These are those belt-like devices which you fasten to your abs in the hope that they’ll somehow miraculously short circuit the blood, sweat and tears of the gym. They operate through Electric muscle stimulation (EMS) technology, which elicits muscle contraction through electronic impulses. These impulses imitate the exercises we most frequently use to tone, strengthen and firm up our abs.
But do they work? The short answer is – you guessed it - they’re not supposed to replace your existing workouts – but they can enhance them. Leading brands to try are Flex Belt ® and Slendertone®.
Electric muscle stimulation technology can enhance your existing workouts.
The secret to this is in the name. If you’ve ever had the infinite joy of gazing endlessly at that hot guy from the gym – who you’ve finally managed to get into your bed – you could be forgiven for thinking that his abs have been drawn onto his stomach by some bountiful God. They are, after all, so perfect.
The abdominal etching we’re talking about is a little less glamorous. It begins with a surgeon drawing marks onto your body so that he knows where he’ll make the indentations which will leave you with that washboard stomach.
The technique – a new type of liposuction (that word alone may leave you running for the hills), was invented in the early 1990s by Henry A Mentz III. The good news is that it’s a relatively quick procedure – around an hour, and is performed under ‘twilight’ or general anaesthesia. Once you’re suitably out of it, the surgeon makes small incisions – we’re talking only one to two millimetres here – in the natural creases in your abdomen or you stomach button. A cannula is then inserted which sucks out the excess fat and sculpts your grooves to highlight your unique muscular structure.
The abdominal etching procedure. Image: Wikipedia.
You’ve just had a surgical procedure, so, yes, of course, there’s going to be some degree of pain and discomfort afterwards – but nothing excessive. Recovery involves wearing a medical compression garment for up to six weeks. You’ll have to curtail your gym activities during recovery, as heavy lifting is off limits. But within three weeks, normal service can be resumed – and you’ll start to see the full benefits of the procedure six months afterwards.
Ok, so you need to carry out a test on yourself first. Trigger warning: this test is deeply unpleasant and may well destroy any delusions you have about looking like a shirtless Cristiano Ronaldo: you’re going to have to grab hold of the flab around your waist and judge whether you have one or two centimetres of fat hanging there. I know, horrific. Anything much more and this procedure may not be for you. The cold hard truth is that you need to be physically fit already with decent abs to be a successful candidate for Abdominal Etching®. Your first step, of course, is to get the expert opinion of a surgeon.
You’re talking anywhere within the region of $2,000 to $16,000 in total. The cost is made up of three types of fees:
1. Anaesthesia fees
2. Surgical facility costs
3. Surgeon’s fees.
If you combine it with another procedure like liposuction on your thighs, you’re going to save money, of course. IMPORTANT: It goes without saying that you should only consult a surgeon certified by the relevant professional body in your country.
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