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If you watch television or read magazines, chances are you have been exposed to some marketing for CoolSculpting, a body sculpting treatment that freezes and kills fat cells. CoolSculpting has been around for over ten years and was approved by the FDA for body sculpting of the flanks in 2010, the stomach in 2012 and thighs in 2014. For many years I worked in an office that had me convinced that freezing fat was not effective and to dissolve fat it needed to be heated, so I never gave it a second thought.
Last year my interest got piqued when a few friends of mine bought the technology for their medspas so I decided to give it a shot. I figured if they believed in the technology then it must be worth it. I had a couple of areas of stubborn fat that wouldn’t go away so I volunteered for a training and set aside a day to get treated. I met with Jessica St. Jean, RN at Laser Aesthetic in Methuen, Massachusetts, and had a full consult and was given all the pertinent information on what to expect. I anticipated spending about 35-45 minutes per “cycle” to be treated and I expected to get around a 25-30% reduction of fat in the treated areas.
Here’s what really happened:
I did not take into consideration the following when planning my time for the day: photos, time between cycles, and the massage post-treatment. Pre-treatment photos are always taken and they are taken from several angles. A bit time consuming but pictures don’t lie and people forget what they used to look like so they are a must for any aesthetic treatment. After photos comes the fun part. I started with my love handles and did one side at a time. Each side did take about 35 minutes for the actual treatment, but getting the area into the suction can be trying and then once it has been completed there is the clean up and the massage. After my love handles I did my back “bra fat”, that awful bulge below the bra strap that drives me crazy. I had to lie on my side for the suction to attach to my fat properly so I was not entirely comfortable but Jessica surrounded me with pillows to help with the situation. All in all, each area took almost one full hour so I spent the better part of my day on the bed being treated.
I was not fully prepared for the massage. I am not going to lie. It hurt. Not in a painful way like you broke your arm kind of pain, but a deep muscle kind of pain. The kind that hurts while it’s happening but then it stops and you feel completely fine. The massage is necessary to break up the frozen fat so it can begin the process of dissolving and exiting your body. By the time I left I felt completely fine, although the areas were cold, and went along my daily business. No uncomfortable garments and no complicated instructions. My part was easy!
My expectation was that I would see results anywhere from 30-90 days post-treatment. I did not expect to see any immediate changes and I did not expect a noticeable difference in my appearance. Boy was I wrong! Within one week I noticed that my pants fit differently and that I was no longer fiddling with my bra all day. One week!! Over the next 30-90 days it continued to improve and I can honestly say that my results are a 40-50% reduction of fat in the treated areas.
Is this treatment for everyone? No it is not. But I do believe that CoolSculpting works for those with stubborn areas of fat that do not go away with diet and exercise. CoolSculpting is a great alternative if you do not want surgery or downtime. My best advice is to get a consultation and let the experts determine if it is right for you. I am happy with my results and I am happy I did not have to go under the knife. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…..