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Everyone is on the eat healthy, exercise often and lose weight challenge. Especially those who have realized that your usual daily regimen is no longer yielding the results as you had expected. Many of us have found ourselves in this dilemma; despite exercising regularly and eating healthy, your jeans seem smaller every month and your doctor simply tells you it’s age — your metabolism slows down.
But if you are not planning to go down without a fight, a decisive weight loss may be the first step. Though hard labor at the gym and in the kitchen may seem tiring, invasive surgery is neither financially responsible, nor desirable unless you are morbidly obese.
This is where a new option of noninvasive programs and treatments involving infrared lights, radio frequency and manipulation comes in. Three different programs are now available to the public and here is our experience at three different locations.
VelaShape (American Laser) 8751 Commodity Circle Suite 2 Orlando, FL 32819 407-770-5720, Cost: $$$
“The FDA-cleared cellulite treatment, VelaShape™, is safe and effective for all skin types and colors. The combination of radiofrequency, infrared light energy with vacuum and mechanical massage, increases the metabolism of stored energy, increases lymphatic drainage and reduces or shrinks the size of the actual fat cells and fat chambers.
The VelaShape™ II combines gentle light and radio frequency energies (elōs™) with mechanical rollers and vacuum suction to manipulate the superficial fat tissue layer that contributes to cellulite. The heat from the light and RF energies increases metabolism of this fatty layer and shrinks the size of fat cells.
The mechanical rollers and vacuum suction act on the blood vessels to increase circulation to the local area, as well as massaging the skin to achieve a smoother, less dimpled surface appearance. A program of one cellulite treatment per month is recommended to maintain results, coupled with lots of water, regular exercise and a balanced diet to optimize them.” — Megan Sullivan, Event/Marketing Manager- American Laser Skincare
After the initial consultation, in which the procedure, tips and instructions were explained, I was taken to a bright room and made to lie down on the table. The procedure was reviewed with me and each step was explained. The technician was very informative and by the end of the treatment her infectious belief in the product had me sold. However, I was still somewhat skeptical. Measurements and photos are taken before each treatment to gauge and track changes in inches lost. Treatments are scheduled 1 week apart.
This procedure focuses heat and core temperature to reduce cellulite on the target areas which was my stomach/abdomen, lower back and love handles. For those with sensitive skin, you may find the heat a little uncomfortable, but otherwise bearable. Because I heat up very quickly, my treatments actually took less than 30 minutes, but typically it would take about an hour. The treatment felt like a cross between a massage roller, a concentrated tanning bed and sucker fish sucking on my skin.
Overall I did lose significant cumulative inches, about 4 inch average around my waist and mostly around my hips. The difference was evident between my original measurements and end results. I was surprised and pleased at the results over such a short period of time of three treatments. Staff were informative and gave tips to maximize my treatment.
Ultrasonic Body Contouring (Altamonte Health & Wellness) 100 Marcia Drive. Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Cost: $
The treatment is advertised as an effective way of removing excess fat without surgery on primarily the abdomen, inner and outer thighs (saddle bags) and flanks (love handles). The procedure uses focused ultrasound waves in combination with radio frequency and muscle stimulation to selectively break down fat cells in a particular area, whilst protecting the outside layers of skin, nerves and blood vessels.
The focus of this treatment is on body sculpting, which intrigued me. I met with the doctor for the initial consultation. He reviewed how the process worked and was exuberant about the treatment and its results. He too stressed that it was important to note that a healthy eating plan was imperative for successful results and that those results differed for each individual. Weight, measurements and photos were taken of my target areas, stomach/abdomen, lower back and love handles to gauge weight loss and inches lost.
Treatments are scheduled from 2-4 days a part. I ultimately received 6 treatments. It felt like having an ultrasound with gel. There was no heat and no discomfort. What was uniquely different with this program was the personal involvement of the doctor. He wanted to be sure he could track changes and also implemented a detailed eating plan to augment the treatments and ensure significant weight loss and inches lost which included a BMI measurement. This was by far a more exhaustive procedure; expect a good one hour time frame.
Overall it showed that I had a cumulative inch loss of 6 inches, however that did not include measurement of any weight gain throughout the process and in comparison to my original weight and measurements the loss was not that significant. I probably had about 1 1/2 inch loss in the target areas and 4-5 lbs. weight loss.
Zerona (Orlando LipoFast) 1803 Park Center Drive Orlando, FL 32835 (407) 447-0001, Cost $$
As stated by LIPOFast™Orlando Weight Loss Center, “through clinical studies it has been demonstrated that the Zerona® low level laser stimulates the fat cell to emulsify (liquefy) the fat within the cell. Then the liquefied fat moves from inside the cell through a temporary pore formed in the cell membrane to outside the cell where it is in the interstitial space until absorbed by the lymphatic system. This results in millions of fat cells becoming smaller so inches are reduced off the waist, hips and thighs.”
The difference between this and other treatments is that it does not touch the skin, with no discomfort whatsoever and does not require body or skin manipulation.
After a brief consultation of how Zerona worked and of course the typical spiel of what wondrous results had been accomplished for former clients, I was ushered into a calming darkened room and lay on a comfortable table. My target areas were again measured and I was scheduled for 3 treatments. The contraption was set up to oscillate a few inches above my skin for approx. 20 minutes, then the staff member returned to flip me over to target my love handles and back.
And that was it. I was skeptical as to how infrared lights alone hovering over my skin, was to do anything, especially reduce inches and weight loss, and I was disappointed with the results. I did not notice visible changes and after my second treatment, I had actually added inches.
Staff consistently pushed a detoxifying drink supposedly to help reduce inches. However it was no different than drinking water with lemon juice. They did not take photos, so if there were changes I had nothing to compare to. Overall this was the least effective treatment.
The above treatments were in conjunction with a healthy eating plan, increased water consumption and at least a three times a week cardio exercise program. By no means is this a quick fix to lose weight and keep it off. Fat cells are reduced and you do lose inches; however, if you do not maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep up with an exercise regimen, you will put the weight back on.
In addition, you must remember that your inch loss is a cumulative total inch loss over several of your target areas. Measurements are taken of different spots on your body. So if you lose two inches, it may not be two inches off just your waist, but two inches overall from your hips, waist and back. It is also important to note that measurements are subjective, as you may have different people measuring you. The final comparison ends up not being very accurate.
We suggest that you insist that measurements be taken by the same person in the same places for accurate weight loss and inch loss tracking. Weight loss and inches vary for each individual and these treatments are ideal for anyone, including men who are looking to sculpt or loses inches in their own target areas.
For maximum results in a shorter period of time, go with VelaShape. It costs more, but we think you will be pleased with the results. If cost is a factor then by all means select Ultrasonic Body Contouring. It may take more treatments but you will see results. As for Zerona, I think it is a waste of time and money.