By Rose L. Thayer
Killeen Daily Herald
Weight loss can be an especially hot topic this time of year, as the dread of summer and swimsuits approaches.
Just in time, Ladies Fitness Workout Express in Harker Heights has debuted an infrared body wrap system that staff members say can make women one dress size smaller in the recommended six to eight sessions.
Maria Villarreal, owner of the fitness center, said it's a great way to get ready for big events.
"It helps kick off weight loss."
Ladies Fitness Workout Express claims to be the only business with this European technology in Central Texas.
Customers are wrapped in silicone bands around their arms, mid-section, hips and thighs.
"You look like a burrito," Villarreal joked.
The machine is then turned on and, for 30 to 45 minutes, heats the body using long and short infrared rays. According to promotional information, it increases blood circulation, detoxifies the body through a deeper sweat, improves heart health through a reduction of blood pressure and relieves joint pain and stiffness. It also can burn up to 1,200 calories in one session.
"It's also very relaxing when you're stressed," Villareal said. "We turn the lights down and turn on the sound machine. You can take a nap."
Villarreal also recommends customers do a 20-minute workout prior to the treatment to increase results, and drink plenty of water before and after sessions.
A 48-hour rest period is required between sessions. She also encourages a healthy diet.
Virginia Browning began using the body wrap system about a year ago, along with eating better and exercising more.
She loves it, she said, because it helped her cross a weight loss plateau, from a size 8 to a size 4 or 6. She lost almost 20 pounds.
"Within almost six weeks, I noticed it," she said. "Everybody else noticed it, too.
"It's really, really worth it."
Browning said she wasn't nervous to try the machine and finds it relaxing.
"It really good to get ready for summer because it tones and tightens you up."
Villarreal said it's not just women who come in to use the system. She often sees soldiers and police officers who come in before fitness tests and weigh-ins.
"One soldier told me he sweats more doing this than running," Villarreal said.
Doctors at Scott & White Hospital in Temple were unable to comment on the body wrap system, since they are unfamiliar with it, a spokesperson said, but Villarreal insists customers get a doctor's consent before trying it.
People with certain illnesses such as cancer, hypo- and hypertension, insulin-dependent diabetes and respiratory failure are discouraged from use.
Contact Rose L. Thayer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.