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We give the Emsculpt Neo a shot

It’s the latest in non-invasive body contouring techniques, and is said to burn fat and build muscle, all while you’re lying down.

It’s a strange feeling to be lying completely still and relaxed while a machine involuntarily contracts your abdominal muscles 20,000 times in 30 minutes. “I usually only get this physical sensation when I’m sweating and working out in the gym,” I tell the clinic’s therapist controlling the device.

I’m in the comfortable confines of Mendis Aesthetics and the apparatus on my stomach is the new Emsculpt Neo device. Dr Rohan Mendis was Asia’s first recipient of this machine and the only one to offer the non-invasive treatment when it first arrived last November.

The successor to the highly popular Emsculpt, Emsculpt Neo is said to combine both fat removal and muscle contouring benefits in one go. The technology making this possible: high-intensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) waves blended with radio-frequency heating.

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According to Dr Mendis, the radio- frequency heating rapidly raises muscle temperature, similar to how you warm up before a workout. At the same time, the fat cells go through apoptosis and are gradually expelled from the body.

After heating, the HIFEM waves go to work, rapidly contracting and releasing the muscle fibres. It’s akin to doing rather extreme crunches.

This heating-contracting process takes place multiple times in one treatment and as strange as it sounds, it is more discomforting when you have less fat. I was sweating 15 minutes into the session and had to distract myself with conversation. Some recipients, however, nap right through a session, says my therapist.

According to a clinical trial presented at the 2020 American Society for Dermatologic Surgery meeting, 40 of the 48 participants who used Emsculpt Neo for three months lost up to 30 per cent of fat and built 25 per cent more muscle in the targeted area.

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Anecdotally, I saw a significant difference in the tone and definition of my abdominal muscles after one session. “Of course, you’ll have to pair the treatments with a clean diet,” Dr Mendis advises.

Emsculpt Neo is not a cure-all. It cannot mitigate an unhealthy or sedentary lifestyle and will not magically give you a core that would be the envy of Adonis. However, for those looking to lose stubborn love handles or reduce those final few centimetres in problem areas, the machine is incredibly effective at achieving your desired physique.

That’s probably one of the reasons why the treatment is currently the most popular in the clinic, even among fitness buffs, says Dr Mendis, who counts actor and TV host Allan Wu as one of his regular clients. Besides the core, Emsculpt Neo also works on your derriere, legs and arms.

The Emsculpt Neo treatment costs $1,200 for one session. Dr Mendis recommends that you go for at least four rounds, with five days of rest in between each one.

Mendis Aesthetics is at 04-17 Mandarin Gallery, tel: 6235-1728.

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