From age 30, we start losing muscle. On average, it’s about a 3-8% loss per decade and accelerates after age 60. By age 80, the average person has lost about 50% of their muscle mass. The medical name for this condition is sarcopenia.

Loss of muscle mass in arm with age. Drawing of arms and images from CT scan

Upper, comparison of arm muscles in 25 yr old (L) and 65 yr old (R). Below CT images of cross-sections in thigh of 25 yr and 65 yr old, showing loss of muscle mass and infiltration of muscle with fat (white areas) with age

This loss of muscle mass has a negative impact on your quality of life.

If you’ve become sedentary, if circumstances in the past 3 years kept you home or if you’ve had a serious illness, you likely experienced an accelerated loss of muscle mass, enough that it can be very challenging to improve the situation.

Dr. Diane Duncan is a plastic surgeon in the US who has been a leader for decades in research to perfect treatments in aesthetic medicine and surgery. Her work has improved the treatments that I provide. I’d like to share with you some recent research on building muscle.

Dr. Duncan studied the effects of Emsculpt Neo treatments, combined with pelvic floor stimulation, on things like maximum and comfortable gait speed, how long it takes to get up from a chair and walk a short distance, and balance.

Science of Emsculpt Neo

Emsculpt Neo is a machine that uses electromagnetic stimulation (HIFEM*) of muscles to cause supramaximal muscles contractions, and radiofrequency energy to warm muscles and kill fat cells. Supramaximal contractions cause strengthening and bulking up of muscles, not to be confused with machines that cause little twitches of muscles, which do barely anything.

It turns out that radiofrequency energy does more than just warm muscles and kill fat cells.

Adding radiofrequency energy to a HIFEM treatment significantly increases the bulking up of the muscle.

The image below is a cross-section of muscle fibres seen under the microscope without HIFEM on the left and with HIFEM treatments on the right. You can see that the size of the muscle bundles. To the trained eye, the muscle fibres are bigger (hypertrophy) and the number of muscle cells is increased (hyperplasia).

Micrographs of muscle bundles in cross-section. Left, untreated. Right, treated with HIFEM alone

The image below is a cross-section of muscle fibres seen under the microscope without treatment on the left and treated with HIFEM + radiofrequency on the right.  Here you can see that the muscle bundles are thicker to the point of touching each other, with no space between the muscle bundles, quite a big difference from the muscles treated with HIFEM alone.

Micrographs of muscle bundles in cross-section. Left, untreated. Right, treated with HIFEM and radiofrequency

The combination treatment turned on support cells around the muscle and caused them to differentiate into new muscle fibres and muscle cells.

You would have to exercise very intensely and frequently to achieve these kind of results. A half-hour Emsculpt Neo treatment is the equivalent of doing 20,000 perfect situps. I can’t imagine how long it would take me to do 20,000 sit ups, let alone doing each one perfectly.

Effects of Emsculpt Neo on Gait and Balance

In Dr. Duncan’s study, they found overall that all of the measured outcomes improved significantly. However when they looked at just the study subjects aged 60 or over, the improvements were even more impressive. I should point out that they only treated the abdomen with the Emsculpt Neo, in order to improve core strength only. The ability to walk faster and get out of a chair easier did not come from strengthening treatments on the legs, even though Emsculpt Neo can be used on the legs.

They also noted improvements in posture, waist size, abdominal contour but these were not quantified for the study.

Data showing significant improvements in gait speed and other functional tests in people aged 60+ treated with Emsculpt Neo

Improvements in study subjects aged 60 and over, treated with Emsculpt Neo on abdomen and HIFEM on pelvic floor. Note TUG stands for Timed Up and Go, in which the subject has to get up from being seated in a chair and walk a specific distance.

Examples of study results for individualsBefore and after images of 65 yr old woman treated with Emsculpt Neo and pelvic floor HIFEM

Before and after pictures of 70 yr old woman treated with Emsculpt Neo and pelvic floor HIFEM

The improvement in the appearance of waist area is impressive in these cases illustrated above but look at the improvements in these ladies’ functional measurements. The first one got a 73% improvement in balance! And the second showed an average of 59% improvement across all of the tests. To see them in person, you would see that these are women who are walking faster and more confidently, with better posture.

For me personally, I’ve had that experience of feeling so out of shape that the idea of getting into shape seemed like an impossible mountain to climb.  Emsculpt Neo helped me overcome that barrier and get active again.

And from my medical experience, I know the problems that older people experience when their balance isn’t as good. They become prone to falls and risk breaking bones and hitting their heads. They do less because they’re afraid of falling, which causes them to lose more muscle mass and worsens their sense of balance.

Getting the core muscles stronger quickly and effectively is a good investment in your overall health.

Dr. Rose Jeans


*HIFEM stands for High Intensity Focused ElectroMagnetic (muscle stimulation)