Does it Work? Unsure if the latest product or service lives up to it's claims? From popular products to the latest scams, discuss it here before you buy!

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Old 12-20-2004, 06:23 PM   #1  
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So here's some info for ya'll. The tanning salon I've signed up with here offers something called the Formostar Infrared Body Wrap. Now I don't know if this is hype or a blessing. But I have an appointment Wednesday and will let you know.

Now this Formostar advertises:

Remove fat without surgery or diets.
Lose inches of fat
Smooth Cellulite
Soften, tighten & rejuvenate skin
Body shaping
Stretch mark reduction
Plus more.

They wrap you in some material that delivers "infrared heat twice as deep as other heat sources" for 50 minutes. It says you can burn up to 1200 calories in one 50 minute session. The gal said she'd recommend 2 sessions for me to get the results I'm looking for. It says you can achieve results after just a single session though.

Too much to hope for that it will tighten up some of the looseness and help with the stretch marks, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old 12-20-2004, 06:56 PM   #2  
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I wouldn't expect much - all that bodywraps do is suck out water temporarily. You aren't burning calories - you're getting dehydrated.

Jockeys do this all the time to sweat off pounds so they can 'make weight'. However, once the race day is over and they drink some water...the weight comes right back that night. I just finished reading Gary Stevens' (one of the top jockeys who was also one of the stars of the movie Seabiscuit) biography and he mentioned that he hits the "hot box" every single day. (The book Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand also goes into quite lengthy detail on what jockeys did to lose pounds.)

For example - here's a case that happened right here in my neck o' the woods:

SANTA ANA – May 30, 2003 – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office have settled a civil lawsuit against Cos-Medical, Inc. and Cos-Medical International, Inc. The complaint was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court in November 2002 and alleges that the defendants violated California Weight Loss Contract law and made misleading claims about the effectiveness of programs and products, and the profitability of licensing and distributor agreements.

The defendants consented to entry of the final judgment, which was signed by Judge William J. Elfving, and includes injunctive provisions, civil penalties of $40,000, and restitution to eligible customers.

The injunctive provisions prohibit defendants from using contracts that do not comply with the Weight Loss Contract law.

The law requires that a written contract be given to the customer upon signing which includes full disclosure of the right to cancel within 3 days for any reason and the right to cancel in the event of death, disability or relocation.

The judgment prohibits the making of untrue or misleading statements, including the following:

* that a consumer will lose 5-10 inches per treatment, without disclosing that inch loss is based on a total body measurement which is the sum of many measurements over the body

* that the body wrap treatment shrinks or dissolves fat deposits, unless that claim is substantiated by adequate scientific evidence

* using testimonials that are not representative of what consumers generally will achieve, unless it discloses the limited applicability of the endorser’s experience

* making specific comparative claims about the efficacy of its products and services with competitors’ without adequate substantiation

* misrepresenting the size and stature of the corporations and the profitability of licensing opportunities

Customers who signed body wraps or weight loss contracts that did not comply with state law have the right to cancel those contracts and to request a refund for services or goods not received under the contract.
And from Tom Venuto's site:

Dear Tom,

What's the deal with "body wraps"? Do they really shrink fat cells or this just another weight loss scam?

Body wraps do not shrink fat cells or burn body fat - no matter what type of wrap: bandages soaked in herbs or minerals, plastic, foil, vinyl, seaweed, clay, mud - it doesn't matter, body wraps don't burn fat.

Fat can only be lost through a caloric deficit from a reduction in food intake, an increase in activity or ideally, a combination of both.

Whenever you see fat loss claims for wraps or any other weight loss product which doesn't involve diet or exercise, you could certainly call that a "scam" and you should always steer clear, no matter how compelling the sales pitch.

Furthermore, the company making these claims would be in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTS) if they were investigated because claims for fat loss from wraps cannot be supported with scientific evidence.

The FTC as well as various state attourney general's offices have taken action against body wrap companies in the past for false advertsing and unsupported claims. Some simply had to stop making false claims, others had to pay stiff fines.

Suppose this claim is made in an advertisement:

* Lose Up To 15 inches in 1 Hour! *

This is legal advertising because the claim "lose inches" might be supportable, however the claim is misleading because "inches" is not the same as body fat.

