Can you sculpt yourself a six-pack without setting foot in the gym? Thanks to EMSculpt, a machine that uses electromagnetic waves to force the stomach and glute muscles to contract and relax for 30 minutes at a time, it's now all the more possible. Our Beauty Editorial Director, Katie Service, visited The Wellness Clinic to try it for herself...
Generally, in life, we are taught to believe that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. So it was with great apprehension, and not a little doubt, that I strapped myself in for my first EMSculpt session at The Wellness Clinic, which promised to give me a rippling six-pack and a lifted derrière in just four half-hour sessions. The treatment is the equivalent of doing 20,000 sit-ups in one go, the therapist said. Considering I have never managed more than 10 in a row before, this seemed worth investigating.
Hailed as the non-invasive Botox for the body and the surgery-free butt lift, EMSculpt is already hugely popular in the US, with cosmetic surgeons and athletes lining up to endorse its ability to build muscle tissue. It is recommended for new mums who have experienced abdominal muscle separation, as a less aggressive way to knit those abs back together, and is even prescribed by some surgeons to help strengthen muscles after surgery.
Unlike the vibrating Slendertone machines of 1980s fame, the EMSculpt machine, which looks a bit like a space-age iron, emits an electromagnetic energy field that travels into the muscles, causing them to contract and thus stimulate growth – and, as a welcome side-effect, eliminate fat cells in the stomach. Another bonus is the fact you don’t have to strip off: the waves can pass through fabric, so you stay fully clothed.
"So, the big question: does it work? In a word, yes."Katie Service, Harrods Beauty Editorial Director
While the treatment is genuinely totally painless, I was struck during my first appointment by how similar the peculiar, involuntary muscle-tensing sensation was to a mild labour contraction. However, by the second or third I was able to switch off and, while lying on my front having my buttocks squeezed, almost fell asleep. The beauty of this treatment is that you can’t use your phone for the duration – the electromagnetic waves may scramble it – which forces you to disconnect from emails, relax and generally decompress from the stresses of your day. And, although you haven’t worked up so much as a bead of sweat, in the immediate aftermath you do feel exercised to the extent that you might have been on a brisk walk or done a gentle yoga class.
So, the big question: does it work? In a word, yes. Although you wouldn’t mistake me for Jessica Ennis-Hill, after the treatments, my stomach is noticeably flatter and more solid (firmer than it’s ever been, actually), and has lost a little of the jelly-like surface I’ve found so hard to vanquish post-pregnancy. With my buttocks, the change is less obvious, but they are certainly a little more perky-looking. Better still, the final effects are said to be seen eight weeks after the final course of treatment – and if you throw in a couple of real sit-ups, the firming results will be even better.
By Katie Service