By now, you’re probably at least vaguely familiar with body contouring treatments. They’ve advanced majorly in recent years. Instead of hitting the gym for weeks to get the definition you’ve been struggling through workouts for, you can visit your local medspa for 30-minute sessions while a machine does it for you, in theory. I first learned about the ultramodern treatment from actress Malin Akerman, who, like other Hollywood favorites, uses CoolTone to get the abs she’s struggled to achieve with exercise.
Why I Tried It
Toning up is my Achilles heel. When I’ve put on a bit more weight than I would have liked, I’ve pushed myself in the gym to get to my goal and give myself a big pat on the back for it. But getting my muscles (that seem to do more of a putty type of thing) sculpted is a different story. I want to preface this statement by emphasizing that I’m very proud of my body, grateful for its capabilities, and have truly learned to love its "softness." However, when I heard that there’s a non-invasive treatment (with no downtime) that will give me the midsection that genetics didn’t, I was intrigued.
I had three sessions of CoolToning done at Hudson Dermatology and Laser Surgery in New York City by Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD. Like most body contouring treatments, you can find a practice in your area that has CoolTone on its list of services.
Specifically, Bhanusali is a leading digital health entrepreneur who has become a go-to for celebrities and models, so I felt extra secure in his hands. He prescribed a series of four sessions to achieve my desired tautness—usually, a package of four to six sessions is recommended. Unfortunately, a busy work schedule kept me from my last appointment, but I can firmly say that after three sessions, I was happy with the change (although subtle) I saw in my before-and-after photos.
Meet the Expert
- Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD is a leading digital health entrepreneur at Hudson Dermatology and Laser Surgery in New York City.
When I’ve put on a bit more weight than I would have liked, I’ve pushed myself in the gym to get to my goal and give myself a big pat on the back for it. But getting my muscles sculpted is a different story.
In this age of social media, we often think solely about aesthetics when it comes to toning. But Bhanusali broke down the functional benefits of having a toned core. "In theory, you have a stronger core, and you can do more as far as working out," he says, "It's going to help with so many other things. Many patients have reported it improved back pain. Personally, when I do this, I have more stability to lift heavier weights. It almost feels like the bench is wider because I’m much more steady while going back and forth with the weights."
When I underwent the CoolTone treatment, it was perfect timing. I had a lot on my plate work-wise, the holidays were in full-force, and the combination of COVID and the winter season kept me indoors glued to my computer, eating all types of processed deliciousness. I was totally off my usual fitness and nutrition regimen and thankful to have a treatment that made me not look like I had been.
What is CoolTone?
Plainly, the FDA-approved CoolTone treatment uses Magnetic Muscle Stimulation (MMS) technology to strengthen, tone, and firm the abdomen muscles, buttocks, and thighs. Patients "before and afters" are concrete testaments to its toning powers.
What did the CoolTone process look and feel like? I went into Bhanusali’s office every one-to0two weeks, laid down with the device handle firmly strapped around my waist (my area of choice) while he gradually raised the intensity of the vibrations penetrating below the fat layer to tone. The whole process took no more than a half-hour, enough time for me to answer emails and scroll through Instagram. That’s it. I didn’t miss a beat on treatment days.
Bhanusali said everyone takes to the vibrations differently, and it's up to the patient and the doctor to find the appropriate comfort level. The aim is to increase the intensity of each session. To provide you with an idea of what I mean, in my first session, I ended around a 70% intensity level, and by the last session, I finished at 100 percent. The next day, my abs would feel sore, as if I had a rigorous ab workout. After my first session, I felt weird since I had done no such workout, but it was not unfamiliar from the post-workout aches I’ve experienced before. Many providers offer a package of four treatments at a reduced rate of $400 to $500 per Rx.
Did It Work?
If you’re looking for a dramatic change, this probably isn’t the treatment for you. This also isn’t a fat loss treatment—that’s CoolSculpt. CoolTone is sometimes recommended after CoolSculpt sessions for a one-two punch combination. Exercise and good eating habits while undergoing CoolTone are encouraged for optimal results, so I can only imagine what my "after" photos would have looked like if I would have put in more effort. In that same vein, if I could show you my Uber Eats charges during this period, you’d still be thoroughly impressed.
Bhanusali said it best: "Nothing is ever going to replace the gym, and I think the mental benefits of working out are phenomenal, but this is kind of a cool life hack." While CoolTone didn’t give me a total body transformation, it did give me the boost of confidence I needed to don a bathing suit on holiday after a diet of mostly fries and the physical strength to get my butt back in the gym with my trainer.