Entering the Obagi MediSpa, it’s soon apparent that this is not your typical Saturday morning Zen spot where you escape from the kids or skive off the weekly shop. This place means business. Rather than aromatherapy candles and dimly-lit corridors, à la Shangri-La, it feels rather more like a doctor’s surgery and, as a result, the initial scepticism I’d felt at the idea of having my fat ‘massaged’ into retreat begins to wane.
Velashape, a new technology designed to reduce the appearance of cellulite and trim a few centimetres from the chosen area (I opt for the stomach) uses a combination of bi-polar radio frequency, infrared light, vacuum and mechanical massage to achieve results. Put simply, the device is akin to a super-strength vacuum cleaner with rotating wheels, which conjures up memories of the Chinese burns doled out in playgrounds.
Before the session begins, I’m required to fill in the usual forms, declaring myself free of any undesirable illnesses or ailments, before being led into the treatment room and measured. As I’ve chosen to focus on my midsection for the hour-long session, the measurements of my waist and hips are taken, and then it’s up onto the table.
After being slathered in moisturiser, the treatment begins. I’d been told it would feel like a deep-tissue massage. In reality, the sensation is akin to being bitten repeatedly by someone with no teeth. If you thought the old adage ‘no pain, no gain’ was tailored exclusively for the gym, think again.
What’s more, to keep off those precious centimetres (you can apparently lose up to 7.2cm), you’ll need to do this regularly. Obagi MediSpa advises clients to undergo four to six sessions on the same area for maximum results, but you’ll need to keep these up, too. It’s also worth noting this isn’t a quick-fix solution for the heavily overweight – after all, this is not billed as a weight-loss exercise, but a ‘skin-firming’ therapy, and I’m advised to include it in my regular, erm, gym-going routine.
After a painful 50 minutes, the therapist has pummelled 2cm off my hips, and 1cm from my waist. Was it worth it? I’m not convinced, and I’m left too tender over the next few days to even contemplate making this a part of my weekly routine.
Dhs1,200 for a 60-minute session, Dhs6,000 for six sessions. Obagi MediSpa, The Dubai Mall (04 339 7060)