There's a big trend for tweakments that strengthen muscles using electro-magnetic pulses which can build abs, lift the butt, strengthen calves and firm up bingo wings... To try the new StimSure machine from Cynosure, I went to see Dr Joney de Souza who has one of the first machines in the UK. This is a technology that has been used by physios at Olympic level to rebuild muscles - so it isn't some cosmetic gimmick. It is perfectly tolerable, too, though for my first session, the one we filmed here, aesthetician Ira Miesnikowicz kept the intensity quite moderate, so as not to scare me!
Over the next sessions, we took it up to 100%—which was fine. I didn't notice much change at first (my abs aren't bad, I exercise a lot) but in weeks three and four something extraordinary seemed to be happening, and the lower abs knitted into the upper ones in a way that I had never managed to achieve in all the years I've been doing pilates, yoga, planks and crunches.
Now, my lower abs are ridiculously strong and I feel that they are properly supporting my back for the first time in decades. I notice the difference in everyday life as well as in the gym and the yoga studio (balancing poses feel a whole lot easier).
The before and after pics, taken after seven sessions, don't really reflect the huge change I feel. I dropped 10lb over the course of the month, too—not from the treatment but by minding what I ate—in order to try to show the improved muscle definition. Though, with less fat under it, the skin on my stomach looks a bit loose.. 🤣.
Now all I've got to do is work out how to keep up this new strength I've gained.
At £1,200 for four sessions, this is clearly an expensive way of building and defining muscle—but I can tell you that it really works, and it has done a power of good for my lower abs by strengthening them beyond anything I had managed to achieve on my own.
This video is sponsored by Cynosure.
My opinions are my own.
Filmed and edited by Ricardo Marques
AHD: Hello and welcome to this week's Tweak of the Week. My name is Alice Hart-Davis and I have come to the clinic of Dr Joney de Souza, in Marylebone, to try a bodysculpting treatment called Stimsure. Now, this uses high-intensity electromagnetic energy to build muscle. You can have it done all over, but I'm having it done just on my stomach, come along with me and see how it goes.
AHD: So, Dr Joney, tell me about this treatment—it's StimSure and it's a bodysculpting treatment, is that right?
Dr Joney de Souza: It's a muscle-tightening treatment; it's an incredible treatment for when you achieve that ideal weight, or you have managed to shift that pocket of fat that you have, for it to create the muscle tone that you want. So, it really helps to finalise the sculpting of the body, because it creates the muscle tone—especially in the core—that will give that nice definition.
AHD: And what is the technology that's being used to do this? Because this if rom CynoSure, who are usually known for their lasers, but this is a different kind of technology, isn't it?
JDS: Yes. CynoSure has worked with people from the Olympics Committee to use the technology that's already used by them—and is allowed to be used in sportspeople—to build muscle after injury. So, what they're using is electromagnetic energy so that the device creates a field of energy that reaches the muscle and stimulates the muscle so it contracts.
AHD: It's interesting because often people think tweakments are very kind of fluffy things—and maybe they'll work, maybe they'll not—but if this has come from a technology that's being used at Olympic level on athletes, it definitely works, doesn't it?
JDS: Oh yes! It has been used for a number of different countries in their athletes with great results so it's not something that's like, "Oh, let's see, let's try..."
ADS: So this is proven?
JDS: Yes, it's a proven treatment.
AHD: Okay, and now they're applying it to body firming?
JDS: Yes, so we're just extending that, similar to other treatments that we have—like Botox, which started as a medical treatment and then moved to [aesthetics]—so it's exactly the same thing. So, this is a medical treatment that is now being used in the aesthetics field.
AHD: Okay, and it can be used on different parts of the body, presumably, not just the stomach?
JDS: Yes, the main areas we are using is to build abdomen, the back—so, the core—and we use it on legs, arms, calves, pretty much wherever.
ADS: Arms and calves? Wow, so you could tackle bingo wings and things?
JDS: Yes, so you build the muscle and you build that definition in the arms. Say, for example, someone lost weight and already did the skin tightening treatment, but the muscle is still not strong enough, so that gives that nice definition, that nice contour. So, our patients here, what we see is that there is not only a nice definition, but there is also muscle growth, as well. So, you have a nice, firmer and much more defined shape of the muscle.
