SINGAPORE - Those looking to lose that last inch of stubborn fat have their pick of non-invasive treatments these days.
These range from the latest ultrasound technology - a beauty fix called Liposonix - to Mary Chia treatments where excess fat is kneaded away with rollers.
People going for these treatments aren't necessarily fat.
Dr K. K. Chew, medical director and founder of NU.U Aesthetics and Wellness Clinic, said: "I am definitely seeing more ladies who are relatively skinny but may have some stubborn fat in the abdomen or thigh areas."
He offers the Liposonix treatment at his clinic in Orchard Road, saying that it's suitable for anyone who has "one inch of pinchable fat".
At Mary Chia, more "skinny-fat" people are seeking treatment.
They have money to spare, and enhancing their appearance is seen as a worthy way to spend those extra dollars, said a spokesman.
I can see why. I may not have major weight issues, but I have always felt a little shy about my back-arm fat. When a chance to try out body contouring came up, I gladly volunteered and turned up at Calvin Chan Aesthetic and Laser Clinic at Wheelock Place, to test a treatment called CoolSculpting.
It claims to help you lose stubborn fat, with no surgery or downtime, by targeting and eliminating fat cells. It uses a targeted cooling process that kills the fat cells under the skin, literally freezing them to the point of elimination.
Problem areas of fat - such as on arms and thighs - are what the treatment is for. It's suitable for those with a body mass index (BMI) of between 20 and 25.
I ran a quick check: Less-than-ideal arms and a BMI of about 20. Yes, I'm a good fit.
After a quick consultation with the doctor, I was off to the treatment room.
The targeted spots on my arms were drawn into a suction machine which made the fat cells undergo apoptosis, or controlled cell death. I felt a slight discomfort for the first 10 minutes or so.
Thereafter, the discomfort came from lying still for two hours - treatment for each arm lasted an hour.
When the machine was moved away, there was a tingling and aching feeling in my arms.
If you are thinking of going for treatment on the eve of an important event, don't. The suction leaves bruise marks on the targeted areas, and mine took about a week to disappear.
The CoolSculpting treatment works so that the body begins to eliminate fat cells naturally over a period of time.
I was told that it would take two to four months to see results, but I found that I had smaller bulges on my arms in just three weeks.
However, while the treatment was effective, it came with a hefty price tag of about $1,000 for each targeted spot.
Hmm. Maybe a gym membership would be cheaper in the long run. But CoolSculpting certainly impressed.
Bye Bye, Muffin Top!
What: The body-sculpting procedure eliminates fat cells through a cooling process, and is good for targeted areas such as the thighs and arms. It claims to reduce the number of fat cells by an average of 20 per cent in the targeted area.
Who's suitable: Those with a body mass index (BMI) of between 20 and 25.
Price: Varies from clinic to clinic, but typically costs about $1,000 per treated area.
Available at: Aesthetics clinics such as Calvin Chan Aesthetic and Laser Clinic at Wheelock Place #05-11, and Joyce Lim Skin and Laser Clinic at Paragon Medical Suites #11-16/18.
What: Just one treatment and you could be one size smaller, thanks to high-intensity, focused ultrasound energy that gets rid of fat around the waist and abdomen. On average, patients report a waistline reduction of an inch, which is about one dress or pants size smaller.
Who's suitable: Those with a BMI below 30.
Price: From $1,500 for the flanks to $6,000 for both the flanks and abdomen.
Available at: Aesthetics clinics such as NU.U - Aesthetics and Wellness Clinic at Paragon Medical Suites #09-18/19.
360° Antigravity Contour Sculpt
What: This treatment involves the use of multi-directional rollers to "pinch and break down" excess fat deposits and cellulite in problem areas such as the tummy and thighs.
Who's suitable: People of all ages; those with a higher BMI are advised to try body sculpting only after bringing down their weight through other treatments.
Price: $280 for full body (35min) and $180 per localised area (20min). All prices before GST.
Available at: Mary Chia outlets. Visit www.marychia.com for more.
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