Bliss Spa is a well-known resort in the United States. The operators claim to have found an innovative procedure to help patients lose weight. According to a spokesperson who applies the procedure, patients can lose weight by applying electric currents over their muscles.
The new treatment has been hailed as a revolutionary approach to promote weight loss. Rather than discouraging the patient from eating by manipulating his or her senses, the treatment (known as FatGirlShrink) is believed to promote weight gain directly by targeting excess water weight.
PHOTO: The new weight loss technique, which claims to remove inches within minutes, stimulates muscles through electrical currents and gets rid of water weight (source).
The procedure uses a solution mixed from red algae and guarana. The solution is applied from the upper back down to the knees. After the solution is rubbed on the subject’s body, the staff places a clay mask on specific problem areas. Clay is a good conductor of electricity, so the electric shocks are easily carried across the body. Practitioners claim the process stimulates muscles and improves circulation. Both of these procedures help eliminate excess water.
PHOTO: Clay, a good conductor of electricity, mediates the electrical pulse accross the body (source)
Bliss Spa offers the treatment for $180 at its offices in Florida and New York. The company cautions that the treatment is not intended to be a long-term solution.
History of EMS Treatments
This isn’t the first time researchers have tried using electric shocks to help patients lose weight. The Blue Spa is trying to emulate a process that was developed nearly 60 years ago. Many people had a difficult time making the lifestyle changes needed to encourage weight loss. Scientists looked for a solution that could help patients lose weight without having to increase activity or diet more.
A study published in The Journal of Physiology found that electric stimulus could change muscle structure and composition. Researchers hypothesized that they could also use this approach to help patients lose weight. They developed a series of devices aimed at that purpose. This included whole body vibration machines. These machines were found to have some benefit, but they required to undergo some form of stress.
Transcend Implantable Gastric Stimulator was developed in 2004. This device was developed as a substitute for bariatric surgery. The implantable gastric stimulator works by sending electric volts into the stomach wall to trick the patient into thinking they aren’t hungry still.
The treatment is claimed to be a breakthrough in the battle to help people lose weight. However, many people wonder if the procedure will really work.
Skepticism Among Experts
Some skeptics argue that patients won’t even receive any short term benefits from this treatment. Patients gain weight from subconscious decisions and want to lose weight just as effortlessly.
Francie M. Berg is the founder of the Healthy Weight Network. As a well-respected nutritionist, Berg has consistently warned patients from participating in any fad diet. Berg said that even many highly intelligent people are tempted to try EMS and other fad diets. Eight years ago Berg told Medicine Net that people shouldn’t waste their time on toning tables and other machines. They need to be prepared to work hard if they intend to lose weight.
According to Gary Calabrese, a physical therapist in Ohio, FatShrinkGirl is just another fad solution to the obesity epidemic. Calabrese and his colleagues argue that there is no evidence showing any product can help patients lose weight. He said that these devices can be effective aids for patients looking to lose weight, but patients still need to put some effort into the process. The only way Calabrese has found electrostimulation devices effective has been to encourage patients to exercise. His argument is supported by a study by a team of Belgium researchers who found the procedure was ineffective if it didn’t encourage patients to become more active.
The electrical muscle stimulation machines used in the 1950s were not found to be particularly effective. Without any evidence to the contrary, many experts will likely be skeptical of the new treatment.
Will These Treatments Catch On?
Despite objections from skeptics, a number of practitioners have found the treatment to be very effective for their patients. Experts from Beverly Hills to Romania have started developing their own electric shock treatments to help people lose weight.
This treatment may become increasingly popular in the near future. Many Americans shun exercise and don’t want to commit to a long-term diet. Most Americans also don’t have $20,000 or more to pay for bariatric surgery. They are looking for a fast and affordable solution that will help them lose weight. Unless new evidence is released to show that EMS treatments don’t help patients lose weight, many patients are likely to find electric shock treatment an appealing way to lose weight.
Kalen Smith is a health, diet and paleo lifestyle blogger. He is also the cofounder of the Great Paleo Diet Cookbook blog.