The initial treatment which is priced at $135 produces immediate results, though a series of five or 20 treatments at a cost of up to $2,500 a package produced better results. The idea of heat as a healing treatment is not new to either Chinese or Western medicine. In the slimming industry it is used as body wraps or applied in the form of hot mud and even chocolate.
But never before has the source of the heat actually been fire - one of the five natural elements on which traditional Chinese medicine is based. The treatment, which lasts for about 90 minutes, begins with a body scrub and a spa bath, followed by a painful massage in which the fatty area is pummeled and kneaded like bread dough. Next the skin is basted with a thin mud-like solution - a concoction of Chinese medicinal herbs.
The area is then wrapped in a cellophane wrap, covered with two wet towels and doused with alcohol and set alight. The patients are told to put up with the flames till it becomes unbearable. The longer a patient endures the treatment, the better will be the results, according to spa sources. The results of the treatment are yet to be proved scientifically.