Meet Your New Trainer: EmSculpt

With High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic (HIFEM) energy technology, there’s a new way to tone up your muscles, and quickly.

EmSculpt is the first technology that addresses muscle-strengthening, firmness, lift, and reduction of fat in the same session. No pain, no numbing, no swelling. A win-win!
— Dr. Patricia Wexler

I think I found a trainer I will stick with. It’s not a person, but a machine called EmSculpt. It came on the scene earlier this year, mostly at aesthetic-driven-doctors’ offices nationwide, and it is becoming very popular among many patients and here’s why.

What is EmSculpt? It is an F.D.A.-approved, high-density-focused, electromagnetic-energy device, with intensity measured by Tesla and M.R.I. technology, and manufactured by BTL Aesthetics. Simply put, it’s an electromagnetic wave that stimulates muscular contraction. From what I can tell, this is the only non-invasive device for developing and toning muscle, and many consumers have reported a reduction in their waistline as well. BTL Aesthetics states that their HIFEM technology is also non-ionizing, non-radiating, and non-thermal, and it does not affect sensory nerves, because it stimulates only motor neurons.

How does it work? The machine has two oval-shaped paddles that a technician will help apply to the correct positions for achieving best results. They are designed for the abdominal area and the buttocks, but word has it that the manufacturers are working to develop different-shaped paddles to address other body parts, such as arms and legs. And the best thing about this technology is that it delivers 20,000 forced muscle contractions in a 30-minute session—the equivalent of doing 20,000 sit-ups or squats in half an hour. And if you happen to suffer from abdominal separation, this will help to close the gap a bit. Some people might feel sore, as if they had worked out too much, but, if so, it will be nominal.

Does it cause any pain? There’s no pain or downtime involved, and it lasts only 30 minutes. But it is hard to describe the sensation. The closest comparison I can make is to having contractions, but it also feels like someone is tickling or zapping you from deep within, but without pain. Depending on your tolerance level, the technician will eventually guide you to up to level 10, the highest setting. During my second session, I went up to level 10, on my tummy, in a matter of two minutes. And the buttocks area is much easier because there are fewer nerve cells there.

How many times do I have to do it? Best results require two treatments per week for two weeks. Given how brief the treatments are, I found myself booking abdomen and buttocks sessions back-to-back.

What is the cost? EmSculpt is usually sold as a package of four treatments. The prices may vary from practice to practice, but with four treatments over two weeks, the average is $3,000 to $4,000. And for periodic maintenance treatments every three to six months, a single session costs $750 to $1,000.

How soon can one see results? I started to see a noticeable difference between the third and fourth weeks, and, according to the manufacturer, the results can last up to six months. But what I loved most about this treatment is that I feel stronger, and therefore better, and definitely more motivated to get myself to the gym!

What’s the final word? I am sold. Especially because, though I work out regularly, it takes longer to define my muscles and tone up as I get older. EmSculpt has allowed me to get to my physical goal faster. I have found my abdominal area slightly more toned and my buttocks definitely higher! But what I love most is that I am much stronger in my stomach, so I can do more crunches for a much longer period. The same goes for the glutes. Even though this isn’t technically a weight-loss machine, if you need a stimulator of sorts to get you moving and be more motivated (as a result of being that much stronger), this technology is it!

And according to Dr. Patricia Wexler, at Wexler Dermatology, in N.Y.C., “EmSculpt is the first technology that addresses muscle-strengthening, firmness, lift, and reduction of fat in the same session. No pain, no numbing, no swelling. A win-win!” (Side note: I had my four-session treatment at Wexler Dermatology and loved it!)

The West Coast folks feel the same way. EmSculpt is the hottest trend in Hollywood at the moment because it can help to tighten the abs and lift the buttocks. “Around here in L.A., where summer is 365 days a year and body-conscious clothing is always in season, the tighter, higher rear and tighter tummy need no justification,” says Dr. Ava Shamban, who also has her own practice in Los Angeles.

Oh, and BTL Aesthetics has also launched EMSella, a chair designed to assist with incontinence issues. Many gynecologists’ offices all over the country now have them, as do some cosmetic practices. It uses the same HIFEM technology to stimulate deep-pelvic-floor muscles while the patient sits, fully clothed, for 30 minutes! Whoah! Ladies, can you say, “So long, Kegel?” What’s more, EMSella seems to be very popular among men. Why? “It has many benefits for men too! Fellas find it feels as good as it functions, with a prostate pick-me-up, sort to speak. It helps aging prostate where incontinence issues are pervasive, for prostatic hyperplasia or post-prostate-cancer surgery,” Shamban adds.

With all of that, I’ll be going back.