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April 22, 2008

New spa treatment promises a jolt of rejuvenation

You would never peg him for it, but Salem, N.H., resident Phil Consentino is cutting-edge when it comes to spa treatments.

He decided to try the ionithermie body-shaping treatment as soon as nearby Visage Skin Care and Day Spa started offering it in February, hoping to reduce his slightly protruding abdominal area.

"When you get older, your body changes with you. It's hard to accept," Consentino, 48, said. "I'd tried all different weight loss methods. I wasn't looking for a miracle, but this really is a technological breakthrough."

A French biochemist invented ionithermie roughly 25 years ago, but it's just now catching on in the United States. Positive and negative electrodes pass low levels of electrical stimuli through a conductive clay and algae mask applied to the target area, penetrating the upper layers of skin. Tackling cellulite head on, the treatment also aims to trim body mass inches, release trapped toxins, boost circulation and tone underlying muscles.

"It's not just a look-good treatment, it's a feel-good treatment," said Sandra Broussard, owner of Inner Essence Massage and Body Treatments in Londonderry, N.H. "My clients say they feel light and relaxed and healthier."

The promised results — lose up to 8 inches in overall body mass per treatment — can seem lofty to skeptics. Esthetician Lisa Sheehan said the results are real but completely based upon the individual's diet, exercise level and weight loss needs.

"We call it a wellness program because it goes hand-and-hand with what you eat, your fluid intake, workout routine," said Sheehan, who offers the treatment at Ioni Firm in Middleton and Skyy Salon and Spa in Salisbury. "The product detoxes the skin so it looks smoother and firmer."

It took Consentino six treatments to lose a total of 10 inches from his overall body mass — his waist going from 38 to 35 inches.

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