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The Bend Magazine

Emsculpt: A Muscle Builder and a Fat Burner

By: Halcyon Med Spa

A Halcyon client, a mid-30s mother of two, asked us about Emsculpt six months before we ever considered adding it to our practice. We had heard of the device, but were skeptical about its appeal to “real people” outside of the Hollywood bubble. Then again, Drew Barrymore had endorsed Emsculpt. That caught our eye. She has always had a reputation for being straightforward about her life and weight-gain challenges.

And our client made some good points. After two pregnancies, she had diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) and core weakness. The time she devoted to her children left her little personal time and her muscle tone was depleted. She wanted stronger abdominal muscles, a firmer butt and less back pain. 

Innovation Backed by Science

Emsculpt is not a different version of an existing device. It’s a totally new technology. High-intensity focused electromagnetic technology, (HIFEM) is closer to the magnetic fields utilized by something like an MRI machine. The HIFEM energy induces powerful supramaximal muscle contractions that build muscle cells in both quantity and size much more quickly than could be achieved by voluntary muscle contractions during typical strength training. 

Let’s talk about some of these terms. Adding muscles cells is called muscle hyperplasia, the creation of new protein strands and muscle fibers. Emsculpt also initiates growth of muscle cells, muscle hypertrophy, which is the growth of existing myofibrils.

Supramaximal is another term you will hear frequently if you’re researching Emsculpt. It refers to high tension muscle contractions that exceed the highest amount of tension your muscles can exert and hold under normal conditions (maximal voluntary contractions). HIFEM energy penetrates through skin to impact fat, as well as muscle tissues. Once penetrated, the energy induces 20,000 supramaximal muscle contractions that are accompanied by a rapid metabolic reaction in fat cells to not only strengthen and build muscle, but also reduce fat. It’s the only technology that builds muscle and burns fat simultaneously, all while leaving the surrounding tissues unaffected. 

Affect Both Muscle and Fat

“The current approach to body shaping is through circumferential reduction, and we love that; however, muscle tone affects overall body contour,” explained Angelica Jackson, PA of Halcyon Med Spa. “Muscle contraction via Emsculpt goes beyond simply melting fat on the legs, stomach, arms, etc. It stimulates muscle growth that not only translates to strength gains, it will help women recover core strength after pregnancy. Most people suffering back pain will also benefit from improved core strength, which Emsculpt can provide.” 

That strength building component, which our client was seeking, is what influenced our decision to add it to our services. It’s a perfect solution for men and women. Melting fat with a procedure like truSculpt iD is very helpful. But add a muscle building procedure like Emsculpt to one’s routine will remove pockets of fat and strengthen the underlying muscles. For individuals who are physically fit, Emsculpt is a tool they could explore to put the crowning touches on all their hard work. Combining the two modalities, or “stacking” procedures, is something that we will be offering to those who want high-impact muscle building and fat loss results, in less time.

Overwhelming Success Rate

Relaxing for a half-hour while the machine performs the equivalent of 20,000 crunches, squats, curls or tricep extensions in a single appointment seemed too good to be true. But studies conducted on Emsculpt have shown +16% increase in muscle mass, and -19% reduction in targeted fat. And the success rate is overwhelming, with a 96% average success rate among patients. The residual effect of increasing the metabolic rate of the targeted muscles is fat cell loss, as fatty acids leak out much faster with the accelerated muscle mass gain. 

As enthusiastic as we are about Emsculpt, as always, we always council our patients to maintain realistic expectations. While it’s safe for all body types, high BMI individuals will be better served by dietary or surgical intervention for fat loss before they could hope to see improvement to muscle tone. Excess fat will obscure muscle definition, so that must be addressed first. To get the most out of your investment, you will want to pair Emsculpt with healthful habits and good choices.

While the treatment is relatively painless, the contractions are intense, and following our staff training, we can confirm that you’ll have muscle soreness following a treatment. Most people will require 4 treatments, spaced two weeks apart. In addition to the many reasons we’re excited about Emsculpt, the fact that it has been cleared to treat more areas of the body makes it a more useful procedure to more people.

Kim Kardashian may be getting attention having Emsculpt on camera, but our original client who wanted it to improve her diastasis recti is just looking forward to being a stronger, fitter mom. And we’re looking forward to bringing this amazing strength and muscle-building technology to South Texas.


Halcyon Med Spa is solely owned and operated by Dr. Lonnie Schwirtlich. All medical services are performed by Master Injectors Angelica Jackson, a Board Certified PA trained in Dermatology, and Heather Lenhart Orr, a Family Nurse Practitioner.