Cellulite is a fact of life that 95 percent of women must contend with, however hard they exercise or diet, and no matter how naturally skinny they are.
An anthropological explanation is that historically, women stayed in caves while their men hunted for days. The women’s bodies’ reaction to this was to store the fat in certain parts, notably in the femoral area (thighs), tummy, hips, buttocks, and down to the knees.
It seems that even after thousands of years of evolution, the body still thinks womankind burrows in caves, hopelessly waiting for the men to bring in the kill, such that fats in certain areas of the female body—particularly those lumpy, dimply, orange peel-like clusters called cellulite—resist burning. (And, by the way, however corpulent they become, men don’t develop cellulite.)
Modern medicine and technology propose varied solutions to this pesky female problem, though whether they work or not is contentious.
At Marie France, a leading weight-loss and slimming center, one of the suggested solutions is called edm+SLIM, the latest improvement on the previous Endermologie program the center began offering in 1998. Endermologie is the science of reactivating dormant cellular activity through mechanical stimulation that claims both therapeutic and cosmetic results.
It was developed in 1986 by a French company called LPG Systems, and has since been widely used in over 100 countries.
The new edm+SLIM machine, exclusive to Marie France, is also by LPG Systems. Connected to the machine are motorized rotating rollers that are applied on the skin to stimulate cellular activity.
Dr. Clelia Monteux, chief scientist of LPG Systems, who was in town to introduce edm+SLIM at the grand opening of Marie France in Eastwood (30/F, MDC 100 Building, Eastwood Ave., Libis, QC; tel. 8942639), said the machine is intended not just to get rid of cellulite, but also to “resculpt” figures damaged by liposuction and hormonal disorders, pregnancy and menopause (loose, sagging skin), as well as treat circulation problems and water retention.
“There are three components of cellulite: fat cells, water retention and fibrosis,” or the abnormal development of excess fibrous tissue as a result of inflammation, Monteux explained. “There’s also a genetic component. This technology can work on all those components.”
Edm+SLIM is simply pressure or mechanical stimulation, Monteux said. “With mechanical stimulation, you’re sending the skin surface a message to target cells, adipose sites and fibroblasts to improve their metabolism. You awaken the cells; for the fat cells, you improve the lipolysis, and for the fibroblasts, you improve the production of collagen and elastin.”
As bonus, it stimulates a reaction from the blood and lymphatic circulation, so the result isn’t simply aesthetic. In fact, the FDA approval is all about the therapeutic effects of the technology, according to Dr. Ariel Torres, medical director of Marie France.
“It works on the draining; you improve blood and lymphatic circulation,” he explained. “Lymphatic circulation is getting rid of the toxins. Unlike the veins and the arteries, the lymphatic are the small pathways. Unlike the heart, there’s no muscle involved, so in comatose patients we apply maneuvers so they don’t develop edema. When you try to promote lymphatic circulation, you’re helping the body.”
This is especially beneficial for pregnant women, who tend to get heavy legs as a result of the pregnancy. “You can do it to help circulation. It’s only for the legs, and not for a cosmetic purpose,” Monteux said.
Any patient age 18 and above is an ideal candidate for edm+SLIM, Monteux said. A patient is not asked to lose weight first before the treatment, unless she is obese or with a BMI of 30 and above, in which case a weight- and inch-loss program is advised.
Edm+SLIM is a contouring program with some inch-loss involved, Torres said. (While men don’t have cellulite, they could have localized fat that can be treated with this, he added.)
“What we’re against is when a patient is obese and won’t do anything to address the obesity but wants to do this,” he said. “It won’t get ideal results.”
“We recommend that they diet and exercise to improve results,” Monteux added.
Patients with preexisting conditions like diabetes and hypertension are okay to undergo the program, as long as their illnesses are under control. No-nos are patients with broken skin, vitiligo and autoimmune diseases. Skin must be intact; if a patient is sunburned, she is advised to return when the flaking disappears.
There’s zero discomfort with edm+SLIM, and there’s no downtime or special preparations before treatment, said Monteux. A full program is 10 sessions, with a maximum of three sessions a week at 35 minutes per session. Maintenance is once a month after that.
While therapists used to just estimate and memorize the amount of time it takes to work on an area, the improved machine has pre-programmed settings for specific problems and areas to be treated. The mechanical rollers now also have different speeds and maneuvers to target specified problems.
As for that unsightly cellulite, Torres said there are studies proving that regular treatments of up to 12 sessions increase sensitivity in the stubborn fats in the femoral region. They become more responsive, he said.
The realistic expectation: “You see an immediate effect on your circulation after the first session,” said Torres. “You see an effect on the skin quality. There’s no pain, no swelling, no skin reddening. You can do pretty much anything.”