Kim Kardashian West is very open about testing out a variety of skin treatments, from vampire facials to neck-tightening lasers. But any devoted fan of the Keeping Up with the Kardashian star knows that her extensive skincare regimen extends beyond her face. She also makes sure to target the skin on her body with the help from sculpting machine EMSCULPT.
The body-contouring machine gained attention when the mother-of-four tested out the treatment on her reality show in September 2019. And she’s not the only celebrity obsessed with the treatment.
“I love exercising, but after two kids I kept getting injured because I just did not have a core,” Barrymore told PEOPLE last June. “My midsection was like a fish tank and I just kept getting sidelined.”
In fact, many EMSCULPT patients use the non-invasive treatment after “getting sidelined” with health issues like Barrymore.
“EMSCULPT patients range from age 20 to 90 in my practice, but the patients who come in the most and are most excited are late 30s to 50,” says Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist and founder of PFRANKMD, whose patients included Barrymore, Madonna and SoulCycle Founder, Stacey Griffith.
“If you’re over the age of 30, you will realize that your exercise tolerance isn’t what it used to be, and even when you do exercise a lot, achieving the same six-pack, lifted bum, triceps or biceps don’t come as easily as when you’re younger.”
EMSCULPT, first used on the abdominal before expanding into arms, legs and butt areas, uses High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic (HIFEM) energy to target and stimulate the muscle layer and create involuntary contractions that equate to 20,000 crunches in the 30-minute treatment period. For an effective treatment, patients are required to have four sessions within two weeks.
“It’s very important to stack the treatments to build the tissue,” Dr. Frank adds.
During the treatment, patients will feel a series of intense vibrations (doctors start contractions at zero to 10 percent speed and go up to 100 percent if the patient can tolerate it). While EMSCULPT is not painful, it causes a “tolerable discomfort.”
“It’s not like a massage,” Dr. Jennifer Levine, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon, tells PEOPLE. “You’re not going to say, ‘This is so zen and I love it.’ But, as it contracts the muscle, you will definitely notice something is happening there.”
So what makes the treatment so appealing and worth the upwards of $3,000 price tag? It requires zero downtime and some patients see results instantaneously.
“If the person is very fit and is in good shape, and let’s say, they were doing their butt, after one treatment they might notice that their butt is up a little bit,” Dr. Levine says, adding that some patients will see tighter and stronger muscles post-first session. “Typically you will notice a difference after the four treatments in the two-week period.”
Many patients of Dr. Levine and Dr. Frank will combine multiple body treatments, like Emtone (made by the same company as Emsculpt), which tightens the skin and decreases cellulite or the “fat-freezing” treatment, CoolSculpting.
EMSCULPT, which has had a 450 percent increase in interest from 2018 to 2019 according to RealSelf.com, can accredit its popularity to celebrity patients and its wide patient range.
“It’s not designed for someone who has a tremendous amount of fat to lose, so the people who are most interested in the treatment are already fit,” Dr. Levine explains.
Dr. Frank echoes Levine, adding, “It’s not going to replace CoolSculpting or liposuction. If someone’s got a gut, EMSCULPT, is not the right option. But if someone wants more definition and greater strength, then EMSCULPT is my go-to.”
Frank explains that his celeb clientele visits him for a treatment before a big event or getaway.
“A lot of the time, patients like Drew will do [EMSCULPT] before a vacation,” Frank says. “I have a lot big campaign models, maybe feeling a little off kilter, who will do two session the week before their shoot because it rips them up a little bit.”
Another benefit of the EMSCULPT? Unlike a typical gym workout, the treatment causes little to no soreness.
“Whatever their gym regimen, any person can easily add EMSCULPT into their lifestyle without a lot of soreness,” Dr. Jared Jagdeo explains.
Jagdeo, a board-certified dermatologist at Ever/Body in N.Y.C. has found his biggest clientele to be new mothers.
“New moms love EMSCULPT,” Jagdeo adds.” It’s an incredible solution when they are not feeling your best, and while still committed to their fitness routine, need a little boost.”
“It yields phenomenal treatments without downtime or discomfort. People are trying to get away from the traditional, old-school liposuction procedures and more towards totally non-invasive treatments like EMSCULPT.”