I’m always down to try the latest trends in the aesthetics world. It comes with the territory (and is one of the biggest perks) of being a beauty and lifestyle writer. Lasers, microneedling, botox, filler — you name it, I’ve probably tried it. But when it comes to body contouring treatments, I’d always hesitate. Why? Because I didn’t think they were for me.
I’m 5’11,” size 14, and curvy. I knew no magic machine or treatment would give me rock-solid abs or miraculously take pounds and inches off in no time flat. But then I heard about Emsculpt NEO, and I was intrigued.
One of the latest and buzziest innovations from BTL Aesthetics, Emsculpt NEO combines two therapies in a single, 30-minute treatment session. It’s the first non-invasive device on the market designed to eliminate fat cells and build muscle utilizing a combination of radio frequency heating and high-intensity focused electromagnetic technology, or HIFEM. One session was the equivalent of doing 20,000 sit-ups at home. Sounded promising…
Meet the Experts
Dendy Engelman, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
As a bonus, thanks to the muscle-building benefits of the treatment (it encourages muscle fibers and cells to grow), it can strengthen your abdominal and pelvic muscles, which I hoped would help with my ongoing pelvic and back pain. So, I decided to give it a try.
Trusting that my friends at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue wouldn’t steer me wrong, I learned all about the technology behind Emsculpt NEO thanks to Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, and then scheduled my series of four treatments with Lucia Miranda, a dermatology medical aesthetician.
Here’s what I learned and how it went.
Who’s an ideal candidate for Emsculpt NEO?
Always consult your physician before trying out a treatment — even if it’s noninvasive, like Emsculpt NEO. “The ideal candidate for Emsculpt NEO is an individual who is looking to treat stubborn parts of their body — addressing fat cells and building muscle mass — without having to go under the knife. As long as you are in general good health and have no pre-existing medical conditions, just about any adult is a great candidate for the treatment,” says Dr. Engelman. And ideally, you’re under a BMI of 35.
To see the best results from Emsculpt NEO, it’s recommended to do four 30-minute sessions over four weeks. Results aren’t immediate, because like anything good and lasting — it takes time! The body needs time to react to the therapy, says Dr. Engelman. “Similar to exercising, muscle tissue takes time to build, and multiple sessions are required for optimal results. Internally, your body is taking in the treatment and adjusting to the energy used to target fat cells to reduce their appearance,” she adds.
So don’t be tempted to add more than four, as you can plateau, though, after a year of maintenance, treatments are encouraged to upkeep results.
Like any skincare or body treatment, the price for an Emsculpt NEO session or package can vary greatly depending on the provider and your geographic area. For example, in New York City, Dr. Engelman says patients can expect to pay around $6,000 for a full treatment course of four sessions, while in other areas of the country, clinics offer single sessions starting at about $500 and up.
I’m not one to gate-keep, so I’ll start by saying I am now obsessed with Emsculpt NEO and wish I could do it every week — and not just because it gave me 30 minutes of “me” time. It was so easy: You just lay down, strap a belt on, and slide the service provider places paddle(s) in the appropriate location.
Then, they turn the machine on and work with you to find a comfortable level of intensity. I, as an overachiever, wanted the highest and stayed at the highest. At first, it felt a tiny bit uncomfortable as the contractions were quick and deep, but the heat helped any discomfort dissipate, and I learned actually to love the sensation. After that, it followed a series of patterns for movements, and all I had to do was lay there. I looked forward to each session and brought a book or watched Netflix through each one.
My Emsculpt NEO Results
Though I am still waiting for the three months to pass after my last treatment to assess the full results, I absolutely see and feel the effects now, one month after my last treatment.
My pants fit way better, I am less self-conscious of my “mom” pouch, and the best part for me is that my core feels stronger. It’s almost as though I’m walking a bit straighter and taller. I’m more aware of how I engage my core, and even when sitting, I’m more cognizant of how I support myself.
To be fair, I know there’s maintenance to be done! It’s not just a quick fix, and boom, I’m transformed. So, I’ve committed to a core routine every other day that includes variations of crunches and Pilates poses to maintain and build upon my newfound strength and shape.
For me, Emsculpt was just what I needed to jumpstart my efforts toward being healthier and more confident, and I’m already looking forward to maintenance treatments in the following months.
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