Emsculpt & Emsculpt Neo: Gain Muscle and Loose Fat

Stimulate muscle contractions with high-intensity, focused electromagnetic waves (HIFEM)
Last updated on
February 4, 2024

Burn fat and build muscle with electromagnetic energy

What is Emsculpt?

Emsculpt is a TGA-approved, non-surgical method for body contouring that enhances muscle mass and reduces fat. Using high-intensity, focused electromagnetic waves (HIFEM), it stimulates muscle contractions, outperforming traditional exercise in activating a greater number of muscle fibers.

This non-invasive therapy can firm up, refine, and amplify the major muscle groups in the stomach and glutes, along with other regions like the arms, thighs, and lower legs. The outcome is improved muscle tone and a decrease in overall size.

What is Emsculpt Neo?

Emsculpt Neo is an advanced, TGA-approved device that pairs intensified HIFEM (High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic) energy; offering up to 20% more electromagnetic pulses than its predecessor, with radiofrequency (RF) waves for optimized fat burning.

For individuals with more than an inch of fat or a higher Body Mass Index (BMI), Emsculpt Neo may be a better choice due to the added RF element that helps with fat burning.

This revolutionary device is cleared to treat all the areas that the original Emsculpt could. However, treatments on the arms, calves, and buttocks are usually performed without the RF heat feature to prevent size loss.

Released in September 2022, Emsculpt Neo introduced a new attachment named the Edge, specifically engineered to firm up the oblique muscles on either side of your abs. This not only enhances your core stability but also helps mitigate back pain.

For optimal results when using the original Emsculpt, get 4 half-hour sessions spread across 2 weeks. But, when using the Emsculpt Neo a single 30-minute weekly treatment repeated for 4 weeks should suffice.

Both devices can also help treat diastasis recti, the separation of abdominal muscles caused by pregnancy. These are the only non-surgical options proven to be effective in treating this condition. While many medical professionals continue to promote tummy tucks for significant abdominal muscle separation, Emsculpt presents a viable non-surgical alternative.

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What are the pros & cons of Emsculpt?


  • These non-invasive procedures can be performed without anesthesia and have zero recovery time.
  • Both methods excel in simultaneously enhancing muscle tone and decreasing fat, making them excellent choices for those aiming for a contoured physique and stronger muscles.
  • These treatments are compatible with every skin shade and type, presenting no side effects beyond momentary muscle fatigue, comparable to post-workout soreness.
  • Emsculpt Neo goes a step further than the original, clinical evidence suggests it outperforms fat-freezing procedures like CoolSculpting.


  • Patients with more than one inch of fat might find limited results with the original Emsculpt model. The fat layer can interfere with the magnetic field, lessening the muscle contraction intensity. If you have a higher BMI, it is advisable to go with Emsculpt Neo instead.
  • Similar to other body contouring therapies, neither of these treatments is designed as a weight-loss solution.
  • Optimal results typically require 4 sessions within a fortnight, followed by ongoing maintenance.
  • The best results are usually seen around 3 months after the final session. This time is required for the new muscle tissue to grow and for the decomposition of surplus fat cells.
Melon Hint: Both Emsculpt and Emsculpt Neo do not tighten the skin. For skin looseness, surgical or non-surgical procedures to remove surplus skin would be more appropriate. Moreover, these treatments do not effectively treat cellulite; if that is your main objective, consider Emtone as an alternative.

How much does Emsculpt cost?

Average Cost: $800

Range: $200 - $3,900

Anticipate spending between $200 and $400 for an individual session. For the best outcomes, practitioners advise starting with a set of 4 Emsculpt treatments, spaced a week apart.

To sustain your results, plan to allocate funds for upkeep sessions twice a year.

Many providers will also offer buy now pay later solutions like Afterpay to help fund your treatment.

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What are the potential risks and side effects of Emsculpt and Emsculpt Neo?

Although no adverse reactions to Emsculpt have been identified, it's worth noting that this procedure, introduced in mid-2018, is still in its infancy. As a result, the prolonged effects of high-intensity electromagnetic energy on internal organs remain under study. 

Emsculpt Neo, an even more recent version, also has not seen significant side effects documented.

Emsculpt has so far been deemed safe. However, medical professionals advise against using it if you are expecting, have an electronic device like a pacemaker implanted near the treatment area, or suffer from heart-related issues, seizures, or other health concerns that may render the electromagnetic waves harmful.

Those with metal components, such as a copper IUD or a hip replacement, close to the application area should steer clear of Emsculpt. This is because the device's strong electromagnetic field could either heat the metal or displace it.

