There comes a time in our lives where no matter how much we work out or lift weights, achieving muscle tone becomes harder and harder. So, I decided to try out Emsculpt Neo, the latest technology from BTL that builds muscle and reduces fat permanently (and is taking over Instagram) to see if it’s worth the hype.
I turned to Dr. Clara Hurst, co-founder of my new favorite skincare brand, The Secret and owner of aesthetic medical clinic, Blanc located in Australia, for some clarity on why this happens—especially as we age.
“Natural levels of collagen and elastin begin to slowly decline, resulting is skin that is prone to sagging. We also tend to lose subcutaneous fat (the fat stored just under your skin) and experience some degree of bone loss, which can contribute to a loosening of the skin,” Hurst tells me. Hormones also play a part in making it more challenging to build and maintain muscle as we age. “That’s why it’s so important to work your muscles regularly, particularly as you age—if you don’t use it, you lose it!”
Of course, not all individuals who are aging suffer from this problem. But in addition to hormones, sun exposure, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, smoking, pollution, and fluctuations in weight can also contribute to skin looking saggy.
“Genetic factors also play a big role,” continues Hurst. “As we get older, people who are very thin may experience more skin sagging compared than others around their age. This can be due to having a lower body fat percentage, as more fat under the skin serves to make it look more smooth and supple!” Men also have an advantage due to having higher levels of testosterone, which can create thicker looking skin that can make it appear firmer. “A loss of skin elasticity can be more pronounced in women due to the fact our skin is thinner and more prone to fine lines.”
“Emsculpt Neo is the first FDA-cleared device on the market to patent and combine electromagnetic energy with radiofrequency heat to synergistically produce more muscle and reduce fat,” Nicole Stern, founder of VANA Laser Club tells me. “There is no other manufacturer or company that is producing, let alone proving the same results. BTL has over seven peer-reviewed publications and numerous clinical studies that involve MRI, CT scans, and histological data scientifically proving the results of their technology.”
While I have had several energy-based aesthetic treatments through the years, I was unfamiliar with BTL as a brand. The company launched in the Czech Republic 27 years ago and became available in the United States about ten years ago. “Emsculpt Neo launched in April 2019 at the American Society of Laser and Surgical medicine—the big science show that highlights recent innovations. All of the genius brains go for scientific technology. We attended and showcased the Emsculpt Neo and introduced it with 5 published papers,” shares John Ferris, VP of Marketing at BTL.
Emsculpt has a few iterations as technology has advanced through the years. The older version, Emsculpt Muscle, simply had the HIFEM that simulates roughly 20,000 supramaximal muscle contractions in the 30-minute treatment session. Studies have found results yield a 16% increase in muscle mass and 19% reduction in fat that delivers a leaner and firmer treatment area.
The Emsculpt Neo version was built with the premise to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously. “It’s the first time the two technologies were combined,” explains Ferris. The platform utilizes radio frequency (RF) technology with BTL’s branded HIFEM (high-intensity focused electromagnetic) energy. “It’s the pulse change and configurations with the addition of RF synchronized. It provides unrivaled results. There are irrefutable studies using MRI, Ultrasound, and CT scans that proved that this machine was producing more muscle and reducing fat.”
I decided to have my stomach and inner thighs treated. The treatment sessions are 30-minutes each once a week for four weeks. “The most popular treatment areas are the abdomen and buttock,” Stern tells me. “With four treatments, men and women are seeing less overlying fat and more clearly defined muscles. The abdomen is slimmer and their core is visibly stronger. The gluteal muscles are lifted and the outward extension is enhanced. Emsculpt Neo just received FDA clearance to treat the inner and outer thigh and arms!”
Having the stomach area treated was a breeze. It feels a little odd at first, but it is mimicking around 20,000 sit-ups so I expected to feel something. My results were a visibly slimmer and more toned abdominal region. While the results for the inner thigh were equally impressive, that treatment area was a lot more sensitive. What’s interesting is that even after the last treatment, it takes an additional 5-6 weeks to see the full effects. “It’s the apoptotic effect,” explains Ferris. “Systemically it takes that much time to see maximum results in fat reduction and up to 12 weeks for muscle growth.” I am quite pleased with my results and I would definitely have other body areas treated in the future.
When I ask Stern what the demographics are across her four south Florida locations she tells me that her current customer base is 80% women and 20% men. “Although we are seeing an upward trend of men looking to enhance their professional capabilities whether that be on the golf course or on the baseball field. The Emsculpt Neo is a triple threat; safe, effective and most importantly built on the foundation of science. We believe it will remain a gold standard for fat reduction and muscle toning for quite some time.” Ferris adds, “We have some major announcements coming. We’ve introduced a new device almost every year and we will continue to be the innovator in the market.” I’m excited to see what they come out with next.