WHAT I TRIED The anti-cellulite cupping therapy, a massage technique started by the Chinese, has been perfected at the Elche day spa in Dubai. It uses a rubber suction cup instead of fingers to stimulate blood flow, creating more oxygen and eliminating any trapped toxins - all with the aim of reducing the bumpy areas on your bum, tum and thighs. WHAT I WANTED If I am honest, I'm not sure I care about the supposed "trapped toxins". I just want - well, what every women wants: thinner thighs. And anything that helps relieve that bloated look without requiring surgery sounds good to me.
WHAT HAPPENED I am asked to don the obligatory paper underpants and coated from my waist to my knees with a cream containing hibiscus extracts. It's packed full of alpha hydroxy acids, so good for stimulating blood circulation, and it has a natural peeling effect. To help this along, my therapist, Brigitta, uses a mechanical brush. It looks like one of those DIY gadgets you strip wallpaper with, but thankfully it feels a lot less harsh when applied to my flesh. Next is the algae gel with flecks of nettle, which is set in place with cling film. I look as if I am wearing a Lady Gaga ensemble. However, instead of the pavement, I am helped on to the massage bed and left for 15 minutes while the mask works its magic. It tingles, but Brigitta had warned me I would get a little warm. Boredom sinks in, but as I am hoping the horizontal slimming sessions are the way forward, I try to relax. When Brigitta returns, she helps me into the shower. The goo takes an age to wash off, but my skin feels soft and silky. A concoction of grapeseed and mandarin oil is layered on to my limbs, and the cupping starts. The cup suctions on contact with the skin and I feel as if I am being attacked by a giant leach. There is an intense numbness and I feel pretty uncomfortable, but once my skin starts to get used to the motion, I relax a little. After about 30 minutes, my upper legs have been vacuumed and (fingers crossed) honed.
THE VERDICT I imagined I'd sport sucker marks like the ones Gwynnie was spotted with, but the bits that had been treated, mainly the centre of my body, take on the colour of a cooked lobster - as if I'd spent 12 hours in the sun without any SPF. However, my skin feels smoother than ever and looks more toned and taut. My trousers feel pretty much the same (so alas, no dramatic weight loss), but muscle definition is improved and I am definitely less wobbly-looking than before. Pretty good results for not doing much for nearly two hours.
The anti-cellulite cupping therapy lasts two hours and costs Dh660 per session at Elche Ladies Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai. Call 04 349 4942 or visit @email:www.elche.ae. A course of seven treatments is recommended.