Sometimes no matter how much you work out, there are stubborn areas of fat that are just really hard to work on. I work out relatively regularly but I was curious to find out if help in the form of CoolSculpting would really work to get rid of areas I couldn’t improve on myself.
Basically, this treatment is meant to numb your fat cells until they eventually die, through extremely low temperatures. This isn’t liposuction by any means. Cool Sculpting isn’t invasive at all. What it does include however, is having your fat suctioned into a device that resembles a vacuum cleaner, and then numbed cold.
I sat down with Dr. Harold Ma of Freia Medical who explained the procedure. Basically it would take two sessions across two sections of my stomach to get rid of the annoying bulge of fat that sat above my bikini line. It’s an area I’ve never really been able to get rid of no matter how many crunches I’ve done. I’ve never had anyone tell me my stomach fat was “perfect” but that’s exactly what Dr. Ma said. He said the area, just below my belly button, was ideal for the treatment.
There is a pretty extensive consultation form to fill in before you start. This is to make the process more holistic so that you are aware of what you eat and how that might affect the whole process. After that, you go through a round of photos where you wear ugly paper underwear and take 360 shots of your fatness. Then you’re led into the procedure room.
The room might feel sterile at first, but it’s actually pretty comfortable. Warm blankets keep you toasty and a pillow keeps you from getting neck cramps.
There’s also WIFI (which let me write most of this story in real time) and hot beverages on demand.
Here’s what the machine looks like.
Before we started, Dr. Ma came in to draw directly on my stomach where he wanted the suction to go. By the end of it, my stomach looked like a strategy game — yes let’s attack that fat!
Once that was done, a cool gel-like layer is placed over the stomach – not unlike a sheet mask — to keep the skin moist for when the suction goes on. When they power it up, you can basically see your fatty stomach get sucked into the machine and it’s a little disconcerting – I thought it would hurt more.
But the pain really starts when they switch on the cold. In just five to 10 minutes, everything goes numb, but because it’s still attached to parts of you that aren’t numb, you can really feel it. A lot of deep breathing and distractions will help. Plus it only lasts 35 minutes so really it’s not that long.
Removing the machine is not much better — especially since immediately after, the therapist has to massage the frozen block of stomach that’s just come out of the machine. That was probably the most uncomfortable part but again, it only lasts a few minutes. Just don’t forget to breathe.
The whole procedure was repeated on the other half of my stomach and in another 35 minutes it was all over. I was told to massage the area (which continued to be sore) as much as possible for the next two or three weeks.
Here’s a before and after picture of the final result.
After four weeks, I have to say I noticed a difference (or was that the lack of carbs talking?). Together with some dieting, the treatment really seemed to have work. It was most evident on my honeymoon when I was literally in bikinis all day (I bought four just for the occasion).
However by then I wasn’t dieting, and once I got back to Singapore it got even worse. I just missed my chai tao kueh too much! I think this lessened the obvious results. But even so, when I visited Dr. Ma for my follow up last week, it was still evident my little stomach bulge had gone down significantly. So clearly, a healthy diet is key to making sure such treatments last.
In my opinion, you really can see results from CoolSculpting, but even Dr. Ma says there’s no real replacement for a healthy lifestyle. He recommended one to three sessions for optimal results and said some patients come back six months to a year to touch up. With a price tag of $700 per cycle (my treatment involved two so it would have been around $1500) you wouldn’t want to waste it!
Having said that, I would do it again. Seeing the results was quite inspiring and I’m quite determined to keep it, as long as I can have the occasional prata and mac n cheese.
Freia Medical is at #19-03, 435 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238877, www.freia.sg