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Emsculpt vs. CoolTone: Which Is Right For You?

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Noninvasive body sculpting has taken the aesthetic world by storm within the past couple of years for its ability to tone muscle in the doctor’s office instead of the gym. While first-to-launch Emsculpt has been the front-runner for some time now, the gurus behind fat-freezing CoolSculpting have recently launched CoolTone, a similar muscle-stimulation device, promising very similar results. What’s the difference between CoolTone and Emsculpt and how do you choose between them, you ask? We reached out to top doctors to find out. 

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First, what is Emsculpt?
Emsculpt is a device that uses high intensity focused electromagnetic energy (HIFEM) to induce muscle contractions and, in turn, sculpt the body. “Emsculpt not only builds actual muscle—there’s up to 23-percent build to abs, on average, after six treatments—but also destroys, on average, 27-percent of treated fat,” adds Dover, OH facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD. The procedure takes 30 minutes and is FDA-cleared for toning the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, arms and calves. Pricing ranges by provider and location, but often falls in the $3,000–$4,000 range for full treatment (four sessions). 

What is CoolTone? 
Similar to Emsculpt, CoolTone’s end goal is also to build muscle and contour the body, but uses magnetic muscle stimulation (MMS) to produce involuntary muscle contractions instead of HIFEM. According to Allergan, CoolTone is the strongest FDA-cleared muscle-building treatment—one 30-minute session is equal to 25,000–30,000 sit-ups or squats. It is FDA-cleared to treat the abdomen, buttocks and thighs, and each session takes around 30–45 minutes. Pricing ranges by provider and location, but according to the brand, skews a little less expensive than Emsculpt at around $2,000 for full treatment (four sessions). 

How many sessions are required?
Whether you opt for CoolTone or Emsculpt, studies show that patients will get the best results after four treatments. New York dermatologist Daniel Belkin, MD suggests these four treatments be done within two weeks for the best return. “Depending on the patient, some may require monthly maintenance after the first four treatments,” he adds. 

Do either of them hurt?
Imagine doing the most crunches you’ve ever done in your life, all at one time. Not painful, but not exactly soothing. Dr. Hartman describes EmSculpt as “intense,” but assures patients that it definitely does not hurt.

What are the main differences between Emsculpt and CoolTone?
Simply put, studies show CoolTone is stronger, as it stimulates muscle growth with 50-percent more magnetic intensity than Emsculpt. 

Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD says another big point of differentiation between the two devices is their paddles. “Emsculpt has both large paddles—for the buttocks, thighs and abdomen—and smaller paddles for the arms and calves,” she says. While additional treatment areas are said to be on the horizon for CoolTone, if you’re looking to treat smaller muscle groups, Emsculpt may be a better fit until then. 

Another way these devices differ, according to Dr. Belkin, is that CoolTone can be done with your clothes on. “CoolTone is water-cooled, which means it can be covered and doesn’t require contact with the skin,” says Dr. Belkin, adding that because Emsculpt is air-cooled, skin contact is needed. 

How should you decide which one is right for you?
After having a conversation with your physician about pricing, treatment area and your medical history, he or she will be able to best guide you to the right treatment for you. 

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