The science behind Emsculpt and Emsculpt Neo

How Emsculpt works

  • A single half-hour session of Emsculpt triggers close to 20,000 muscle contractions, akin to the crunches during a gym workout.
  • Constant contractions without breaks place tension on muscle tissues, initiating cellular renewal that facilitates fast muscle development.
  • To fuel these numerous muscle contractions, adjacent fat cells undergo disintegration through a mechanism known as lipolysis.
  • These compromised fat cells discharge their contents in the form of free fatty acids and eventually perish. Your body's immune system then naturally expels these cells in the weeks and months that follow.

How Emsculpt Neo works

  • This upgraded device delivers as many as 24,000 muscle contractions in a single treatment, thanks to its increased electromagnetic capabilities.
  • In addition, the device incorporates patented radiofrequency (RF) heating technology, exclusive to Emsculpt Neo. The RF energy enhances blood flow to muscle tissues, thereby boosting the muscle fibre count and overall muscle mass. Research indicates that Emsculpt Neo stimulates muscle-originating stem cells in a manner akin to 12 weeks of resistance training.
  • The heat energy also increases the temperature of the fat layer slightly above 42°C, the critical point at which fat cells start deteriorating. These decaying fat cells are then processed and naturally expelled by the body over the ensuing weeks, resulting in permanent fat reduction.
  • This dual action of muscle toning and fat burning paves the way for a more muscular, streamlined physique.

The benefits don't stop after your last treatment, expect muscle growth and fat reduction to persist for approximately 4 months afterwards.

Melon Hint: Emsculpt has gained traction as a non-invasive alternative to a butt lift. While it doesn't offer the same level of projection as a surgical Brazilian butt lift, which involves liposuction and fat transfer, it does tighten and elevate the buttocks through muscle development, making it an attractive option for healthy individuals seeking a perkier butt.

Who can get Emsculpt?

Emsculpt is most effective for individuals with less than one inch of pinchable fat in the area targeted for treatment. It's an excellent option for anyone aiming to increase muscle and core strength together with fat reduction.

Contrastingly, Emsculpt Neo accommodates patients with a BMI as high as 35, more than most other non-invasive body-shaping solutions.

Both procedures are compatible with all skin types.

What occurs during an Emsculpt or Emsculpt Neo session?

What happens during Emsculpt

  • Each appointment will take roughly 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the targeted area.
  • You begin by laying flat before the machine applicators are securely fastened.
  • For your first Emsculpt treatment, your medical provider will start the machine at minimal intensity.
  • Once the device starts emitting concentrated electromagnetic waves to the targeted muscles, you'll experience strong muscle contractions.
  • While the sensation is not painful, it can feel a bit weird, similar to working out without actually exerting yourself. Some individuals even laugh at the feeling.

What happens during Emsculpt Neo

  • An Emsculpt Neo session is quite similar to the original, though you'll also experience the heat from the radiofrequency, which should peak within the initial 4 minutes.
  • To avoid burns, skin temperature monitoring is facilitated by a sensor in each applicator. Your practitioner will also routinely touch base to manage your comfort.
  • The intensity will be slowly ramped up based on your pain threshold. By the end of the first treatment, the majority of patients manage to sustain a high level of intensity, a setting recommended for optimal outcomes. As you become accustomed to the treatment, starting at elevated levels may become possible.
  • The Emsculpt equipment will trigger hundreds or even thousands of muscle contractions in a mere matter of seconds.
  • These contractions will oscillate between different settings: some fast and gentle, others more intense.
  • Toward the tail end of your session, the muscle contractions will become deliberate yet focused, calibrated to purge toxins and lactic acid produced during the treatment, thus mitigating potential soreness.

There is no downtime post-treatment. It's normal to feel an exercise kind of soreness, but it should dissipate in a day or two. If your muscles feel drained, consider giving them a breather before resuming regular exercise.

How many Emsculpt treatment sessions do you need?

Typically, individuals require a set of 4x 30-minute sessions, with the sessions booked every 2 to 3 days, to achieve the best outcomes.

Effectiveness generally levels off after the fourth treatment, making additional treatments possibly redundant in terms of added benefits.

To maximize the outcomes after a set of Emsculpt treatments, make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with a good diet and exercise. Also, remember to book maintenance appointments twice a year.

What results can you expect from Emsculpt?

Emsculpt results

BTL, the company behind Emsculpt, has conducted numerous clinical trials highlighting the effectiveness of their original Emsculpt machine. 

