What can the world of tweakments offer to improve the stomach area - the zone of the body that people are the most keen to work on, according to research from Mintel? The first episode of Healthista's Transformation Tuesday Tweakments series, for which I have been interviewing top cosmetic practitioners from around the UK, looked at fat-freezing, specifically CoolSculpting, which can permanently reduce up to 27 per cent of the fat in the treated area. You can read that blog and see that video here.
Body contouring - without surgery
This week, I'm talking to Dr Rita Rakus about a new body contouring tweakment which not only works on reducing the fat in the tummy area, but also - and mostly - aims to build stronger abdominal muscles at the same time. So - what is this new treatment? I asked Dr Rita Rakus , who is global ambassador for the new procedure at her Knightsbridge clinic.
'It’s a brand new technology called EMsculpt, from a company called BTL,' says Dr Rakus, 'and they’ve got a lot of studies to prove what their technology can do.’
How does EMsculpt treatment work?
So how does EMsculpt work? You like down and have a large oval panel device placed on your tummy, which covers the all the muscles in the area. This panel is attached to a large machine beside the treatment bed, and uses which uses electro-magnetic waves to send pulses of energy into your muscles.
How much energy? An awful lot. ‘EMsculpt will make you do 20,000 super-maximal contractions in 30 minutes,’ says Dr Rakus. The idea is that within half a dozen treatments, this will enable you to build a six-pack stomach. But what if you're not ultra lean? 'EMsculpt is the only machine that can reduce fat while building muscle,' says Dr Rakus. So you get a two-part effect.
Does EMsculpt treatment hurt?
It sounds impressive – but it also sounds impossible to get any muscle to contract 20,000 times in 30 minutes. How much does it hurt?
‘When I had my first treatment I was wasn't sure if I could cope with it,’ says Dr Rakus. 'But it’s good because it doesn’t target pain receptors, it only targets the muscle, so it feels very intense, but it is not actually painful.’
‘Also, you can adjust the intensity of the contractions from 0-100. That means your first treatment can be tailored to suit you. So if you are a bit nervous or it feels a bit intense, you can take the treatment up to level 50 or 60, and do the treatment at that level. And then when you have the next one, you can go up to 100 – and we usually give you a free treatment at the end if you were a bit nervous in the beginning, so that you get the full benefit.’
‘In between the contractions, you get a relaxation phase, which delivers a slower, tapping pulse into the muscles that have just been worked, to knock out the tension, before the next blast of contractions.’
How many EMsculpt treatments do you need to see results?
‘You should have four treatments, either twice a week over four weeks, or once a week over four weeks,’ says Dr Rakus. ‘You will see a result at once but then you see the maximum result four to six weeks after your final session.’
‘The beauty of it is that not only does it give you a six-pack, it gives you much better posture, too,' says Dr Rakus. 'There are many reports of reduced back pain after a course of treatment. And the secret second part of it is, that this treatment can be used on your bottom, so it can lift your bottom.’
And EMsculpt isn't just for the stomach
‘As you know a lot of these treatments for improving the contours of the bottom have been quite dangerous, there have even been deaths associated with various operations on the bottom, whereas this will build the muscle on your bottom, lift it, create more muscle and a more natural-looking bottom rather than some of the ones we have seen around, which look a little obvious.
‘It’s like the lips, bottoms can look too obvious if they have procedures to make them over-filled. But this is a whole new generation of treatment. So you are getting proper muscle building, as well as a better aesthetic result. It is very exciting.’
What is it like to try Emsculpt?
Alice Hart-Davis writes: It was challenging! I have only done one session of it, and it was challenging! I didn’t make it to more than 65 per cent of the potential treatment intensity, either.
With the paddle strapped on to my middle, there was no way of escaping the overwhelming pulses of electromagnetic energy which forced my stomach muscles, the whole length of them from my ribs to my hips, into what from the outside looked and felt like one long contraction.
It wasn’t painful, but even at a far from maximal intensity, it felt about as much as I could take. What I hadn’t expected was that the sensation would be so strange that I got the giggles and spent most of the session helpless with laughter, especially at strange knock-knock-knock pulse of the relaxation phase.
Afterwards, my abs didn’t look any different, and they weren’t sore (thank goodness).
And I know I’d only done one session but interestingly, the next day at the gym, I felt more in control of the crunches and reverse curls and all the other abdominal exercises that I was trying to do. Could the Emsculpt be helping already?