Millions of Americans are frustrated with the appearance of stubborn body fat. Areas like the belly, butt, thighs, and love handles tend to collect fat, and sometimes all the crunches crunched and carbs cut in the world won’t get rid of it. That’s where body sculpting techniques come in. These non-invasive treatments can melt away fat without the need for expensive surgery or lengthy recovery periods. At the Dermatology, Laser, & Vein Center in Cincinnati, OH, we offer one of the most popular body sculpting treatments out there: Emsculpt.
What Is Emsculpt?
This is a non-invasive, FDA-approved body sculpting treatment that uses the power of electromagnetism to tighten muscles and burn fat in areas where pockets of body fat typically collect, like the belly and the thighs. We’ve been well-trained to be suspicious of “quick fix” solutions to body fat, and with good reason, but Emsculpt is the real deal. It works, and it’s backed up by the science of the human body.
How Does It Work?
This treatment works by simultaneously building muscle and burning fat in the area of treatment. It does this by sending electromagnetic pulses into the muscles themselves, causing them to contract as though they are undergoing a strenuous workout. In fact, the treatment’s process gives muscles a workout that would be impossible in a gym. It can deliver a whopping 20,000 muscular contractions in just 30 minutes. If the treatment is being done on your abdominal muscles, that’s like doing 20,000 crunches in a half hour.
The process strengthens muscle fibers just like a good workout does, only more efficiently. The intensity of the muscular contractions also releases a naturally occurring chemical in the body called epinephrine that tells fat cells in the area to break down. That’s a very big deal because, as we are about to see, fat cells are extremely tough to get rid of.
The Science of Fat Cells
It might seem logical to believe that, when we lose weight, the number of fat cells in our body goes down while gaining weight causes that number to go up. That is not the case, however. In fact, the number of fat cells in the human body stays more or less constant after adolescence unless something happens to force the body to create more or metabolize some.
When we gain weight, our existing fat cells are actually just expanding to store more fat. When we lose weight, that fat is metabolized by the body and the fat cells shrink. That’s why stubborn pockets of body fat are so hard to get rid of. Those fat cells aren’t going anywhere, and they can only get so small. Body sculpting treatments like this one, however, can destroy fat cells outright, leaving previous problem zones with a smooth, contoured look.
All About Treatment
The Treatment Device
The treatment itself is conducted with a device that’s strapped over the area of the treatment. As mentioned above, this device is cleared by the FDA to treat multiple areas of the body, but is most commonly used on the abs, love handles, thighs, and butt to build muscle definition and cut down on fat.
The device itself is shaped like a paddle with handle, sort of like a steam iron. Once it’s in place, our professional practitioner begins the treatment and the device sends pulses of electromagnetic energy to the targeted area, causing the muscles there to rapidly contract.
The machine begins at a low setting, which is gradually increased according to the patient’s tolerance. According to one doctor, most patients reach 100% intensity or more on just their first session. The experience is described by those who have undergone it as strange, but not painful; sort of like a vigorous workout that’s happening without any input from you. Some people can even read or watch a show on their phones while they wait for the 30-minute treatment to finish.
In order to cut down on any potential discomfort, the machine has built-in resting phases in between delivering contractions. Those resting phases work to flush lactic acid out of the treatment area. Lactic acid buildup can cause soreness. If you’ve ever gone to the gym and felt stiff afterward, you’re familiar with it. Allowing this acid to flush out cuts back on post-treatment soreness. After just 30 minutes, you can walk out of your treatment with no redness, no swelling, and no downtime. You could even have a treatment done over your lunch hour and go right back to work with no one the wiser.
How Many Treatments Do I Need?
Most people will undergo four treatments within two weeks. Spacing the treatments a few days apart gives the muscles time to recover, while each successive treatment builds on the last to compound your results. Two weeks, however, is usually not long enough to see your full results. Just as with the work you put in at the gym, it takes time for the full results to manifest.
How Long Until I See Results?
While a small handful of patients see results after just two weeks, most people will have to wait four to six weeks to begin to see their results. In trials, patients reported a 19% reduction in fat in the treated area after one month. Those results continue to develop over time, and this number jumped to 23% after six months. This happens because it takes time for the body to break down and metabolize the fat cells that have been destroyed by the release of epinephrine.
