Here in Singapore, this process is commonly called Rebonding. It was massively popular when it first appeared about 5 years ago, but it's now getting some backlash from the local beauty magazines because half the women in Singapore ended up with identical hairstyles! For me, this is the best beauty investment I've ever made. I've done this twice a year for 3 years now, just got the latest done yesterday.
Some advice if you plan to do this:
1) Research like crazy. Ask friends who have done it succesfully, and go to the same salon AND stylist. The stylist's skill is important, not just the brand of product they use.
2) If your hair is coloured / highlighted, the process will alter the colour of your hair (most likely, it go a shade lighter). You will also find that colour will not take as well to your hair after the process. Do not bleach hair after the process - it will fry it beyond belief.
3) Not all hair takes well to rebonding. It may not end up as straight as you expect. A good hair stylist will be able to advise you.
4) If your hair is very very curly even at the roots, you may have a problem with regowth. You'll end up at a stage where the regrowth is curly but too short to re-do the process. Ditto for short hair that does not have weight to 'pull down' the the regrowth. You'll end up with bouncy hair at the top of your head.
5) I've tried expensive salon shampoos for this type of processed hair, but they were useless (I would recommend Clairol Herbal Essences Replenishing shampoo & conditioner instead).
I think this is the best beauty invention of the century! All the plus points mentioned by reviewers below apply to me, so I won't repeat. One downside is that after doing this 6-7 times now over 3 years, my hair is much thinner that before. Keep promising that I will stop this madness, but I'm addicted :)