By Gillie Easdon
Months ago I felt like I was being followed around the streets
of Victoria at very close quarters. It was unnerving and uncomfortable. I spun
on my heels to identify the perpetrator and realized that my own behind was
My first instinct was a modicum of self-deprecation, which gave
way to a somewhat maternal comforting and mild reproach for my initial flood of
self-deprecation. Appalled and mildly distressed, I started running, butt in
tow, four times a week.
A week later I ran into Jeremy Cordle, an old classmate of
mine. I had not seen him in years. We said our hellos, he handed me his card,
and then went on his way. His business card read, “Esteem Treatments”. He was
listed as both co-owner and therapist. As a general nice guy and past Canadian
national rugby player, I associated this title with life coaching,
team-builders or a dynamic counseling/athletics combination in kind with this
hybrid era of yogalates, kayakercise, etc. I very much looked forward to
catching up and learning more about this enterprise.
The next day, after a run with my butt, I read the back of the
business card: “Eurowave Inch Loss and Muscle Toning, Slenderquest Body Wrap,
Hartur Ultrasound Cellulite Removal.” Stunned, I dropped the card into my
coffee. I then plucked the card from the coffee, wiped it on my pants, and
reread it slowly, carefully. The clash of fact and my own presumption baffled
me. I had immediately exclusively associated “esteem” with inner workings,
nothing physical, appearance-oriented or (gasp) cosmetic. And, well, the titles
of the treatments just seemed so, well, infomercial, so junk e-mail, so
National Enquirer. But how could this be? Jeremy would not do some sham
business. I was curious, but guarded.
Over the following days I found myself mulling over my own
relationship with esteem as it influenced or was influenced by my physical
appearance. Bad hair days, fat days, PMS pimples, bloating, and just plain ugly
days. Yep. My esteem of myself with respect to certain facets of my life was
indeed inextricably linked to the physical. As a female in this here day and
age, I was fascinated by the naivety of my initial assumptions. I consulted the
dictionary for further clarification:
1: the condition of being honored
(esteemed or respected or well regarded); “it is held in esteem”; “a man who
has earned high regard” [syn: regard, respect] [ant: disesteem] 2: a feeling of
delighted approval and liking [syn: admiration] 3: an attitude of admiration or
esteem; “she lost all respect for him” [syn: respect, regard] [ant: disrespect]
v 1: regard highly; think much of; “I respect his judgment”; “We prize his
creativity” [syn: respect, value, prize, prise] [ant: disrespect] 2: look on as
or consider; “she looked on this affair as a joke”; “He thinks of himself as a
brilliant musician”; “He is reputed to be intelligent” [syn: think of, repute,
regard as, look upon, look on, take to be]
The concept of an esteem treatment then might suggest that the
procedures enhance respect, admiration, etc. Satisfied with this assessment of
my nomenclature of the name of the business, I was still stumped by the sheer
disdain I held for the idea of the fast fix treatments. It seemed like
cheating. Would they work? Could I revise my own bias into possibly accepting
that these contraptions accelerate fitness and physical improvement? Would they
work? Would I turn up my nose? Was this equipment a more finely tuned
treadmill, stairmaster, vitamin…. Would they work?
My instinct led me to trust my old schoolmate, to delve into
this seemingly improbable world and to suspend my bias for a day. I called
Jeremy and set up a trial for Eurowave, the “no workout workout” and the Hartur
Ultrasound Cellulite Removal.
I spent the week leading up to my treatments regretting my
decision. I was filled with dread. I winced at the thought of an old classmate
rigging me up to electro shock, or becoming acquainted with my cellulite. I was
in a constant shake-head state.
Perusing the website, I gathered that I would have metal plates
strapped to my stomach, and then electric shocks would course deep into my
muscles. Fifteen minutes equals 48 hours of nonstop gym exercise. It actually
sounded pretty good, although my dreams were laden with cattle prods, singed
hair smell and excerpts from “Brazil”.
My queasiness for Eurowave did not hold a candle to my PR-TSD
(Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder) regarding Hartur Ultrasound. The idea of having
Jeremy, a very male high school friend, check out and deal with my cellulite
was mortifying. I did not even say the word “cellulite”. Not that I had much. I
did not; but I did have some. Just thought I would clarify that…. I did not
really look at it. It seemed not to exist then, somehow. I did not own it.
I kept the appointment. I would be strong and probably a better
person for dealing with these demons. After all, this was just research to
quench a perverse curiosity.
D-Day. I woke up. I went for a run. Jen and I usually swap
dreams and natter through the darkness of Dallas Road. “So, today is the day
you are getting zapped by Jeremy. Yes?” She chuckled.
I clenched my jaw, um-hummed and quickly asked if she had slept
well. Try as I might, I could not focus on her reply. My blinders were well
fastened. I did not like her, one of my best friends, very much that morning.
Esteem Treatments was tucked away on the second floor of a
small medical building on the corner of Cook Street and Pandora Avenue in
Victoria,. Upon arrival I was pleased that it was not housed with a glass front
and huge neon signs saying “Loose in the caboose? Ironing your panties in the
The reception area was well thought-out, relaxing and simple.
The lighting was soft and chilled out music was playing. Alana Wilkie, Jeremy’s
partner and co-owner/therapist greeted me warmly at the front desk. I sat at
the edge of the sofa and flipped quickly through health and fashion magazines.
Then Jeremy appeared. I smiled nervously and said hello. He grinned and
escorted me in.
