Doctors in the US and Singapore are going starry-eyed over Emsculpt, an aesthetic procedure that for the first time builds muscles while burning fat at the same time. Shape put it to the test.
Here at Shape, we get super wary around quick-fix slimming procedures. But a machine that mimics the effects of 20,000 crunches? In 30 minutes? Is there a catch? We had to find out ourselves.
What is Emsculpt
Essentially, the machine induces strong muscular contractions using High-intensity Focused Electromagnetic (HIFEM) energy. At 20,000 contractions in half an hour, this is a “workout” efficiency that anyone can hit in real life. Emsculpt can now be used on the tummy and butt, but word has it that the machine can in time to applied to the arms – bye bye bat wings.
Know that Emsculpt is no substitute for a real workout, nor is it a weight loss tool, since you are lying down throughout the session. But what it does is help speed up your body toning goals.
Another upside to the treatment: for those looking for a perky butt without the chunky thighs (a side effect of doing too many squats at the gym), Emsculpt only targets the muscles in your behind.
At Nu.Reflections, the clinic where I tried out a session of Emsculpt, Dr Ivan Tan was clearly passionate about this new treatment. The technology was initially developed to just build muscle mass, Dr Tan shared, but when they put it through studies, fat loss was found as well. The finding wasn’t a complete surprise though; simulating thousands of crunches or squats in a short time is akin to a high-intensity fat-busting workout for the body.
Upon hearing that I’ve had my tummy stretched and mangled by two full-term pregnancies, Dr Tan was only too glad to share yet another surprise discovery from the studies – the treatment is found to slightly improve abdominal tears in mummies. (Now you’ve got my full attention.)
In clinical studies, the treatment resulted in a 19 per cent reduction in abdominal fat and 16 per cent increase in muscle mass after four sessions.
How it went down
It was the weirdest and most interesting sensation I’ve ever felt in an aesthetic treatment. There’s no pain or discomfort but the initial pull (at the lowest intensity) was shocking – it took me a couple of minutes to ease into the treatment. Strong contractions were interspersed with “detox” cycles which help to prevent buildup of lactic acid, the cause of post-workout soreness. My kind therapist Fion gradually tuned up the intensity of contractions and I was at a full 100 for the last few minutes. Once I got used to the contractions, I was subtly egging her on to amp it up along the way.
Were there results?
The staff at Nu.Reflections clearly mentioned that it takes four sessions to see a real difference. But I was pleasantly surprised that just after one treatment, my tummy was a tad flatter and there was a slight increase in tautness. There was also zero soreness the next day.
Again, this is not a lazy girl’s solution for a hot bod. Without maintaining the results with regular exercise, the muscles gained from Emsculpt treatments will eventually go away.
Emsculpt is priced at $1,200 per session. For more information, contact Nu.Reflections Medical Aesthetics, #05-12 Regency House, tel: 6235 5333.