The latest anti-cellulite therapies

Like it or It may be cold outside but in just a few months the beach beckons. Bay women are not going to let a bit of cellulite stop them from hitting the surf says Annemarie Quill. Get your butts into gear now with the latest cellulite treatments tested by the indulge team.

90 per cent of women suffer from cellulite, the lumpy "orange peel" effect on skin on bottom and thighs. It seems impossible to shift. Adam Bialostocki of Bay Plastic Surgery explains why.

"It is anatomical. If I cut open the thigh you see how fat deposits itself in compartments beneath the skin which create that lumpy effect. Once fat compartments have swollen, the skin is stretched. Losing weight is the first step in tackling cellulite but doesn't solve the problem - you see slim people with cellulite. You have to tighten skin."

indulge investigated the latest in anti-cellulite therapies, and we asked Adam to offer his verdict from a medical perspective.

Hypoxi machine

The promise: Celebrities like Madonna, Cheryl Cole and Robbie Williams have propelled Hypoxi machines into the limelight as a non-invasive cellulite treatment.

Twelve half-hour sessions over four weeks promises to smooth cellulite and trim waist, thighs and bottom, up to two dress sizes. The machine contains a cycle in a vacuum-sealed chamber. While cycling in a reclined position, the pressurised chamber stimulates blood supply to fat tissue around hips, buttocks and thighs. Sam Titze has the exclusive Hypoxi licence in the Bay of Plenty and has just set up Body Studio at the Mount.

Tester: Annemarie Quill, indulge editor (10 Hypoxi sessions).

"The idea of my fat being sucked away appeals, especially as I'm told that Hypoxi is more spa than gym. The level of intensity of the vacuum and the resistance on the bike depends on level of cellulite and physical fitness. Sam helps me into a rubber suit which is like a corset that attaches to the machine by a ring. It reminded me of putting a new bag on my vacuum cleaner. Pedalling away with the lower half of your body being suctioned is no easy work-out but the vacuum pressure is painless. Heart rate and temperature are monitored on the screen. My temperature increases a lot too which Sam assures is a good thing as blood is reaching parts of my body where fat is stored. Halfway through the treatments, I have lost 2kg in weight and 17cm from different parts of my body, the most being from my waist and knees. The treatment is not cheap, but for women who have battled cellulite for years or to kick-start an exercise programme for summer this is a good investment. If money was no object, I would continue with Hypoxi, given the results I have had from not trying very hard; it's perfect for lazy exercisers like me."

Adam says: "Surgeons work on scientific premises. I couldn't give my verdict without examining scientific trials of this. The idea of negative pressure being used to affect tissues is not new but what intrigues me is that it is used in other ways to increase tissue - for example the world is excited by the Brava Bra, a vacuum-pressure bra that aims to increase bra size."

Birch Tree extract

The promise: Preparations made from birch leaves have a "flushing out" effect, having a positive effect on the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Weleda offers products using birch extract to reduce cellulite: an exfoliator, a massage oil and detox juice. Used in combination they promise to smooth skin after just 28 days.

Tester: indulge designer Anna Gledhill.

"Drinking the juice was quick and easy. It was time-consuming rubbing in the oil twice a day. The oil and body scrub were nice - they both had a refreshing citrus smell. The oil absorbed slightly more easily than an oil for scars I tried in the past. The scrub was creamy and gentle. In terms of results, I didn't hope for much as I don't believe oil can reduce cellulite. But my skin feels nice and the system is pleasant to use."

Adam says: Skin is a barrier against the world. Creams or topical oils to reduce cellulite will have difficulty soaking into the skin, whatever the active ingredient. Detoxifying is a vague principle. Even if you were able to break down fat within fat cells into fatty acid, once in the blood stream, fat does not get excreted, so unless you combine this with marathon running, it is not going to have much effect.

 Anti-Cellulite knickers

The promise: Scala BioPromise shape wear claims to slim and melt down cellulite. Bio-crystals in the material of the underwear massage skin and improve circulation to reduce measurements up to a dress size, and decrease cellulite. Available from Temptations Lingerie in styles including shorts and leggings.

Tester: indulge reader Jo Reid (wore the pants six hours a day for two weeks).

"I have had other pants that are tight to hold your bits 'n bobs in but they always seemed uncomfortable. These ones are very comfy to wear and no sweating involved. They made me appear a size smaller and look more toned. I am going to continue to wear them until summer, as well as exercise and drink water."

Adam says: "Compression pants can work to shape the body - we use them after surgery or liposuction. The theory that heating up the skin can change its structure is true, but only at very high temperatures of 80 degrees. This is used in a cosmetic procedure using a machine called 'thermage' which uses radio frequency to heat up the collagen in your skin to such a degree that it contracts. There is no way that knickers can heat up to that, otherwise your pants might catch fire."

 Flower therapy

The promise: Flower Essences are an art of healing, pioneered by Dr Edward Bach more than 80 years ago. Louise Blackford is a practitioner based in the Mount and has a diploma in First Light Flower Essence Therapy - using essences of flowers, plants, and trees of New Zealand to restore holistic well being. "Flower essences enable you to balance emotions and transform attitudes. Flowers have a bio-electric quality just like our bodies. Cellulite can be the result of stored up emotion or anger lodged in at cellular level. You can put a band aid on cellulite by massage, take a pill, run 3km a day but if we don't address the root of the problem, it's going to come back. Hips, thighs and bums are a dumping ground for emotion and stress if they are not released."

Tester: Katie Cox, indulge photographer, met with Louise.

"The session starts off with a foot spa while Louise and I chat. She tells me my 'personal' flower essence is jasmine, based on my birth date. A total of eight essences are chosen [according to my emotions or issue I wish to address] which she then makes up for me to take away. My flower essences help me to rein in imbalances to be in harmony like flowers in nature."

Adam says: "Emotional wellbeing is definitely linked to physical health. If you are stressed, hormones like steroids may increase weight gain and the appearance of cellulite. Being relaxed is a good thing - and if flowers help you achieve that, all good. But people with no baggage still have cellulite."

The massage

The promise: Massage therapist Paul Leslie and his team of certified massage therapists offer cellulite massages. By stimulating the tissue through massage, blood circulation increases. This facilitates the natural removal of fatty deposits. Paul says his hands can do with massage what the Hypoxi does with a machine but in a longer period of time. To be effective the client would need a course of massages on a regular basis in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Tester: Fran Summers, indulge media consultant.

"I actually fell asleep while he was massaging my bum cheeks so it is good to know that there is a way to get rid of cellulite that is so relaxing! I had a one-and-a-half hour massage and Paul recommends once a week for cellulite. I would definitely do it again."

Adam says: "Massaging the skin is a good thing. It improves blood supply and circulation. We know that if we massage scars it can change their appearance. Massage could help with cellulite combined with diet and exercise, perhaps in the younger age group. However, endermologie, a cosmetic procedure which uses a machine to massage the skin, has not achieved any scientific proof of improving the appearance of cellulite."

What's up Doc?

"There is no gold standard for cellulite. A lot of it is down to genetics," Adam Bialostocki (right) says. "For very overweight people, a surgical option could be a thigh lift and tummy tuck. If you have a lot of loose dimpled skin then it is a reasonable trade off. Liposuction can suck out fat but I wouldn't recommend it for cellulite on its own. If you have just a little bit of cellulite, surgery isn't for you.

"A healthy diet, exercise and drinking water all help, and massage or massage machines can't harm. If the body is fit and toned, cellulite is less noticeable, and until we find a cure, it is something we have to live with."

Spray tan then?

- Bay of Plenty Times

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