He led me into the Eurowave room and asked how I was doing. I
told him I was not looking forward to this at all. He laughed. I felt a little
He explained that the machine was totally safe, the treatment
well-respected and legal in Olympic training. Eurowave penetrates the deepest
part of the muscle to get a full muscle contraction. This leads to inch loss,
muscle tone and core strength. Jeremy explained that an 18-minute session of
Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) can be the equivalent of 300 perfect sit-ups.
EMS was developed in the 1970s to reshape astronauts’ muscles
upon return from outer space. The technology was used by Bruce Lee. Jeremy’s
zeal was infectious and I found myself at ease.
Once my measurements had been taken Jeremy strapped me in. Warm
wet sponges encased metal bars that would conduct the electric current. Esteem
Treatments guaranteed an inch loss overall in the first session. Sweet.
My “work to earn it” dogma seemed to be melting with that
promised inch. I had a quick flashback of the guy I was strapped to on an
adrenaline-blissed out tandem skydive over the Great Barrier Reef. His
demeanour had facilitated and enhanced a potentially gut-churning experience.
Jeremy was equally competent in guiding me into another uncharted land.
Initially, Eurowave felt like a small feather glossing across
the inside of the muscle, then the sensation expanded and deepened to a fairly
fierce vibration. It was weird. It felt like a hand massager lodged firmly on
the stomach muscles, but encased within my body. It works deeper on the weaker
I felt like a marionette. The string at the left side of my
abdomen (the weaker side) kept jerking. It was a little creepy.
creates a huge
demand on the muscles, thereby necessitating the use of fats around the muscle
to satisfy the need. It also assists in increasing the metabolic rate.
I survived the first treatment, and through the 18 minutes
found myself enjoying the unusual sensation of feeling my body from the
inside-out. Jeremy re-measured me. Overall, I lost an inch. I was surprised,
but pleased. Bruce Lee, Neil Armstrong and the Olympics were on my side in less
than an hour.
Next came the cellulite treatment. Another room, ambience
equally soothing. However, it was a marvel how one can flip from relaxed to
stressed out at warp speed. In my knickers, I had to show Jeremy my legs “back
there”. His professionalism and unperturbed attitude dispersed the
embarrassment I had anticipated.
Next I was on my stomach on the table with a chilly gel
slathered on the backs of my gams and the Hartur Ultrasound breaking down the
“rigid toxin” around the fat cells.
During the treatment, Jeremy talked me through the session. The
irony of a male national rugby player educating Her Girliness on cellulite was
sharp. Cellulite has nothing to do with fat and thin, it is about lifestyle. It
is a result of years of pop, processed food and medications. It is also
influenced by genetic disposition and circulation. Eighty per cent of women
The treatment was easy, and relaxing. After the ultrasound a
deep tissue intense massage sought to break down the cellulite. You could
actually hear the cellulite bits pop. Jeremy was visibly rapt with the
efficiency of the treatment. Then I was done for the day. We scheduled my next
appointment for a week later, and I went on my way.
The next day my body felt more toned, and for all the sit-ups
my stomach may have thought it had done, I was not sore at all. I found myself
more aware of my posture, leaning habits and slouching that all contributed to
my weaker left side. I felt balanced and enjoyed the heightened consciousness
of my physical body. Revealing my cellulite in a professional environment also
led me to somehow admitting, to myself, that perhaps… it was there, a part of
me. It was liberating.
Not that there was much, you hear?
Over the following weeks I visited Jeremy six times. More metal
bars were added or subtracted, depending on my sensitivity. Although the Eurowave
sensation continued to be best described as “weird”, I found myself looking
forward to the sensation. It seemed that the left side had started to
strengthen a bit, to come into balance with the right from a mix of Eurowave, a
mess of yoga, running as well as strength training.
Jeremy stressed that Eurowave could be a valuable addition to
an exercise program. It should not replace, but complement and ultimately
accelerate fitness progress.
A few treatments later, I experienced the Platinum Energy
System, a detoxifying foot spa treatment that: “merges the healing properties
of hydrotherapy, sweating and reflexology.” This technology eliminates toxins
from the entire body though the 2,000 eccrine sweat glands in your feet. It
allows the toxins to leach from the body and brings the body back to a more
balanced, alkaline state. An “electronic ‘array’ consists of two polarized
electrodes. When this is placed in warm water… it creates a magnetic field.”
This all sounded very convoluted for the non-science-minded.
What really happened was that Jeremy placed my feet in clear water, and over
the following 30 minutes, the little party demons that were being exorcised
turned the tub into a cesspool of murky swamp water. Dark brown with oily
silver sheen little oil slick floaties, if you wanted a more descriptive
visual. All this out of my little feet. It was gross, but I was transfixed and
Then Jeremy gave me a lovely foot massage. When I stood up, my
feet felt cleansed and grounded, as did the rest of me. It was divine.
There was still the MPower 300, for endurance and strength
training using vibration, and the Infrared Saunas and Compression Therapy to
try, but I was convinced. Getting rid of those toxins, breaking down the
cellulite and building up the muscles was the way to go.
It has been chilly lately. I rifled
though my general stuff drawer to locate my gloves yesterday before my
umpteenth run. In this drawer I house glow sticks, a mini hammer, elastic
bands, flyers and gloves. Beneath the gloves lay the card: Esteem Treatments.
On the other side: Eurowave Inch Loss and Muscle Toning, Slenderquest Body
Wrap, Hartur Ultrasound Cellulite Removal. I picked it up, shook my head, and
flicked it into the bin, it is an out-of-date card now. And I already knew the
phone number. I put on my gloves, and launched myself out the door towards the
ocean. I met Jen. We didn’t discuss dreams. We nattered about personal
responsibility, closed minds and the joy of trying new things.