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Luxury SpaFinder Magazine Sheds Light on ‘Science’ Behind Cellulite Treatments

In its ongoing efforts to help its readers make safe, smart spa-going decisions, Luxury SpaFinder Magazine has investigated the booming cellulite eradication industry. The magazine’s newest “Spa Rx” report, “Cellulite Plight,” available in the January/February issue, explores what is still a poorly understood condition while shedding much-needed light on a cosmetic craze fueled by big [...]

NEW YORK, NY – January 25, 2005 – In its ongoing efforts to help its readers make safe, smart spa-going decisions, Luxury SpaFinder Magazine has investigated the booming cellulite eradication industry. The magazine's newest "Spa Rx" report, "Cellulite Plight," available in the January/February issue, explores what is still a poorly understood condition while shedding much-needed light on a cosmetic craze fueled by big promises (and often bigger price tags)—but generally short on scientific insight and lasting results. Spa Finder's "Spa Rx" is a regular section of the magazine dedicated to uncovering the science and efficacy of various spa treatments.

"The lack of consensus about the basic nature of cellulite has given rise to something of a treatment free-for-all," said Luxury SpaFinder Magazine Editor-in-Chief Gary Walther. "We took a rigorous journalistic approach in our effort to provide a balanced overview of the condition and the industry it has spawned—researching a range of cellulite treatments, interviewing spa owners and managers, experiencing the procedures (and results) first-hand, and soliciting recognized experts in the field to contextualize why some treatments work, and some don't."

Even though it's presumably been around forever, "cellulite" didn't become common parlance until the early 70s. And while everyone agrees that cellulite is just plain old fat, there's surprisingly little consensus as to why it takes its disagreeable dimpled form—with theories ranging from poor lymphatic drainage to environmental toxins. As Luxury SpaFinder Magazine writer Aimee Lee Ball reports, however, most of these claims are unsubstantiated by real science, with the few available clinical studies financed at least in part by companies that stand to profit from favorable results.

As Ball discovered, the wide-ranging cellulite treatments in the marketplace can be high-tech, exotic, even enjoyable—an often surreal parade of suction cups, caffeine wraps, inflatable body sleeves, infrared lights, radio waves, laser beams, ultrasound machines, and aromatic beds of smoldering herbs. The only problem is they generally deliver temporary improvements at best—not bad for a beach date or a special event, but a far cry from "cellulite eradication." They also tend to be expensive, typically ranging from $100-$400 a session.

The article goes on to uncover some of the scientific fallacies underlying many cellulite treatments. For example, experts agree that while toxins may wreak general biological havoc, they probably don't cause cellulite. Neither does inflammation, or poor lymphatic drainage. And while lasers may do wonders on the skin's surface, it's unlikely that they have any affect on underlying fat tissue.

Ball ultimately learns that the best cellulite treatment might be the simplest one of all—a rigorous, deep massage. This conclusion is based on a Vanderbilt Medical Center study of Endermologie, one of the most touted cellulite reduction treatments, which found that the suction-based procedure actually does reduce cellulite dimpling, albeit accidentally, by tearing the fibers that connect the skin to underlying muscles. "Think of a quilt," explains Dr. Bruce Shack, M.D., who headed the Vanderbilt study. "The quilting is created with underlying stitches that attach to the surface with a thread. If you cut the thread, the surface is smoothed out."

This may explain why massage seems to deliver observable short-term cellulite improvements. Still, Ball cautions that the success of Endermologie depends largely on the skill of the treatment therapist and that results max out at about 20 treatments, diminishing once treatment is stopped. Ball's advice to Endermologie patients is pretty much the same as it is for all cellulite sufferers looking for a lasting fix in the marketplace: Buyer beware!

The good news is, just because you can't buy a miracle cellulite cure doesn't mean you can't take concrete steps to prevent cellulite's onset and minimize its appearance. Luxury SpaFinder Magazine advises these four safe, easy things you can do to get started today:

1) Have a vigorous massage regularly. As mentioned above, deep massage can change the underlying skin structure, making cellulite less apparent.
2) Drink plenty of water. Keeping skin super-hydrated can plump up cellulite dimples.
3) Exercise regularly. While there's no proof, there's a lot of speculation that poor blood flow is an important factor in cellulite formation.
4) Eat a healthful diet. It's an intrinsic part of any cellulite defense.

Check out the entire "Cellulite Plight" report in the January/February issue of Luxury SpaFinder Magazine, on newsstands now, or contact Nancy Sheed at 203-240-8122 or nancy.sheed@sbcglobal.net for more information.

About Luxury SpaFinder Magazine:

Published bi-monthly by Spa Finder, Inc., the world's largest spa marketing and publishing company, Luxury SpaFinder Magazine is the authority on luxury spas and associated lifestyle pursuits for an emerging market of affluent, health conscious consumers. The magazine addresses a range of issues including wellness, beauty, fitness, stress management, and spirituality. The magazine also covers luxury travel, home spa design, cuisine, fashion, and other topics that are increasingly influenced by the spa lifestyle.