Contrast that claim with this one:

*Lose body Fat Without Dieting in 1 Hour!*

This claim is false and usupportable. Again, body wraps cannot burn fat or "shrink fat cells", and fat cannot be lost that quickly anyway. If fat loss could be achieved with body wraps it would be very easy to test and prove.

Body composition testing (rather than measurements of inches) could be performed before and after the wrap, and the answer ("does it work") would become glaringly apparent. Since it doesn't work, you won't find any wrap people eager to do body composition testing, nor will you find a shred of scientific evidence showing loss of body fat from wraps.

Unfortunately, bogus fat loss claims are still quite widespread, as a simple Internet search for "body wrap" will demonstrate. The most frequently used claims however, are for loss of "inches." The inches lost simply come from loss of fluid. And guess what - those inches (and or water weight) will come right back in days if not hours, as soon as you completely re-hydrate yourself.

Other claims made for body wraps include detoxification, improved cirulation and tighter, smoother and clearer skin. These claims are debatable. Most health and fitness researchers, as well as government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will tell you these claims are a bunch of pseudoscientific gobblydegook. Some experts even warn that certain types of wraps can be dangerous, mainly due to the excessive fluid loss/dehydration.

So, if you want to get "mummified" because you find it relaxing or you consider it a "pampering", "spa-like" treatment, that's one thing. But wraps have absolutely nothing to do with fat loss and I'd suggest completely avoiding any companies that advertise such claims, because a dishonest company is one you don't want to patronize.
And another:

Wrapped in Promises
Body Wraps Come With Strings Attached

NEW YORK, July 26 — Body wrap spas offer the allure of shedding inches off your waistline and are an increasingly popular beauty procedure. But critics say the only thing you're guaranteed to lose is money.

Consumer correspondent Greg Hunter found the mummy-like procedure might not live up to its promises. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration Web site says body wraps can be dangerous.

One spa that offers the body wraps, Suddenly Slender Body Wraps, boasts that body wrappers can get a trimmer body by getting it wrapped with bandages soaked in minerals. Its ads guarantee that body-wrapped patrons will lose 6 to 20 inches from various body measurements in their first one-hour wrap.

"It's not uncommon to take someone down a dress size or two in two weeks," said Victoria Morton, who founded Suddenly Slender and says she has 1,300 franchises worldwide. But experts say the wraps can cause severe dehydration and circulatory problems.

"It's all pseudoscientific gobbledygook," said Dr. Victor Herbert, a doctor at Mt. Sinai Veterans Research Center who is also on the board of Quackwatch, an organization that debunks false medical claims. He says any weight loss that results from getting a body wrap is temporary, because it is water loss.

Doctor Claims Wraps Dehydrate

"Be 6 to 20 inches slimmer today by dehydrating yourself? Sure," Herbert said. "And you can also kill yourself … because you can throw somebody into what we call hypovolemic shock. That's low blood volume shock by dehydrating you."

But Morton insists the wraps do not just remove water.

"It's the waste! The stuff that builds up in the body and makes us old and makes us tired and quite frankly, makes us sick," she said.

One of Morton's operations came under legal scrutiny several years ago. In 1998, the Texas Attorney General's office said that one of Morton's Texas franchises made false and misleading representations. Morton agreed not to make unsubstantiated medical claims, and paid a $35,000 fine to the state of Texas, without admitting any wrongdoing.

Ann Schmid, a Good Morning America intern, and Cheri Knoy, a tourist from Plano, Texas, volunteered to test the wraps for Good Morning America's investigation.

At her New York City location, Morton demonstrated how a body wrap is supposed to work on Schmid and Knoy.

Schmid and Knoy were wrapped up like mummies, and danced to a Richard Simmons video as part of the exercise portion of the wrap. While wrapped, they were told to tighten their muscles.

'Special Formula' Does the Trick

"Pull your stomach in hard," Morton instructed the body-wrapped patrons. She says the wraps are soaked in a secret mineral solution.

"It is the formula, the Suddenly Slender formula, that makes this work," Morton said.

Both Schmid and Knoy were worried that wrapping their bodies so tightly they could be risking their health. But Morton assures her clients there is no need to worry, and a week after the wrap, both Schmid and Knoy were fine.

