The Truth About Emsculpt

Abs are made in the kitchen, or so the old adage goes, but that doesn't stop us putting in hours upon hours at the gym trying to get them to look as defined as possible. However, the noninvasive, FDA-approved body-sculpting treatment known as Emsculpt might just get you abs for the right price.

According to Healthline, the process works by using high-intensity electromagnetic energy to build muscle and tone whichever area of the body it's focused on (typically the abs or butt). The company itself claims Emsculpt increases muscle mass by up to 16 percent while reducing the waistline by around 19 percent. But can it really be true? Can you really buy abs?

The Emsculpt procedure won't hurt as much as sit-ups

The Emsculpt procedure itself involves nothing more than a rubber pad being placed on the area you want toned, which produces electromagnetic waves that cause your muscles to involuntarily contract, thereby triggering the release of free fatty acids, which in turn breaks down fat deposits and increases muscle tone. On the upside, it shouldn't hurt too much (plus it's easier than doing a sit-up). In fact, dermatologist Dr. Margo Weishar explained, "It would be like doing 20,000 sit-ups in 30 minutes — well beyond the capacity of the most ambitious workout."  

The body responds, similar to how it does with exercise, by rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue. Also similar to a big workout, you'll feel sore afterwards. Dermatologist Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson made it clear, however, that we shouldn't expect miracles as, "It is not a fat-directed therapy."

A full treatment consists of four 30-minute sessions (twice per week), but the results aren't permanent. You'll need to be on a six-month maintenance schedule to keep things tight. The biggest downside is that these faux abs don't come cheap, with sessions costing around $750 each.

The reviews are good but more research into Emsculpt is required

While no side effects have been reported, some experts are worried about how the electromagnetic waves might be damaging the internal organs, and how that damage will present in later life. It's worth noting, however, that first person reviews of the procedure in both Byrdie and Women's Health are overwhelmingly positive. 

Likewise, dermatologist Dr. Arash Akhavan told Women's Health, "The patient satisfaction is huge," with fellow dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, MD, agreeing, saying, "I see about five patients per day, and none have had any complaints." Dr. Nussbaum even advised, "Half notice an immediate effect after one treatment, but 84 percent report a significant difference one month after completing the series; 90 percent, three months after."

Emsculpt may soon become one of those secrets your plastic surgeon wishes you didn't know about. Still, as annoying as it is, the best way to combat belly fat or a saggy butt is a clean diet and regular workout routine. But, if you've got the cash handy, Emsculpt could help you reach your goals quicker.