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The Cellulite and Body Wrap Scam Oct. 12, 2000
Provided by: Special to CANOE
Written by: 3
The term "cellulite" is often used to describe deposits of dimpled fat found on the thighs and buttocks of many women.
It is alleged to be a special type of "fat gone wrong," a combination of fat, water, and "toxic wastes" that the body has failed to eliminate.

It's important to know that "Cellulite" is not a medical term. Medical authorities agree that cellulite is simply ordinary fatty tissue. Strands of fibrous tissue connect the skin to deeper tissue layers and also separate compartments that contain fat cells. When fat cells increase in size, these compartments bulge and produce a waffled appearance of the skin.
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Many years ago, Neil Solomon, M.D., conducted a double-blind study of 100 people to see whether cellulite differed from ordinary fat. Specimens of regular fat and lumpy fat were obtained by a needle biopsy procedure and given to pathologists for analysis and comparison. No difference between the two was found.

More recently, researchers at Rockefeller Institute used ultrasonography, microscopic examinations, and fat-metabolism studies to see "affected" and unaffected skin areas differed in seven healthy adult subjects (five women, two men; four affected, three unaffected). The researchers concluded: (a) certain characteristics of skin make women more prone than men to develop cellulite; (b) the process is diffuse rather than localized; and (3) there were no significant differences in the appearance or function of the fatty tissue or the regional blood flow between affected and unaffected sites within individuals.

Alleged "anti-cellulite" products have included "loofah" sponges; cactus fibers; special washcloths; horsehair mitts; creams and gels to "dissolve" cellulite; supplements containing vitamins; minerals and/or herbs; bath liquids; massagers; rubberized pants; exercise books; brushes; rollers; body wraps; and toning lotions. Many salons offer treatment with electrical muscle stimulation, vibrating machines, inflatable hip-high pressurized boots, "hormone" or "enzyme" injections, heating pads, and massage. None of these actually work.

Many salons and spas claim that body wraps or garments can trim inches off the waist, hips, thighs, and other areas of the body. The wraps -- with or without a special lotion or cream applied to the skin-- may be applied to parts of the body or to the entire body. Clients are typically assured that fat will "melt away" and they can lose "up to 2 inches from those problem areas in just one hour."

Suddenly Slender, which franchises body-wrap shops in the United States and Canada, claims that "wrapping works because cellulite is water-logged fatty tissue." Home-use wrapping systems are also marketed, often with a claim that they can "remove toxins." Some marketers suggest measuring a large number of body areas before and afterward and adding up the differences to get "total inches lost." Life Force International, for example, advises users to add the results of 17 measurements. This enables minor changes due to temporary effects or to measurement variations to appear to be large numbers.

The bottom line is very simple: No body wrap can cause selective reduction of an area of the body. Although wrapping may cause temporary water loss as a result of perspiration or compression, any fluid will soon be replaced by drinking or eating. The idea that herbal wraps detoxify the body is absurd.

Next Week: Don't Buy "Anti-Cellulite" Pills


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