ADS: So, that must be really useful for people who aren't in the habit of going to the gym and building those muscles?
JDS: It's interesting because sometimes we let our weight change or fluctuate; when you decide to take action, it seems quite a huge amount of determination, and [StimSure] is just to help with that. It will help you build the muscle as well.
JDS: The interesting thing is that in twenty minutes of treatment, you will have 24,000 muscle contractions.
AHD: Oof! That sounds like it might be quite painful?
JDS: Absolutely not painful, at all, because the electromagnetic energy only stimulates the motor contraction of the muscle. The sensory terminations, they don't get stimulated, so there is no pain. The sensation that you have during the treatment is that your body is doing things that your brain is not telling them to do, but it's not painful at all.
AHD: Can you give people a six-pack with this?
JDS: We had someone recently treated, and we have the pictures for that, that got an amazing definition. He was already in shape, already training, but he wanted that additional [improvement] and you get it.
AHD: And within the space of how many sessions would you need for that?
JDS: We need, normally, four weeks of treatment and two treatments per week. You can do three weeks as well with good results, but we normally recommend four weeks.
AHD: Great, well we'll see how it goes on my tummy, we'll see what sort of results we can get!
JDS: You'll be impressed, you'll be impressed.
AHD: I hope so! Thank you very much!
Irena Miesnikowicz: This is what you’ll feel at the beginning, this is the program that stimulates both types of muscles. You will feel a little twitching.
AHD: I can feel something. Can you use this on people’s bottoms as well?
IM: Yes, so you’re talking legs, shoulders, arms. The first part of the treatment is a warm-up; it feels like it’s contracting, doesn’t it? Can you feel it here, in your groin?
AHD: No, I just feel this overwhelming tapping feeling. Is that as a distraction from the other contractions?
IM: It’s a warm-up, so it uses a little bit of [current] to put the muscles into twitching mode, so they’re twitching, we’re getting read.
AHD: Here with the StimSure we have Irena, who is the master practitioner when it comes to getting the most out of these machines.
IM: Now, you can feel the first contractions.
AHD: Ooh! Okay, so contractions kicking in. That’s...that’s fine, that’s quite mild. That’s really interesting: I can feel it up here and going down, as well.
IM: Can you feel it evenly, because I feel your whole abdomen contracting.
AHD: Yeah, it feels pretty even. It’s like having your tummy taken over by an alien!
IM: This is something you can’t control, definitely.
AHD: Okay, so I’ve just got to relax and go with it?
IM: What helps, when we get to this uncomfortable moment when the muscle is contracting, what you can do is to tighten your muscle.
AHD: Okay. It’s manageable. It’s really strange, this kind of feeling as it ripples its way across. You were saying some people found it was helpful for…
IM: Incontinence, yes.
AHD: Incontinence. Just by working on the core, it affects the pelvic floor as well.
IM: Yes, we have a story of a patient, she had one treatment of StimSure and she saw the results straight away after the treatment. We had the treatment over a month ago and she’s still…
AHD: Finding it works?
IM: Finding it works, yes. So, how are we doing?
AHD: This is fine, absolutely fine.
IM: Shall we increase [the intensity] a little bit?
AHD: Yes, let’s increase!
IM: Okay, so you can see these contractions. This is called a tetanic contraction, because it’s not something that your body is able to create.
AHD: Okay, what kind of contraction?
IM: Tetanic. We don’t engage any kind of nerve system with this, so your brain doesn’t know what’s going on.
AHD: That’s about right!
AHD: Does it improve the lymphatics immediately? Because it feels less tight, the fat on [the stomach].
IM: It does a little. It improves the microcirculation because obviously with the muscles you do stimulate the circulation, so you will see an improvement. It does give a little bit of lymphatic drainage.
AHD: So, that was StimSure. A really interesting treatment. Very easy to tolerate. I mean, I’m not seeing any difference in my stomach yet—because you need four or six of these treatments to make an actual difference—so I will carry on and see what it will do.
AHD: I hope you enjoyed watching that—and got an idea of what this technology is and how it can work—and I’ll see you on another Tweak of the Week.