creams, gels, ointments
Some products have a limited effect on the surface of the skin ("cellullite") and on the thickness of the fat layer. However, this effect is not permanent.
Professional massage techniques mainly influence fluid accumulation in the fat layer. They correct swelling but no sagging. Very clear improvement is possible, but the effect disappears after a few weeks when the treatment is discontinued. "Manual lymphatic drainage" is both pleasant and efficient; more intense treatments e.g. with the LPG apparatus (endermology) are an interesting option. These treatments are excellent for persons who want to improve their body shape as much as possible for a well-defined period (holiday, festivities) without surgery. On top of that, they are very useful to prepare for liposculpture and to limit and treat the temporary swelling caused by this operation.
A healthy diet is the basis for a good figure. For most people it is all that is necessary to maintain that good body contour. Healthy eating habits are equally important for people who seek aesthetic surgical treatment. The surgery is complementary, it is not a replacement. Obesity has to be treated by diet change, sometimes under medical supervision, but in no way by aesthetic surgery. Sometimes stomach and bowel surgery (by an abdominal surgeon) are considered for severe obesity.
A good physical condition is equally important for a nice body contour. Stronger muscles around the spine and the abdomen maintain a healthier and more beautiful stature. Well-developed muscles obviously improve body contour. A large muscle mass helps to burn more energy, thereby influencing the fat tissue. However, muscle excercices have no local effect on fat deposits, e.g. abdominal muscle excercices will have no direct influence on abdominal fat deposits.
Intensive methods like local heating and local exercise, like in body styling, probably only affect fluid accumulation in the fat tissue. There is little evidence of effect on the fat cells proper. Nevertheless, the supervised physical exercise and the diet that are a part of these methods, combined with the local therapy, may result in considerable contour improvement.