The New Body Sculptors
Harper's Bazaar Malaysia|September 2017

Is an hour of (painful) bodywork the no-gym trick to getting slim? Emily Listfield investigates.

Emily Listfield
When it comes to losing inches, top models and fashion A-listers in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles have a new secret weapon—and it has nothing to do with exercise, liposuction, or starvation diets. They're all clamouring for appointments with the latest gurus of svelte, aka body sculptors, who use (very, very) deep massage to whittle waists, de-lump derrieres, and tone triceps.

The secret? It's all about your fascia, the connective tissue that forms a netting throughout your body to support and protect muscles and organs. Healthy fascia is pliable, but with age, injury, or lifestyle choices (from wearing high heels to doing high-impact exercise), the tissue can get stiff and form adhesions that doctors have long suspected can contribute to muscle pain. Body sculptors claim that tight fascia also traps fat, adding inches and preventing definition. While specific techniques vary, they share a belief that hands-on manipulation will loosen fascia, increasing blood flow and releasing fat cells so that they can be eliminated naturally. Not everyone is convinced, though. "There is no evidence that breaking up adhesions can reshape your body," says Dr. Charles Kim, a New York rehabilitation medicine specialist.

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