Hours clocked in at the gym and a dedicated diet aren’t the only ways to get a flat, toned stomach. In fact, achieving that tightened up look might now require nothing more than a trip to the doctor’s office thanks to a brand-new innovation. What’s the technology in question, you ask? It’s called Emsculpt, a new device that uses high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy to activate supramaximal contractions within the muscles to build them up.
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FDA-cleared for the “improvement of abdominal tone, strengthening of the abdominal muscles, development of firmer abdomen [and] strengthening, toning, and firming of the buttocks,” this non-invasive procedure is taking the aesthetics industry by storm. Emsculpt reduces fat cells (by 19 percent) and builds muscle fibers (by about 16 percent) after just four treatments.
Sounds incredible, right? Well, in an effort to see if this noninvasive treatment is too good to be true, patient Abigail Coleman*, 57, decided to give it a try over the course of two weeks.
Since the ideal candidate for Emsculpt is someone who is generally fit and simply using the device to complement an already active lifestyle, Coleman felt the treatment was a perfect fit for her. She went to NYDG Integral Health & Wellness center to have the procedure performed in order to tighten up her midsection.
After relaxing in the plush waiting room, Coleman was led back to the patient rooms for a general assessment before the procedure. First, the “before” images were taken, and then the technician ran through a few of the contraindications of the procedure (i.e. recent surgeries, copper IUDs, pacemakers, etc.). The technician then set the device—which looks like a pan-sized paddle connected to a high-tech computer—upon Coleman’s stomach to target her abominal muscles. Once the device was in place, the procedure could finally begin.
After the paddle was secured on Coleman’s stomach, the technician flipped on the machine to a low intensity level of 20 percent. At this point, Coleman recounts simply feeling a small twinge in her gut, adding that it was a strange sensation to experience involuntary muscle movement. The patient is simply lying down in a relaxed state while the stomach muscles are hard at work with each and every contraction.
Over the course of 30 minutes, the machine used electromagnetic energy to contract the stomach muscles at various intervals of time—sometimes even holding the muscles in a contraction for up to six seconds. After a few intervals of this, the movement changed into a forceful tapping motion that’s meant to flush out lactic acid that’s been released during the muscle contractions (this step prevents post-procedure soreness!).
Even though the treatment can feel a bit intense at its highest level, patients can rest assured that it’s in these moments that the muscles are benefiting the most. Emsculpt causes around 20,000 muscle contractions in just 30 minutes, burning both fat and strengthening muscles at the same time—a feat impossible to achieve by sit ups or crunches alone.
While Coleman was ultimately pleased with the treatment, she did note that there were a few important points worth knowing before trying out the procedure for yourself. “There’s an intensity to [the treatment] and the contracting was uncomfortable at certain points, particularly towards the end, but it didn’t necessarily hurt,” she clarified. As for how she felt afterwards, Coleman claimed she felt nothing out of the ordinary. “I was sore the next day—in a good way—like I had worked out the day before.”
Taking all of this into consideration, Coleman still said she would love to go in for a few more rounds of the treatment. “I could tell there was a big difference in how toned my muscles felt and the payoff is wonderful,” she explained. However, according to Coleman, there is one drawback: cost. “It’s very expensive so it’s pretty limiting when it comes to who can afford to do it.” At $750 to $1000 per treatment, Coleman certainly has a point. Ultimately, it’s important for prospective patients to speak with a board-certified doctor about their goals and their budget in order to determine if Emsculpt is the right fit. After all, with rock hard abs or a better backside as the result, it’s certainly a procedure worth checking out.
*Name has been changed. Before/after photos are not of the patient.
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