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What is Emsculpt?
Many of us have “problem areas” no matter how much we exercise. While surgical interventions like liposuction were once the leaders in fat removal, there are more nonsurgical options than ever before for achieving your ideal shape.
Emsculpt is a non-invasive body sculpting technique that uses electromagnetic technology to build muscle tone while reducing fat.
In this short guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Emsculpt—how it works, what it feels like, and what to consider before booking your first appointment.
Body Sculpting 101
If you’re not already familiar with the term “body sculpting,” let us introduce you to this growing sector of cosmetic procedures.
Body sculpting refers to a number of non-invasive procedures that target the areas of the body that are most resistant to change through diet and exercise:
- Back fat
- Legs and thighs
- Upper arms
- “Love handles”
Some of the most popular body sculpting techniques like CoolSculpting and SculpSure® primarily work by killing fat cells in these target areas. Then, the dead cells are eventually metabolized and eliminated.
While Emsculpt can help with fat reduction, it’s unique amongst body sculpting procedures in that it primarily works by stimulating the muscles.
Next, we’ll dive into how this particular sculpting technique works.
The Technology Behind Emsculpt
How can electromagnetic technology affect your fat and muscles?
- Emsculpt devices use high-intensity focused electromagnetic fields (HIFEM) on the target area, causing the muscles to rapidly and repeatedly contract.
- Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank explains to Byrdie that this stimulation activates “100% of the muscle 20,000 times in a 30-minute period.”1
- This makes an Emsculpt session similar to an incredibly intense workout, but without the sweating or racing heart, and with many more contractions than your muscles could naturally achieve.
Getting in the equivalent of 20,000 crunches, squats, or biceps curls during a single 30-minute Emsculpt session thus stimulates the proteins that synthesize and build muscle. As the metabolic rate in the surrounding tissue speeds up, fatty acids leak out, too.
As a result, a series of Emsculpt sessions could increase your muscle thickness in a given area up to 16% and reduce fat by up to 15%.2
Improved muscle tone can also help you gain strength and endurance in your workouts so that you can push harder and meet your long-term fitness goals. In fact, Emsculpt is so effective that it can also be used as part of a physical therapy plan for damaged or deteriorated muscles.
Where Can You Use Emsculpt?
Emsculpt devices are typically used in one area at a time. The device is strapped or placed on the target area. Currently approved areas of treatment include:
- Upper arms
While Emsculpt is generally safe, there are some people who cannot take advantage of this procedure.
- Because Emsculpt uses magnetic technology, it’s not suitable for people with pacemakers, plates, or IUDs. The technology can short or move medical implants.
- Emsculpt is not appropriate during pregnancy, after experiencing a hernia, or after surgery in the target area.
What to Expect From Emsculpt
While almost anyone can get Emsculpt, not everyone will see the same results.
As with other body contouring procedures, the visibility of the effects depends on your existing body composition.
- While Emsculpt can increase muscle tone in any body type, the fat loss can is sometimes modest. If there are significant fat deposits in the treatment area, they can cover up any gains in muscle tone.
- Emsculpt works best for patients who already have a BMI under 30.
- If you already have an active lifestyle but are hoping to tone up particular problem areas, Emsculpt may be right for you.
If your goal is removing significant fat, Emsculpt may not be the best fit.
How Long Does Emsculpt Take to Work?
Emsculpt sessions are 30 minutes long. However, it takes more than one to see results. Most suitable candidates see a meaningful change after four sessions, usually within a two-week period.3
Unlike other body sculpting treatments that use heat or cooling to kill fat cells, Emsculpt can produce results fairly quickly. Some people report visible improvements after just a week or two. However, most studies on Emsculpt assess results after three months, by which point fatty acids have been completely eliminated.
What can you expect if you’re a good candidate for Emsculpt?
One group of researchers studied the cumulative results of four 30-minute Emsculpt treatment sessions on waist circumference in a group of 22 people with lower BMI profiles.4
- After three months, patients saw an average 4.37 cm reduction in waist circumference.
- Subjects saw improved muscle toning as well as fat loss.
- 96% were satisfied with the treatment.
While individual responses can vary based on a number of factors, including lifestyle and body fat composition, the high satisfaction rate suggests that this treatment can satisfy a wide range of people.
As we’ve noted, Emsculpt is different than heating, cooling, and laser technologies that directly target and kill fat cells. It works more indirectly by stimulating muscles.
However, a new Emsculpt technology introduced in 2020, Emsculpt NEO, combines HIFEM with radio frequency (RF) heating to combine the best of muscle stimulation and lipolysis.5
- Emsculpt NEO is suitable for a wider range of BMIs up to 35. Thanks to the combination of two technologies, it’s more likely that you’ll see visible results.
- Emsculpt NEO can reduce body fat in the target area by up to 30%.
- However, this technology is not recommended for the buttocks, arms, or calves (where you may see an undesired loss in volume).
