Spas are supposed to be relaxing, luxuriating experiences. I have personally never been to one, but from what I hear, you get pampered, massaged, relieve stress, and the like. You know what I didn’t know was a part of the spa experience here in New York, where I live? Being told you’re fat. And that if you’re a girl, you need to shrink.
Enter Bliss Spa, which has taken upon itself to let its patrons know exactly that. Bliss’ spokesperson eagerly explains their newest “healthy” treatment, known as — I kid you not — “FatGirlShrink.” Take a look here.
Let’s break this down, shall we?
First of all, I am certain that I’m not the only person who didn’t think that the model used in this video had any fat to lose. I’m also certain that I’m not the only person who wasn’t even remotely surprised by this.
Second of all, simply feeling stimulation on your stomach doesn’t actually mean that “something is working,” as we’re being told. Vibration may increase circulation, but you could also, you know, walk for those 60 minutes to increase circulation and heart health as opposed to lying motionless for an hour on a table.
If you go to Bliss’ web site, you get more of the nitty-gritty details. Here’s where things get even more interesting! Not sure where you need to lose the weight? Don’t worry, you can stand almost naked in front of a technician, and Bliss will measure you and tell you exactly where and how much you need to get rid of. Did you also notice that the treatment for women included thighs, buttocks, and abdomen, but that for men the treatment was only for the abdomen? I guess the ladies are just carrying so much more fat that they need three times the body area to be zapped. Lastly, since you basically should be trying to lose weight 24/7, they also have night creams that keep working on your fat self while you get some ZZZs.
Can’t get to the spa? (Or, more accurately for me, can’t afford the spa?) I was particularly amused by the amazing take-home FatGirlShrink “Six Pack Attack” treatment that they promote. It certainly is so much easier than sit-ups or crunches, as our TV host proclaims. But interestingly, while I’m sure Bliss agrees with that, they don’t actually want to be responsible when those “gentle pads and gentle stimulation” don’t… actually… work. The promo for the little tube of gel with “6 activating ingredients” will supposedly mimic the spa treatment (since the spa treatment probably does nothing, I guess the product does actually mimic it).
Notice anything interesting about the promo on the spa’s web site? Why, yes, you probably do — the purchase of three tummy toning treatments at the spa and the take-home bottle of goo, also gets you a gym pass! That’s right, you gain entrance to an ab-busting workout at a gym.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I really do — but I gotta tell you, when you see a difference in toning in your stomach area, it’s going to be because of the gym workout. It won’t be because you slathered goo on your midsection, were wrapped in a towel, and hooked up to some electrodes that vibrated for an hour. Thanks for this exceptionally de-stressing experience, Bliss spa.
Larkin Callaghan is an epidemiology and health communication fellow at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, where she also received her doctorate in Health Behavior and Education. She blogs regularly at her own site, I’m Not Tired Yet, about women’s and adolescent health issues.