Mind & Body

Emsculpt: The miracle machine everyone’s talking about

It’s the latest muscle-toning, stomach-flattening, body-contouring treatment that has doctors – and clients – raving about the results. NEWBY HANDS discovers if Emsculpt lives up to the hype


What is Emsculpt?

“I was skeptical as it sounded too good to be true,” dermatologist Dr Heidi Waldorf tells me from her clinic in New York. “But when I tried it myself, I had my credit card out [to buy the machine] before I’d even got fully dressed.” It’s easy to see why Emsculpt has caused such excitement: the promise of doing nothing while your stomach or butt muscles do the equivalent of 20,000 sit-ups is beyond tempting. And though it does indeed sound too good to be true, this wonder machine’s results are backed up with extensive clinical trials and FDA clearance.

Unlike classic muscle-toning machines, Emsculpt uses electromagnetic technology to contract the entire muscle to a degree that’s physically impossible to do in the gym. A sit-up works about 40% of your muscle; Emsculpt works 100%, plus it helps the body burn around 19% of overlying fat. “It seems to work faster on those who workout,” says Dr Galyna Selezneva, who treated me at the Dr Rita Rakus Clinic in London. “And when you treat the stomach, you also get that nice pull in at the waist.”


What happens during the Emsculpt treatment?

While you lie back and relax, a large flat paddle is strapped to your stomach and the intensity is dialed up, ideally to 100 (on my first session I managed 90; on my second I hit 100). The sensation begins like a strong contraction; over the next 30 minutes it works up to a vice-like grip that holds your stomach rigid for seconds at a time. Interspersed with some so-called ‘relaxing tapping’ (think a woodpecker on your belly), the experience is uncomfortable but not painful. You’ll get used to the feeling over the four, twice-weekly treatments (followed by top-ups every six months, with each session costing from £750). Morning sessions of Emsculpt when you’re more energetic are easier to bear, but overall my muscles didn’t feel tired or sore afterwards.

Does Emsculpt work?

While pretty universally acclaimed, it seems some of us respond faster to Emsculpt than others. Dr Waldorf says that it helped her long-term back issues after one treatment by strengthening her core, while another friend reports it took a couple of sessions for her to see a real difference. I do four hours exercise a week but for me it was longer – at least 10 days after my fourth session – but then it worked literally overnight: one day my stomach was rounded, the next morning it was sucked in and with the sort of definition I’d last seen after four days detoxing at the Mayr Clinic. In short? I’m convinced.

Three months on…

Not only am I still seeing results, I have noticed that I’m stronger in my yoga and Pilates classes. Any movement or exercise that requires me to use my deeper stomach muscles is easier for me now. Even those dreaded Pilates roll-ups are a piece of cake – I can do them for ages. Basically, the results are exactly as Emsculpt claims; the treatment has significantly strengthened my stomach muscles and core.

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown.