Paul Wellman

There are many beautiful things about a woman’s body, but cellulite isn’t considered one of them. Although it is normal and natural for the female body to manifest the wee dimples of fatty deposits, females—and even teenagers—take drastic measures in the hopes of obliterating it.

But invasive plastic surgery such as liposuction can be dangerous, and doesn’t actually remove cellulite anyway. Enter endermologie. Long popular in Europe but still relatively unknown in the U.S., this technique—which received FDA approval in 1998—repairs the offending cells via a machine that massages the top layers of the skin where cellulite congregates.

In Santa Barbara, the only endermologie center, owned by Megan Simon, has been smoothing skin to a devoted following for the past six years. Simon and her sister Melanie learned of the treatment when helping their mother find alternatives to liposuction. During their research, they discovered endermologie.

The lipomassage machine was conceived in 1985 by Frenchman Louis-Paul Guitay after he experienced an injury that forced him to endure cervical spine rehabilitation. During the extensive rehab sessions, Guitay began designing a machine that could aid his therapist in the arduous, lengthy process of massaging the damaged tissues. The result was the Cellu M6. Though the treatment was initially designed to heal scars, burns, and damaged muscular tissue, a pleasant side-affect was the reduction of cellulite as well as inch loss.

Paul Wellman

Simon invited me to participate in a series of endermologie treatments so I could experience the procedure first-hand. But I had some questions: What causes cellulite and how exactly does this machine eradicate it?

“Women have an extra layer of fatty tissue called the subcutaneous fat layer; it harbors fat to bear children,” said Simon. “This layer is configured differently than the rest of our body’s fat layer. It consists of fat cells and a complex design of connective tissues that are structured like netting. As women age, lose circulation in certain areas (sitting down a lot) and build up toxins (due to diet), the connective tissues around the fat cells in the subcutaneous layer lose elasticity and become stiff. When fat cell size fluctuates due to weight gain, the surrounding connective tissue will tear instead of flexing and stretching. The tear of the tissue is viewed as an injury by your body; therefore the body sends water to the injury. This is the dimpled appearance we see on our legs and buttocks—water being drawn from the surface of the skin to the broken connective tissue.

“Lipomassage works simply by lifting the subcutaneous fat layer and vigorously massaging it,” Simon continued, “gradually restoring connective tissue elasticity and eradicating the body’s necessity to send water and create dimples. The deep grip and manipulation of the tissue also stimulates fat cell metabolism, actually breaking down fat. The result is a smoother surface and inch-loss in treated areas. The treatment feels like an intense massage, and it is a completely noninvasive procedure. There’s no surgery and no downtime—all you need to do is show up for consistent treatments.”

Sounded good to me. The mechanism looks a bit like something you’d see at the dentist office—a gangly-armed creature with motorized rollers that the therapist runs over the affected areas. With light suction, the rollers lift and massage your skin in a way impossible to achieve with human hands. The process is gentle and, since you must wear a special unitard-type suit to allow the rollers to roll and not pinch, it’s much more modest than a typical massage. It is, however, as relaxing—and effective.

About midway through the several-week treatment, I definitely noticed the tell-tale smoothing on my legs, in particular. I also noticed a reshaping of my thighs (i.e., thinning) had occurred even though I hadn’t lost any weight.

“It’s like packing a suitcase,” Simon explained. When you stuff your clothes in willy-nilly, your suitcase may close but can be lumpy (think “cottage cheese” dimples); when you fold those same items and place them in a tidy fashion, your suitcase closes easily, often with room to spare. Hence your body is reshaped due to the flushing out of toxins and water that collected in the damaged tissue.

Simon also offers spray tanning (I had her spray me twice) that does wonders for “disguising cellulite.” She is a pro, making the “tans” both realistic and subtle. Now, with my reshaped body, and smooth and glowing skin, I’m ready for summer.


Beautiful You,1805 E. Cabrillo Blvd., #B. For info, call 403-6056 or visit


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