Believe It or Not, Freezing Away Fat Is Possible
I’m a born skeptic. When something sounds too good to be true, I consider it my obligation to puncture the euphoria and persuade my friends and family to resist the hype. You can imagine my reaction when I first heard about a device that freezes away fat without surgery — raised eyebrows and low expectations.
CoolSculpting is the name of this procedure. I took an interest when I started looking into ways to get rid of the belly pooch that refuses to disappear on its own, despite the miles I put in on the treadmill. There is quite a menu of options that promise to give you a slimmer stomach, including liposuction. Surgery isn’t really for me, even if the incisions are small. So I started looking into non-surgical alternatives and discovered you can either freeze fat or melt it.
I checked out a few different procedures and it appeared CoolSculpting received the most positive reviews, so I spent more time researching it. First, I wanted to understand how something can freeze fat cells without the patient suffering frostbite.
The story goes that a couple of researchers connected to Harvard University started pursuing the idea of using cold temperatures to kill fat cells after noticing that dimples formed on children’s cheeks when they sucked on popsicles. Seriously. They started trying to determine the optimal temperature that would freeze fat cells without destroying the surrounding tissue. It turns out fat cells are more vulnerable to cold than other tissues, so they freeze at a higher temperature.
When you work out or watch what you eat, that reduces the amount of fat in fat cells. But the cells remain viable and can again accumulate fat. Cryolipolysis — the process used during CoolSculpting — actually destroys fat cells, minimizing the number of them in the treated area. Your body naturally eliminates these dead fat cells over the following few months. They are permanently gone.
OK, so that explains how CoolSculpting works. Next up was learning about what actually happens during the treatment. After a gel is applied to the abdomen (it also works for the flanks and thighs), the bulge is sucked up between 2 panels and the cooling process begins. The first few minutes are probably the most uncomfortable, just like using an icepack, but within about 5 to 10 minutes, the area is numb and patients say they actually read or browse the Internet on their smartphones during the procedure. Treatment for the stomach takes about 60 minutes.
What happens next when the device comes off is pretty weird. The area that was clamped between the panels looks like a stick of butter just below your skin. The cooled fat remains firm. The provider then vigorously massages the area manually to smooth out the clump of fat. It’s like watching someone knead dough. But some practices use something called the Zimmer ZWave treatment. Not only does it work to soften and flatten out the frozen fat, according to a certified CoolSculpting practice called the Vancouver Laser & Skin Care Centre, but also “the sound waves released by the ZWave device kill the fat cells that are not quite frozen but are fragile and may have otherwise survived. While the CoolSculpting procedure on its own kills approximately 22% of the treated fat cells, following it with a ZWave treatment boosts the fat reduction to about 33%.”
Something to keep in mind is that rarely is one treatment enough to get a flatter tummy. Some patients undergo 2, 3, even 4 treatments before getting the results they want. The tradeoff is that, unlike liposuction, there is no downtime or recovery period necessary after CoolSculpting.
Yes, it does sound almost too good to be true. But even a skeptic can be convinced.
Sponsored post, written by Emmy Owens