When Jennifer Aniston – the poster girl for looking incredible in your fifties (keep in mind that at 54 she’s the same age as Bette Davis was when she starred in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) - posted a compilation of her holiday snaps on her Instagram account this week, nestled among the bikini beach videos and carefree walks with friends in summer sandals was an image of the actress zipped in to a Body Ballancer lymphatic drainage body suit. Well, frankly, she can keep her exotic sandy locations, I want that suit!
I want it not just because of Jen but because I’ve tried it before and it’s a little piece of body makeover magic. Medical grade quality (originally developed to treat lymphoedema and lipodema), it’s excellent for boosting lymphatic drainage, reducing water retention and aiding the body in eliminating toxins and waste. It’s cumbersome – a large body suit that’s a little like the least stylish pair of ski salopettes you’ve ever seen, and comes with wires that attach to a main operating console which is a little under the size of your average in-flight carry-on bag minus the wheels.
Choose your program – there are various levels of intensity (it takes in the stomach area too), zip yourself in, and press go. Then a series of air pockets inflate and deflate at differing pressures moving around the body suit as if simulating a deep massage. It’s enjoyable and relaxing; I would often doze off whilst using mine even though the sound of the air pumping is not exactly quiet and a little respirator-like
You can choose the length of your treatment – I’d happily stay in for an hour or more; if you have an in-salon treatment (they are increasingly being incorporated into body massages as well as treatments in their own right) you’d sign up for a 45-minute session. Should you want to stop early simply switch it off and it deflates quickly. It isn’t uncomfortable, sweat-inducing, or remotely claustrophobic.
The catch: if you want your own it’s blasted expensive to buy at around £10,000 including VAT, but friends – especially those that live closely – often pool resources to buy on a shared usage basis. Otherwise, a salon treatment will cost from about £75-150.
Will it give you legs like Jen? Well, no. Mine, sadly, still look mine. But, it definitely works and legs, including ankles, look less puffy, cellulite looks less pimply, and the body feels lighter and freer. So although my pins are less than perfect at least I feel I’m heading towards their next Jeneration.