These studies revealed an average muscle mass gain of around 16% and a fat reduction of approximately 19% after 4 treatments.

In an extensive study, participants initially unsatisfied with their butt's appearance experienced an impressive 85% improvement in shape and firmness after undergoing four Emsculpt sessions. 

Furthermore, the therapy led to an average waistline reduction of 3.29 cm after the four sessions. Interestingly, 3 months post-treatment, there was an additional reduction, totalling a loss of 4.37 cm.

Emsculpt Neo results

BTL-backed clinical studies spotlight an average 30% fat reduction in the targeted regions and a notable 25% boost in muscle mass. A month after the treatment, there was also a decrease of up to 5.9 cm in waist measurements. 

Additionally, the studies observed a 19% decrease in abdominal muscle separation, making it beneficial for individuals with diastasis recti.

Can Emsculpt help you lose weight?

Similar to other body sculpting procedures, Emsculpt isn't primarily designed for weight loss. 

Emsculpt yields an average fat reduction of about 19% in the targeted area, while Emsculpt Neo showcases a 30% decrease. However, a 2019 study from the Journal of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery suggests that there's likely no substantial change in overall weight. 

It is noteworthy that optimal candidates for the traditional Emsculpt treatment are typically close to their desired weight. Conversely, Emsculpt Neo is capable of assisting patients with a BMI as high as 35.

When will I see results after Emsculpt?

Individuals with an active lifestyle might begin noticing subtle enhancements just days after their initial session. 

Upon completing the advised set of 4 sessions, suitable candidates should observe more muscle definition, increased strength, and less fat in the areas treated. The final outcome typically shows around the 3-month mark. 

Optimal results might require a longer period of time, particularly in regions with a higher body fat concentration. Muscle development is a gradual process; a single gym visit doesn't instantly equate to strength and definition. The process of muscle gain extends over several months. Similarly, apoptosis —, the decomposition of fat cells, spans over a few months.

How long do Emsculpt results last?

Similar to other non-invasive procedures, the results from Emsculpt are not permanent. Their longevity depends on consistent exercise, particularly resistance workouts, and biannual follow-up sessions.

What are some other procedures similar to Emsculpt?

While a variety of fat-reduction therapies utilize cold, heat, or ultrasound, Emsculpt stands out as the only method that both burns fat and builds muscle. This dual effect allows it to serve as a supplementary treatment alongside other fat-reduction procedures.

CoolSculpting leverages intense cold to target and eliminate fat deposits beneath the skin. Although it is TGA-approved for several body areas, the fundamental difference is that it is singularly focused on fat elimination and doesn't promote muscle growth. 

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery that removes fat through a suction tube. Given its surgical nature, it involves anesthesia, incisions, and a recovery period. Nevertheless, its outcomes are more pronounced, earning it a slightly higher satisfaction compared to Emsculpt.

Sources & Studies

Busso, M & Denkova, R 2019, ‘High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic (HIFEM) Field Therapy Used for NonInvasive Buttock Augmentation and Lifting: Feasibility Study’, Journal of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, vol. 5, no. 1, viewed 7 September 2023, <https://aesthetic-reconstructive-surgery.imedpub.com/highintensity-focused-electromagnetic-hifem-field-therapy-used-for-non-invasive-buttock-augmentation-and-lifting-feasibility-study.pdf>.

Jacob, CI, Kinney, BM, Busso, M, Chilukuri, S, McCoy, JD, Bailey, C & Radina Denkova 2018, ‘High Intensity Focused Electro-Magnetic Technology (HIFEM) for Non-Invasive Buttock Lifting and Toning of Gluteal Muscles: A Multi-Center Efficacy and Safety Study’, Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, vol. 17, National Institutes of Health, no. 11, pp. 1229–1232, viewed 7 September 2023, <https://jddonline.com/articles/high-intensity-focused-electro-magnetic-technology-hifem-for-non-invasive-buttock-lifting-and-toning-S1545961618P1229X/>.

Jacob, CI & Paskova, K 2018, ‘Safety and efficacy of a novel high-intensity focused electromagnetic technology device for noninvasive abdominal body shaping’, Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 783–787, viewed 7 September 2023, <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30225976/>.

Kinney, BM & Lozanova, P 2018, ‘High intensity focused electromagnetic therapy evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging: Safety and efficacy study of a dual tissue effect based non-invasive abdominal body shaping’, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 40–46, viewed 7 September 2023, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6585690/>.

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