Let me paint a picture for you: It’s 1945 and the ladies have gathered at the local “fitness” centre. They gossip, laugh and take turns wrapping themselves in a vibrating seat belt-like device that makes their bodies shake vigorously, all in the hope of losing weight. Sound familiar? I remember seeing that scene in movies, TV shows and online and laughing at the absurdity of it, but, shockingly enough (or not shocking at all?), the trend is currently experiencing a resurgence. The goal of the original vibrating belt actually makes sense: to stimulate muscles, increase circulation and aid in weight loss. Today we call it Body Shape Rolling and it’s pretty much what it sounds like; you use the pressure of a roller along your body to help attain your fitness goals. Studios are opening up in the UK and in the US, where clients straddle, lean on and hang off of professional–grade body rollers that incorporate infrared light therapy. The results are apparently stupefying, though I’m skeptical of any weight–loss program that doesn’t include exercise and diet. But the studios claim that body shape rolling alone can take inches off of your body.
The point of body shape rolling is to activate lymphatic drainage, which promotes weight loss, cellulite reduction and targeted body shaping. Add in infrared light therapy and your results are apparently maximized even further.
“Sorry, how does this giant rolling pin smooth out my doughy thighs,” you may be thinking?
Let me start from the beginning, to give you a better idea of how body shape rolling works. Your lymphatic system is a network of tissues, organs (your thymus, adenoids, tonsils, spleen), vessels, nodes, and lymph fluid, which contains white blood cells. This network helps your body fight infection, transport waste products, detox and keep fluids balanced. How does it aid weight loss and body shaping? Well, the vessels transport the lymph fluid through the body and the tissues collect waste material, passing it through the nodes, where viruses, bacteria and other harmful matter is filtered. The lymph fluid isn’t pumped by mechanical force, like, say, by the heart; instead, our muscles create the flow we need to move the lymph fluid. This means that if you’ve spent the weekend watching Netflix, drinking wine and eating chips, your lymphatic system is feeling pretty sluggish and is much less effective in moving the lymph fluid out of the tissues and through the vessels and nodes.
The point of the body shape roller is to activate lymphatic drainage, which promotes weight loss, cellulite reduction and targeted body shaping
Now, how does this internal process affect what’s happening to your outsides? Well, fewer toxins are cleared from your body, which translates to dull skin, blemishes and wrinkles. More fluid accumulates in the tissues, too, which leads to cellulite, puffy skin and swollen extremities. A well-functioning lymphatic system, however, clears toxins, promotes proper blood circulation, and eliminates excess fluid, which aids in weight loss. Enter the body shape roller, which kicks your lymphatic system into action.
Using a mechanical roller on your body directly stimulates your muscles and pushes the lymph fluid into your vessels, reducing cellulite and fluid buildup in the targeted area (this is why we see a decrease in circumference size). This muscle stimulation also helps speed up your metabolism, which can result in weight loss and improved circulation. So, essentially, the roller does all the physical work, and in the case of today’s rollers, studios claim, the infrared heat amplifies the results by up to 70%.
Sooooooooo, weight loss without the work is my takeaway of body shape rolling, yes? Which of course leads me to believe that it may be a little too good to be true. The science seems to make sense, but personally, I recommend coupling body shape rolling with actual physical exercise and healthy food choices for optimal results and heart health.