Losing inches and pounds

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It is the way of the 21st century - We want it now, now, now, especially when it comes to our bodies.

Judy Cottrell is a firm believer in firming up.  She has been using Slender Wrap for years.  "My husband and I take a honeymoon trip one weekend each month and if that trip is going to a location where I think I will be spending a lot of time in a swim suit or cocktail dress, I go running to slender wrap," said Cottrell.

She says during the hour long process you look like you are headed to a Halloween party.  "You get wrapped like a mummy, truly like a mummy. And, the girl who wraps there, I mean, you have to hold on because she wraps very tight."

Tanya Dias is very passionate about her job. She has worked for Slender Wrap for nine years.

"How this wrap compares to other wraps is that it is not dehydrating you.  It is an exchange.  We take out those impurities and toxins that are underneath the skin and exchange it with the minerals. We use the same exact minerals as a good multi-vitamin," explained Dias.

Cottrell says, "The shorts or jeans that I wear in do fit a little looser when I leave."

Slender Wrap claims that you are not just loosing water weight. In fact, Slender Wrap says you are not losing weight at all - just inches.

The inventor of Slender Wrap says she had a bad experience with a dehydration wrap and developed the mineral wrap an alternative. "And, she got really sick. So, she looked into doing a healthy process of still being beautiful and not hurting yourself in the process of a dehydration wrap. So she came up with the Victoria Morton mineral body wrap," said Dias.

The wrap process takes about an hour and a half.  Once the wrap is on, you lightly exercise on a glider, which Slender Wrap says will keep your pores open, allowing minerals to go in and toxins out.

Three years ago, Misty Floyd went to Slender Wrap after she had a baby, "I really went in with low expectations, because I thought this is just another thing that everybody is trying to promote. If it works it works, if it doesn't, it doesn't."  She says they measured at different spots across her body before and after the wrap. She says she lost inches from her body immediately after the treatment.

Slender Wrap employees say they have seen a client or two unsatisfied with the process, but they believe it is because the client came in expecting too much.  Dias said, "We are not plastic surgery, we are not doing a miracle.  It does not take you an hour to get the way you are and it is not going to take an hour for it to come off the right way."

They guarantee in just one visit you will lose 18 inches.  When they calculate inches, they do it by taking many measurements from all over the body, on the arms, the legs and the torso and add them together to get a large number.  The measured places are marked and re-measured after the wrap is removed. But, it is difficult to know what results a typical consumer might experience.

A medical professional had this to say, "If there was a measurable difference, it has to be fluid.  You cannot exchange tissue," said FNP Tonya Cain, "You may not be in a clinically dehydrated state, but they would have to dehydrate that tissue."

If you have a little more time to tuck the tummy, there is FormoStar.  The company says changes in your body can be seen after a few treatments, but ask that you give it three months to work.

Sarah Burton not only works with FormoStar, she also uses it. "It is almost one of those things that where you believe it's going to be another bogus treatment," said Burton.

Carla Plazas, owner of New Life Tanning, said she understands when people are skeptical because she was too, at first. "I am skeptical by nature. I just do not want to offer anything to my clients that I do not really believe in because it is my reputation, my name on that product. I did a lot of research on it.  I 'Google' searched it. I was 'Google' searching FormoStar and infrared heat and finding out all the pro's and con's and everything that people were saying about it was overwhelmingly positive," said Plazas.

Six infrared pads are placed over the body. Each session takes an hour.  And, they say 1200 calories are burned in one sitting.  Clients are only allowed to do it three times a week.  FormoStar said the body must have time to release the heat from the system.

Linda McDonald is a FormoStar client, she explained, "It is literally heating up your blood. You can feel it evenly distributed and you get to these points and it is hot, but it is so worth it."

Plazas said, "It tends to thin out the blood somewhat, allowing blood flow to the outer layers of skin.  That is the reason it does so well with cellulite, its getting blood flow out to those outer layers and that infrared heat is helping to break up those fat cells."

FormoStar did not provide any scientific evidence for its 1200-calorie claim, and it is not clear whether there is any basis for it at all.

The Federal Trade Commission reported that most of the experts it polled believed that "given the current state of scientific knowledge, no . . . wrap [or other non-medical treatment] would cause users to lose weight without reducing caloric intake and/or increasing physical activity."  The FTC also says that "There's nothing you can wear or apply to your skin that will cause you to lose weight."

"It would be difficult to say that would accelerate weight loss that much independently. And, I would not think that you could heat the body to lost 1200 calories in a set time frame," said Cain.

The FTC said that most people can expect to lose about a pound of weight each week.  They said most people can do that by "cutting about 500 calories a day from your diet, eating a variety of nutritious foods, and exercising regularly."

More information can be found on the FTC's "red flag" website, which describes the FTC's efforts to combat what it calls "bogus" weight loss claims, click here.

Also, always make sure you ask your doctor before using or starting any treatment.

In the interest of full disclosure, one of the businesses featured does advertise with WTVM, but that did not influence our coverage in any way.

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