Why Everyone Is Talking About Emsculpt

There's a new body contouring device on the block: Emsculpt. Here's what it does and what it's like to get sculpted.
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Written by Karina Giglio
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Why Everyone Is Talking About Emsculptsirtravelalot/Shutterstock

I’ll be honest: When I read about revenge bodies (hello, Khloe Kardashian), I often wonder who the revenge is actually on? I mean, all that sweating and HIIT-ing and eating fish all day long and permanently breaking up with pasta — are you really punishing your ex or yourself? Don’t get me wrong — there’s no denying that the results of all of that self-flagellation are pretty impressive. But do you really have to torture yourself to get those sculpted, toned abs, and perky backside? Apparently not. Enter a new non-invasive body sculpting device called Emsculpt, which I heard about from a friend who (surprise!) just emerged from a messy divorce and wanted to get back the taut tummy she hadn’t seen since before having kids… and being single.

Cleared by the FDA in late 2018, this new body contouring treatment uses high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy to stimulate the type of supramaximal contractions that cannot be achieved voluntarily. Emsculpt treatment improves abdominal muscle tone, strengthens the abdominal muscles, develops a firmer abdomen, and strengthens, tones, and firms the buttocks.

Emsculpt is a new category of non-surgical device which therapeutically uses magnetic fields, like a miniature MRI machine. The non-invasive high-intensity focused electromagnetic technology creates 20,000 supramaximal muscle contractions in 30 minutes. So essentially, as you’re lying still, your body is experiencing the effects of 20,000 crunches. What’s more, when you do a real crunch or squat at the gym, you’re activating about 50 percent of that muscle group every three to five seconds, while Emculpt activates 100 percent of the muscle. Studies indicate that Emsculpt creates approximately 15 percent muscle development on the area it was used on after four treatments (one every two weeks). This muscle development can help burn fat and lead to some fat reduction as well.

“This is not a weight-loss tool or a skin tightening device — it builds muscles and causes fat loss in the abs and creates a butt-lift effect with no surgery or injections,” says Payman Danielpour, MD, a plastic surgeon practicing in Beverly Hills, CA. “It’s ideal for someone who is close to their ideal body weight and needs a little help to build muscle and lose fat. In my practice, we also use it post-surgery on liposuction and tummy tuck patients to enhance results, which are both immediate and continue to improve. The satisfaction rate is very high.”

But what is it really like to get “Emsculpt-ed”? I asked my friend, Rita*, a nurse practitioner in Arlington, VA.

“It surprised me how easy the process was. You lay down and the device is strapped over your stomach. Then the practitioner turns it on. Mine started at a lower power and then I could feel it as it went up higher and higher. I felt muscle contractions in my stomach every few seconds. It wasn’t painful at all for the first 10 minutes or so, or even uncomfortable, just strange — a very intense vibration that’s concentrated just in that area. When the power was turned up, there were moments when it was a little uncomfortable — I could actually see my muscles move. The machine finally switches to a tapping motion and then back to the contractions. My practitioner said that was to break up the lactic acid being released by my muscles. There was 30 minutes of that, and then it was over. The next day, I definitely felt like I had been doing a lot of crunches, that type of soreness. I didn’t see a difference when I went home, but within about a week, my stomach felt more muscular. I didn’t and don’t have a six-pack, but I’ve had two treatments now and there’s no question that there’s starting to be some definition on the sides and my middle is harder. While I had a little pooch before, now it’s not nearly as soft and mushy, and I’m feeling like I might actually try a bikini this summer.”

*Patient's name has been changed.

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KARINA GIGLIOis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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