Spa Junkie at... Julio Herrera

Pounded, pinched and pummelled: our covert reporter’s cellulite-busting ritual humiliation continues apace

Despite two bruise-inducing slapping sessions, Spa Junkie invites the “cellulite slayer” back for more...

Session three: Today, it’s back to the heavy pounding. Julio throws himself into the kneading, pulling and pushing – even breaking a sweat when he attacks a particularly stubborn pocket of fat on my left thigh. The blue plastic suction devices (it turns out that he has four in total, although only one is used at a time) come out in force again. The noise they emit as they make contact with my skin makes my stomach turn, but I am too distracted by the pain to pay much attention. Julio runs the cup up and down the backs of my thighs as if he is waxing a surfboard. I try to think of Hawaii and how much better I hope to look in a bikini once this process is finally over. My jeans are feeling looser. Something is happening to my thighs – they feel more toned and the soft wobble has diminished slightly. The three abdominal massages also appear to have made my tummy flatter.

Session four: Although the massage is never a pleasurable experience, I am becoming accustomed to Julio's puffing and pounding, and surrender to his expert touch. And what’s more, his method seems to be working. He measures me and I have dropped just over 0.5cm from my thighs and just over 1cm from my waist.

Session five: Despite necking copious amounts of arnica (something Julio recommended), the bruising on my skin is bad again, so Julio is gentle with me and focuses on the lymphatic drainage. When the treatment ends, he comments that my skin is looking smoother. Session six: The sound of slapping is so loud I am fearful that a passerby will stage an act of misguided bravery. My skin feels tender from the repeated thwacks and my legs hurt. In the evening I go out for dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant and request a pillow to sit on. Sessions seven, eight and nine: The ritual of slapping, pinching, cupping and bruising feels like Groundhog Day. I’ve stopped politely trying to contain my groans. Julio nods sympathetically. Session ten: Time for my final round of massage with Julio. I feel that my pain threshold has increased – and there is definitely less flesh to flagellate. At the end, he takes my measurements. My waist is 62cm, hips are 74cm and both thighs are 53cm. Julio encourages me to study the results in the mirror. The bottom line:

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While the treatment borders on the extreme, the end result is worth the pain if you’re looking for a new way to diminish the dreaded dimples. When I looked in the mirror immediately after my last session, although the bruises on my legs are unsightly, my cellulite was definitely less pronounced.

In the days that follow, the bruising subsides and I can definitely see some positive results: my skin looks smoother, the skin tone is even and, while not eradicated completely, my cellulite has definitely reduced.

The loss of 2cm on my waist, 4cm on my hips and 2cm from each thigh feels like quite an achievement – especially seeing as I haven’t done much more than lie on a massage bed. The bruising lasts for a week, however, so I strongly recommend taking arnica tablets for a week prior to and every day during the treatment, together with using a arnica topical treatment for bruising. I also advise having the massages in winter – you’ll want to cover up the bruising afterwards.

Julio advises having a session once a month. I wasn’t convinced initially that I could handle the pain but, like the masochist I fear I have become, I found myself booking in a top-up session. I hope to keep up the maintenance, particularly before my next beach holiday.

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