Another study found an average muscle increase of 15% thickness in the abdominal wall, while yet another study saw patients report an average waist size reduction of a whopping 1.7 inches three months after abdominal treatments. This treatment will not only burn away stubborn pockets of body fat in notoriously frustrating areas of the body, but also tone the muscle underneath the fat and allow this newfound definition to shine through. Best of all, the results appear gradually just as if they were the result of diet and exercise. You won’t have to worry about people noticing you’ve had a specially cosmetic treatment.
Are My Results Permanent?
Once again, the results from this treatment are twofold: it melts fat, and it builds muscle. The fat cells killed by the muscles’ release of epinephrine are gone for good. As we mentioned above, the body seldom sees fit to produce new fat cells. As long as you maintain good diet and exercise habits, your treated area should remain free from bulges of body fat. There are still fat cells in that area though, so if you gain weight they may expand and result in the increased visibility of body fat once again.
When it comes to the muscle this treatment builds, some maintenance is necessary. Muscle is metabolically expensive for the body to maintain, so unless you give it a reason to believe you need to keep that muscle, which only happens if you use it, the body will break it down. Some people choose to come in for follow-up “maintenance” treatments every few months to ensure their results stick around, while others use exercise to maintain their newfound muscular definition. If you do neither, the muscle tone will gradually fade, just as it does if you skip going to the gym for a few months.
Who Is Emsculpt for?
People In Good Overall Shape
Doctors are quick to stress that this and other body contouring treatments are not meant for weight loss. People who want to lose weight for health reasons should speak to their doctor to formulate a diet and exercise plan that’s right for them. Body sculpting, on the other hand, is a way for people who are already at or near their target body weight to melt away stubborn fat that’s not responding to their diet and exercise routine.
The results will stick around as long as you maintain the same healthy lifestyle you had before the treatment. We recommend this treatment for people who have an inch or less of fat on the targeted area of treatment. More than an inch may impede the electromagnetic pulses from the machine from reaching the targeted muscles.
Those Who Want to Tone Muscle and Melt Fat
Other body sculpting treatments, like Kybella and CoolSculpting, are very effective at melting away body fat. This one, however, goes one step further by building muscle in the area of treatment in addition to melting away a similar amount of fat. If building muscle in addition to slimming down unwanted bulges is your goal, and diet and exercise aren’t getting the job done on their own, this treatment might be the one for you.
Women Who Have Been Pregnant
Women who have gone through pregnancy are especially good candidates for this treatment. That’s because two-thirds of them have a condition called diastasis recti, in which the front stomach muscles have lost their initial shape due to being pushed outwards during pregnancy. Emsculpt works to strengthen those muscles, which can pull them back into place, reversing diastasis recti.
People Who Have Ruled Out Invasive Surgery
Invasive liposuction surgery can remove more fat in one sitting than body sculpting treatments like this, which is why some people choose to go with it. It has a number of downsides when compared to non-invasive alternatives, though: it’s more expensive, requires anesthesia, and requires a few days’ worth of downtime for recovery.
Liposuction patients also have to wait a couple of weeks after treatment before resuming normal activities like working out. All of these downsides are a lot for a surgery that, like body sculpting, still requires several weeks’ worth of waiting before results become fully visible. If you have done the research and decided that an invasive liposuction surgery is not right for you, this fat-zapping treatment might be a viable alternative.
Who Should Avoid It?
Anyone With Metal Implants
People with any kind of metal implants, including pacemakers and copper IUDs, are ineligible for this treatment. The electromagnetic pulses will interact with the metal.
Women Who Are Expecting
As a rule, pregnant women are discouraged from undergoing body sculpting treatments of all kinds. These treatments use the body’s natural processes to break down and flush away body fat, and during pregnancy, the energy required for those processes should be going to the pregnancy instead.
Call Us Today!
A pain-free way to melt away stubborn body fat and give yourself a flat tummy, firmer thighs, or a surgery-free butt lift might seem like the kind of snake oil that should be avoided, but Emsculpt is the real deal. If you’re a good candidate for this treatment and want to rid yourself of frustrating pockets of stubborn body fat, contact Dermatology, Laser, & Vein Center in Cincinnati, OH today to schedule your initial consultation.