and that remained the level of improvement at the end. My clothes didn’t fit any differently, and I didn’t lose any inches.

Analysis: It’s a big investment in time as well as money — and for me, it’s not worth it.

Another client’s view: One day, I chatted with another woman there, an aerobics instructor with a lovely body. She feels that regular Endermologie treatments are the only way she can keep her upper thighs looking as toned as the rest of her.

Expert opinion: “Results vary from person to person,” says Deborah Sarnoff, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center in New York City. “The younger you are, and the closer you are to your ideal body weight, the better the results.” “If you do get a benefit — it is only temporary — you have to maintain it with treatments about once a month,” adds Jeffrey Sklar, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University in New York City.

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