Morton claims she has done millions of wraps without any problems and denies there is a health risk.

"This not only does not dehydrate you, it will re-hydrate someone who is dehydrated. It's good for you," Morton said. "This is a safe … non-invasive [procedure] and I've wrapped babies."

Morton's clients must exercise for an hour while tightly wrapped. Bags on the hands and feet fill up with liquid and are emptied repeatedly.

Morton took before and after measurements and claims both and Schmid and Knoy lost at least 6 inches each. She says the initial inches lost during the hourlong body wrap will stay off, provided the body-wrapped patrons participate in a diet and exercise program that she provides.

A Matter of Inches

Morton says Schmid lost almost 3 inches from her waist. But after looking at the videotape, Hunter found a big discrepancy: the before measurement was taken just above Schmid's belly button. The after measurement was taken several inches above.

The next day she went back to Suddenly Slender to have them remeasure, and there was no change in Schmid's waistline.

Also, looking closely at some of the before measurements on videotape, Hunter found that Morton measures with her finger behind the tape, creating slack and a bigger measurement. On the after measurements, Morton's finger is above the tape, and it is pulled tightly, so the measurement is smaller.

Morton refused to comment on the measurements, and the owner of the New York franchise, Liz Adams of New York Body Wraps, accused Hunter of playing games with the measurements.

Meanwhile, the body wrap volunteers questioned the wraps' effectiveness.

"She said I lost 3 extra inches in my waist," Schmid said. "But there's definitely not 3 extra inches in my skirt. It's not falling down. It's still sitting nicely up on my waist."

Knoy believed she may have lost a couple of inches, but wasn't sure.

"I'm wearing a dress. It's hard to tell," she said. Body Wraps says they have plenty of satisfied customers who have lost inches off their waists.

But Dr. Herbert says any weight loss is temporary, and the only thing customers will surely lose is the $125 they paid for the wrap. Those who get body wraps take a risk. The only way to lose inches, he says, is through diet and exercise.
Do we see a pattern here...?

How about one more...?

The Cellulite and Body Wrap Scam
Written by: Dr. Stephen Barrett

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.

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.
Please DON'T think I'm trying to attack you. Frankly, I'm ticked that your salon would promote body wraps the way you said! IMO, any reputable salon or esthetician would NOT promote in this manner. My esthetician (who has been in business since 1974) refuses to even offer body wraps - even as a solution to, say, get into a dress for a wedding. She thinks they're a waste of money.

I hate to see you waste your think that this will be a 'cure' for loose skin. It's very, very temporary and what your salon is promising equates to out-and-out FRAUD.

I know what the people who promote/sell this 'system' will retort with 'oh, those are all old hat, but OURS is NEWER and BETTER'. I found the "clinical study" available on the company's website quite flaky to say the least...I'm sure the company knows that very few people will actually READ the study - they'll just say "but they have a study showing that it's effective"! Interestingly (and not surprisingly) the website spends far more time promoting the 'profit potential' for any salon that buys the 'system'.

I had to supress a chuckle at the website stating one of the benefits as a "Passive Cardiovascular Conditioning Effect". Didn't we already go through this a couple years ago with those electric ab belts to know that doesn't work? And of course, heat helps ease pain from arthritis, muscle spasms etc, but I have medical insurance and can go get a REAL treatment from an actual qualified person - and just be out of pocket my $10.00 copay.

As John Stossel would say..."Gimme a break"...

If you MUST experience a body wrap - just get some Preparation H, rub it all over, wrap yourself in Ace bandages and Saran Wrap, and get into a sauna. Oh, and be sure not to drink anything...
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Old 12-20-2004, 08:05 PM   #3  
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LOL The only reason I'm doing it is that it won't cost me anything. I pay for a 15 month membership for unlimited tans. That also gives me lotions at half price, and these wraps as well as some other things they offer.

And I'm not concerned with losing any weight, but hoping that it will help the loose skin areas to tighten up and/or reduce the stretch marks. I figure it wouldn't hurt to try it. I go in every other day for a tan right now anyway. During our move, haven't been tanning and just signed up at this place. I go every other day til I get back up to speed then drop down to once a week or so maintenance.
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:50 PM   #4  
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So, how'd it go?
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