Emsculpt NEO has the same contraindications as Emsculpt. In addition, you should not receive this treatment in an area with a tattoo.
Emsculpt NEO Results
Emsculpt NEO can provide impressive results when targeting the abdomen and thighs.
Clinical trials showed a 25% increase in muscle tone and a 30% reduction in fat (on average).
If you’d like to lose fat while strengthening your core, Emsculpt NEO could be a great choice.
What to Expect at Your Emsculpt Appointment
If Emsculpt sounds like it could help you meet your goals, the next step is getting familiar with the procedure.
As noted, each Emsculpt session is 30 minutes long.
- The Emsculpt device can be used on bare skin or over clothing, while the Emsculpt NEO must be placed on bare skin. Whatever your choice, the device will be placed or strapped on the target area.
- Depending on the body part you’re targeting, your 30 minutes may be broken down into “phases” where HIFEM encourages muscle contraction at different rates.
- It can feel strange to receive Emsculpt. It’s a strenuous workout for your muscles, yet you’re lying still on your back.
- Your healthcare provider can modulate the intensity of your treatment as you get adjusted, gradually working up to 100%.
- You may feel sensations like gripping muscles, tingling, and tightening. These are all normal.
While a strenuous workout can leave your muscles sore for days, many people can return to normal activity without experiencing side effects. However, it’s normal to experience some muscle soreness after a session.
Since Emsculpt NEO uses similar technology, the experience is similar.
How much you’ll pay for Emsculpt depends on a number of factors, including:
- Your geographic location
- The experience and skill set of the healthcare provider you visit
- The number of sessions you book
On average, a single Emsculpt session costs $700. As we’ve noted, most people see the best results after four sessions, which means you can expect to spend around $2800 in total.
If you want to target multiple areas, the cost could be higher, as you’ll need to book additional sessions.
How Long Does Emsculpt Last?
Whether you lose unwanted fat by improving your diet or putting in extra time at the gym, you know that maintaining improvements to your shape and fitness requires consistent effort.
Emsculpt actually strengthens your muscles and requires minimal recovery time. Therefore, it should be easy to return to your normal workout routine or even turn the dial up a notch to see further weight loss and muscle tone.
But if you don’t continue working the muscle, you’ll eventually lose the mass you gained from Emsculpt. In time, you could gain back fat, too.
It takes time for protein synthesis to rebuild your muscle and for your body to eliminate fatty acids.
However, there are ways to support enhanced results.
We’ve formulated the TransFORM Body Treatment with TriHex Technology® to promote the synthesis of elastin and collagen.
- Our unique formulation can also help hasten the process of fat removal, helping you achieve your peak results more quickly
- Ample elastin and collagen enable your skin to tighten as you lose fat, resulting in smoother skin and reducing the risk of pouching
For best results, apply TransFORM to the treated area daily.
ALASTIN: Medical-Grade Skincare to Supporting Your Beauty Goals
At ALASTIN, we formulate patented products like the TransFORM body treatment to help you achieve the skin and body you’ve been dreaming of.
Our scientifically-backed products are ideal for procedure aftercare and for everyday maintenance.
Whether you choose Emsculpt, CoolSculpting, or another body contouring procedure, TransFORM can help you see results while actually improving your skin tightness.
Byrdie. What is Emsculpt? https://www.byrdie.com/emsculpt-review
Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. High intensity focused electromagnetic therapy evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging: Safety and efficacy study of a dual tissue effect based non-invasive abdominal body shaping.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30302767/
BTL Group of Companies. Waist circumference reduction in a multicentric study. https://www.fvpsurgery.com/content/uploads/2019/06/Emsculpt_CLIN_Study-Ab-waist.pdf
- Robert Weiss, M. D., M. D. Brian Kinney, and M. D. Carolyn Jacob. EMSCULPT NEO Simultaneous emission of novel Synchronized Radiofrequency and HIFEM (magnetic fields) in a single applicator for fat elimination and muscle building. https://351face.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Emsculpt_neo_CLIN_Mechanism-of-action-paper-full_ENUS100.pdf
Article Reviewed by Wendy Johnson
Vice President, Marketing
Wendy Johnson brings to Alastin Skincare over 22 years of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and aesthetics industry experience in various sales, training, marketing and thought leader development roles.
After spending 10 years in gastroenterology at Tap Pharmaceuticals and Prometheus Laboratories, with sales and marketing oversight for in-line and pre-launch products, Mrs. Johnson transitioned to an aesthetic career at SkinMedica in 2004. While there, she was responsible for marketing one of the top 2 branded prescription hydroquinones, launching a leading branded low potency steroid, and oversight of the acne franchise line extensions.
In 2010, Wendy joined Merz North America where she developed and managed the Physician Relations department in support of injectable, topical and device business units under Medical Affairs, before transitioning into managing a Regional Aesthetics Marketing team.
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