I Did 30,000 Crunches in 30 Minutes With This Treatment (Sorta)

I Did 30,000 Crunches in 30 Minutes With This Treatment (Sorta)

Let’s get one thing clear: There is absolutely nothing wrong with having fat anywhere on your body. But I’ve always loved working smarter, not harder, when it comes to my ~physique~, which is why I’ve been open to testing and reviewing cosmetic body treatments like CoolSculpting, EmSculpt, and now EmSculpt Neo. EmSculpt Neo is is a trendy new body sculpting treatment combines HIFEM energy (more on that below) and radiofrequency to reduce fat on the stomach, arms, legs, and butt and firm the skin in those areas at the same time. So, like, duh, I was v intrigued.

But before I booked an appointment to try to treatment for myself, I had a lot of questions that needed to be answered, so I connected with dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, MD, to get the 4-1-1 on how EmSculpt Neo. Keep reading for Dr. Marcus’s thoughts on the treatment along with my detailed review, below.

Does the EmSculpt Neo really work?

“EmSculpt Neo works by using high intensity electromagnetic—also known as HIFEM—energy to stimulate muscle contractions,” Dr. Marcus says. If you’re doing to treatment on your abs or glutes, it essentially feels like you’re doing crunches or squats nonstop….30,000 for the entire length of the 30 minute-treatment, to be exact.

But what sets it apart is that it also combines radiofrequency energy to heat the fat just under your skin, which basically burns it to help reduce it, as well as stimulate collagen, explains Dr. Marcus. This helps strengthen your muscles while also reducing fat and tightening your skin, which can also help make your body look more “toned” overall (firm skin looks smoother and thinner, generally).

EmSculpt vs EmSculpt Neo: What’s the difference?

EmSculpt Neo and EmSculpt both utilize HIFEM energy to help work out your muscles. However, the difference is that EmSculpt Neo incorporates radiofrequency to potentially help reduce fat and firm your skin a bit over a handful of sessions. But you might not want to decrease fat everywhere necessarily (like your butt, perhaps), which is where some might still prefer to opt for the original EmSculpt.

But keep in mind, this does make EmSculpt Neo treatments a bit more expensive than regular EmSculpt. One cool thing though? You could combine both treatments in one and schedule back-to-back appointments—maybe it’s a 45-minute EmSculpt session on your butt, followed by a 30-minute EmSculpt Neo abdomen treatment. High tech, huh?

What is the downside of Emsculpt Neo?

There aren’t really any downsides or side effects to EmSculpt Neo. After a treatment, you’ll potentially feel some muscle soreness (like the day after a hard workout) and, depending on your skin tone, you might experience some redness in the treatment area for an hour or two afterward. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t get EmSculpt Neo if you have metal implants in your body, a pacemaker, active cancer, epilepsy, and/or certain blood disorders, notes Dr. Marcus.

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How long does EmSculpt Neo last?

EmSculpt Neo results will last indefinitely if combined with a healthy diet and exercise plan, Dr. Marcus says. “As with any kind of muscle strengthening treatment, results need to be maintained as muscles are capable of growth when exercised and atrophy when not used,” she explains. “Typically, we start with four treatments over the course of a month, and then consider a quarterly maintenance treatment as needed.” To help maintain the EmSculpt neo results on my stomach, I’ve added lots of ab workouts to my fitness routine (hi, New York Pilates and Melissa Wood Health, ily).

It’s also worth noting that the results from an EmSculpt Neo treatment take some time to kick in. Some patients see an improvement in their skin tone and elasticity around the six week mark, but most patients can expect full results two to three months post-treatment.

Is EmSculpt or CoolSculpting better?

Neither EmSculpt Neo nor CoolSculpting is “better,” per se; it all comes down to the area you’re treating, says Dr. Marcus. EmSculpt Neo can be great for areas where you want to strengthen your muscles and reduce fat (through heat) simultaneously, like your stomach, legs, or arms. Meanwhile, CoolSculpting, which freezes your fat to help reduce it, might be better for small, precise areas where muscle definition isn’t a factor. Think: under your chin, around your bra line, on your lower back, etc.

FWIW, I’ve tried both CoolSculpting on my chin and EmSculpt Neo on my stomach and inner thighs, and they definitely both have their pros and cons. Personally, I preferred EmSculpt because I found CoolSculpting to be quite painful and resulted in a lot of swelling and redness that lasted for about three weeks. With EmSculpt Neo, I had absolutely no downtime or swelling whatsoever.

Can you see results after one EmSculpt Neo session?

You might be able to see a noticeable, albeit small, result after one EmSculpt Neo session about 45 to 90 days post-treatment, notes Dr. Marcus. But in general, your provider will likely recommend three to four treatments spaced one week apart to get your full results. According to studies, you can potentially expect to gain an average of 25 percent muscle thickness and a 30 percent loss in subcutaneous fat in the treated area after four treatments, Dr. Marcus explains.

Is EmSculpt painful?

In my personal experience (and according to Dr. Marcus), EmSculpt Neo isn’t painful, but it does feel a bit strange. You’ll feel strong muscle contractions, plus a little bit of heat (kind of like a hot stone massage—I actually found that part somewhat relaxing!) in the area you’re being treatment. Plus, Dr. Marcus notes that the energy levels can be adjusted throughout the treatment. Meaning if it ever feels uncomfortable, you can ask your provider to turn down the intensity.

How much does EmSculpt Neo cost?

The cost of EmSculpt Neo ranges depending on your location, the provider, and the area you’re treating. In general thought, you expect to pay about $1,000 per treatment, says Dr. Marcus. And remember: You’ll likely require multiple treatments to get your desired result, so it could come out to be anywhere between $3,000 and $4,000 for all sessions. But some offices will offer discounts if you book them together or combine them for a set discounted price.

Is EmSculpt Neo worth it?

EmSculpt Neo is a total game-changer for strengthening, tightening, firmer, and yup, shrinking. There’s no downtime, and one treatment only takes 30 minutes, during which you can scroll on your phone, read a book, or if you’re really feeling brave, get another procedure like Morpheus8 or Clear and Brilliant done on your face at the same time. But, obviously, it’s definitely pretty expensive and requires about four treatments to see full results.

And even then, it’s never going to replace what healthy foods and an exercise routine can do if you want to gain muscle and/or lose weight. But as a way to level up my wellness routine and get results a lil bit faster? I’m a big fan, so it’s def worth it for me.

Meet the expert:

  • Rebecca Marcus, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at North Dallas Dermatology in Dallas, TX, where she practices medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. She’s also the founder of Maei MD, which features a hero product called Serum 6 that targets hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and more.

Why trust Cosmopolitan?

Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan where she writes about hair, skin, makeup, and nails. She’s written hundreds of articles in her five years in the industry, like how to get rid of cellulite, stretch mark creams, and Daxxify. She tested the EmSculpt Neo treatment herself, then chatted with dermatologists about its efficacy before writing this article.

Headshot of Beth Gillette

Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers skincare, makeup, hair, nails, and more across digital and print. She can generally be found in bright eyeshadow furiously typing her latest feature or hemming and hawing about a new product you “have to try.” Prior to Cosmopolitan, she wrote and edited beauty content as an Editor at The Everygirl for four years. Follow her on Instagram for makeup selfies and a new hair ‘do every few months. 

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