As Seen On News 5

Oct 25, 2011 8:15 AM by Dr. Anya Winslow

Blasting fat using lasers

The battle of the bulge is timeless, and at some point, most people have tried something. Whether it is nips, tucks, sit-ups, master cleanses, diets, good old fashioned gym routines, or some kind of magic potion that promises it will melt away the fat.

Recall the old adage: "If it's too good to be true, it probably is."

Well, image lying on a massage table, listening to music, doing nothing except for relaxing, and while you are participating in this peaceful activity, you are melting inches of unwanted fat off your body. Sounds too good to be true, right?

One therapy, called Zerona, which is manufactured by Erchonia Corporation, is claiming to do just that. The Food and Drug Administration classified the device as a "class II" device and approved that it "provide[s] reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device."

To see if this therapy can work, one brave woman allowed News 5 behind the scenes, and let me follow her through her fat melting journey, and her results are finally in.

Alyssa Schroeder says she eats right and leads a pretty healthy lifestyle.

"I usually run every day with my dog, I hike, I go to the gym...I'm very active," she says.

But now, at 36, and after having two kids she admits she's had a harder time tightening up one particular area.

As her eyes dart over to the corner of the room she adds, "You get this stomach and you just wonder if it'll ever go away."

After hearing about a treatment that's helped a few of her friends, Alyssa decided to try Zerona, too. It's a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that uses cold, low level lasers that target the waist, hips and thighs. Added advantages including no bruising, swelling or down time in your daily routine. Chiropractor and Zerona practitioner of 100% Ageless, Dr. Deborah Riekeman, says the laser works by "liquefying fat in fat cells."

"That allows the body to pick-up that fat, and the lymphatic system is the system that does that, and it takes it out of the body so it allows the person to experience inch loss," says Riekeman.

Riekeman adds, "If you were looking under a microscope, you would see that fat cells look like a bunch of grapes. [After the treatment if] you look under the microscope again, you would see the fat cells look like raisins, and the liquefied fat is in between the cells."

Riekeman also mentioned a study showed the average person lost around 3.66 inches without changing diet or increasing exercise, while the placebo group, who did not receive the therapy, lost 0.5 inches. "So, based on that study, the FDA did approve this [therapy] for safety and for effective inch-loss," she says.

"There's no guarantee; however, I do offer people that if they don't lose at least 3 inches, then I'll do some more laser treatments until we get to that point," adds Riekeman.

To see how much, if any, Alyssa would lose, measurements and photos were taken during the first session and, then, Alyssa underwent 6 treatments, 40 minutes each, over 2 weeks.

The treatment really doesn't require much effort. At Dr. Riekeman's office, patients lie on a massage table and listen to music, while the laser beams circle the stomach, hips and thighs. During the treatment, patients lie 20 minutes on their back and then 20 minutes on their stomach.

"It's actually so relaxing," says Alyssa while smiling. "I think being a mom, you constantly are running around and are stressed-out. So, to have a moment and listen to relaxing music and just be at peace, it was very therapeutic and peaceful, and it didn't hurt at all," she says with a look of relief.

As for one question that did arise in Alyssa's mind, "You ask, ‘Does it really work?'"

Well, after 6 sessions during 2 weeks, it was time to measure again. According to Alyssa's final measurements, the treatment worked.


Here's the breakdown of her numbers (in inches):

From her waist she dropped from 27.5 to 26.
From her hips she went from 37.5 to 35.
From her right thigh she went from 22.5 to 22; her left thigh 22.5 to 21.75.
From her bra-line she went from 29.75 to 29.5.
From 2 inches above her waist she went from 29.5 to 27; and 2 inches below her waist she went from 32.5 to 30.
In sum, she lost 10.5 inches.

After hearing the results Alyssa says laughing, "I wondered if it was going to work because it was too good to be true, but it did work. So, I guess, it is too good to be true."

Dr. Riekeman adds her average customer is anywhere between "15 to 30 pounds overweight, not 100 pounds." She also says, "The goal is [for this treatment] to be a jump start to overall weight loss." It's not meant to be a substitute for healthy eating and exercise.

As for what Alyssa is really looking forward to doing she says, "I'm really psyched, ‘cause I can go home, try on my skinny jeans, get to go out, have fun and just feel so good about myself that I lost 10.5 inches."


Dr. Riekeman charges $1800 for the recommended 6 sessions. Insurance will not cover the cost of this treatment.


Here is a link to some other treatment centers that may also offer the service.


The therapy is also not recommended for women who are pregnant or think they may be pregnant, as well as those with pacemakers. It's always best to consult with your physician to determine if any given treatment is advisable.

You can find more information about Zerona by clicking here and by clicking here.



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