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Lose your love handles (in your lunch hour..); ...that's the claim made by one of a new wave of body-contouring wraps. So what's available if you fancy an easy way to firm yourself up and slim yourself down? By EMMA BANNISTER.

Byline: EMMA BANNISTER

The latest wave of no-effort beauty products claim to make looking good a complete doddle.

We can tan without the need for sunshine, plump our lips without any collagen and volumise our hair without a hairdresser.

But now manufacturers are taking on one of the beauty biggies - the stubborn body bits that refuse to look like that Athena poster tennis girl.

Body-contouring wraps have been on the menu for a while, but there are some new seriously out-there treatments to choose from.

And unlike putting yourself through an agonising gym routine, the only thing that's going to feel any pain is your purse.

To the uninitiated, these treatments may seem like paying good money to make yourself the centre of a stuffed vine leaf.

But if you're struggling with the dreaded I-hate-that-part-of-me syndrome, then it might be worth investing the pounds to kick-start the process of bashing the yucky bits.

Inevitably, a great emphasis is put on healthy eating and plenty of exercise in conjunction with these treatments, so slapped wrists to those who took the lift and not the stairs to their desk this morning.

Here, we take the wraps off four of the most popular new slimming aids...

Ice Cold Slimming

The lowdown Ice Cold Slimming is one of the ultimate cellulite and water-retention busters. As the name suggests, this traditional-looking wrap has a sting in its tail - namely, it reduces the temperature of localised areas of the body down to 7C. As your metabolism speeds up to try and get you warm again, the detox process is kick-started with a helping of marine algaes.

What you'll have to go through

"It's very effective but rather shocking - this is not a restful experience," is one customer's opinion. And you might need to pee afterwards. Tellingly, you can treat no more than two areas in each appointment to prevent any discomfort.

Shrink factor The pay-off comes with the results. Anything that was skin-tight before will feel comfortable, with some clients reportedly going down whole dress sizes after a course of treatments.

Price Ten sessions, with two treatments a week, are recommended. A session costs from pounds 22 to pounds 28.

Contact Matis beauty treatments are available in over 250 of the UK's leading beauty salons, spas and hotels. For stockists and mail order please call 01322-290101 or visit www.matis-uk.com

Hormeta's Body Wrap

The lowdown This body wrap also goes under the name The Instant Workout. Don't worry - there are no trips to the gym, just a very sweaty treatment which takes the word wrap quite literally. Its main aim is to induce sweating and, consequently, get rid of toxins. It's a great treatment for people wanting to kick-start a slimming programme and is also recommended for people suffering from water retention.

What you'll have to go through

Measurements are taken first and an exfoliating gel is used to slough away dead cells. Hormeta's Sudation Cream is then applied to induce sweating. To help things along you'll then step into a plastic body suit before being wrapped up in an electric blanket. The blanket has three different sections each with three settings so heat can be turned up depending on where you want most loss. You should lie wrapped for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Shrink factor Over a course of five treatments the average weight loss is reported to be between 7lbs and 10lbs. It would take quite a few laps around the park to match that.

Price Treatments last about an hour and start at pounds 39.95. A course of five is recommended with a top-up session after that every four to six weeks.

Contact Call 01142-666625

Hollywood Inch Loss Tan Spray

The lowdown It's so mad it must come from Hollywood. Celebs keen to look lean and golden are apparently reaching for the ultimate trimming spray, and now the Hollywood Inch Loss Tan Spray has arrived in the UK. It relies on the heat from a sunbed to open the pores and allow its cellulite-busting amino acids to penetrate the skin. It also contains collagen to oomph firmness and plenty of herbal extracts to soothe and calm the skin as you tan.

What you'll have to go through

Not much. Simply spray on all over and set the dial on the sunbed.

Shrink factor One bottle will last a minimum of three full body applications and you should lose between nine and 20 inches.

Price pounds 14.99 a bottle.

Contact Call 01582-655501 for stockists.

Ultrasonolipolysis

The lowdown You may never be able to get your tongue around its name, but here's how it works. Ultrasonic waves are sent through the fatty areas of the body causing the tissue to vibrate at a very high frequency. The theory is that, like apples from a tree, fat cells get shaken from their hidey-holes and float through the lymphatic system before being flushed away.

What you'll have to go through

A gel is placed on the area of skin to be treated. This acts as a protective barrier and helps the pads to stick to the skin. A Velcro wrap is then placed over the pads to ensure they stay in place while ultrasonic waves are passed through them. Don't worry, you won't feel like you're standing next to the speakers at Glastonbury - it's painless and non-invasive and most women report only a warm tingling sensation. Because the fat is expelled through the lymphatic drainage system, you'll need to drink like a fish during the treatment period. Three litres of water a day is recommended.

Shrink factor After an intensive 12 sessions booked over two weeks, French patients showed a weight loss of between 7lbs and 9lbs, with about a millimetre reduction on each thigh following each session.

Price One session costs pounds 55 but about 10 sessions are usually recommended.

Contact Call the Individual Well-being Clinic on 020-7730 7010.

Salon-free solutions

If going to a salon is too much bother you could always pop a pill or put on a patch.

The idea behind these is that they'll curb your appetite and burn your fat without any unpleasant side effects.

If you want to try one, check out Patch Contour, pounds 59, from skincare specialists Germaine De Capuccini, to be worn day and night on cellulitey areas. Call 01784-259988 for stockists.

Trimmers are purely herbal concoctions which claim to give the body energy - a result of the kola, ginseng root and lecithin content - while reducing the urge to shovel in food.

Their fat-burning science is called thermogenics, which the makers believe is a natural way to lose weight. Instead of storing calories as fat, your body burns them as heat and energy.

Trimmers are from Kaloss and cost pounds 35 for 150 capsules, which is about a month's supply. Call 01142-293120 for stockists. As with any weight-loss preparation, check with your doctor before taking them.

Oenobiol's body-remodelling pills also differ from past fat-grabbing tablets. The main ingredient Fitnol, a fatty acid, helps reduce the size of fat cells in the body, cutting down their mass.

The woman behind Oenobiol, Dr Marie Bejot, maintains that taking these tablets with a sensible diet and exercise plan avoids the yo-yo effect that normal dieting has on the body's metabolism.

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Title Annotation:M on Tuesday
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 2, 2002
Words:1219
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