According to a 2012 study commissioned by Syneron Medical, 72% of Canadian women want to change the shape of their abdomen. I’m one of them! A few months of ignoring the treadmill has left me with a small belly pooch that just won’t budge with exercise and kale smoothies. So when I was invited to try out two new non-invasive body contouring treatments offered at Francesca Salon and Spa in Forest Hill, I didn’t hesitate in shouting “sign me up!” (Every woman would, no?).
A tighter, tauter stomach without surgery and downtime may be possible with TiteFx and Fractora Firm. The latter is a relaxing approach whereby the technician moves a hammer-like, metal-tipped device that heats up to 43 degrees Celsius across the fatty area to send radio-frequency energy deep into the skin where collagen resides (pic of technician with the Fractora Firm hand piece below). The theory is that the heat will amp up production of collagen, which will result in tighter smoother skin. Fractora Firm feels very comfortable – much like getting a hot stone massage. If I had the time, I would treat myself to a Fractora Firm session every week!
Fractora Firm starts at $200 per session, and go up depending on the area being treated.
TiteFx also uses radio-frequency energy but works differently. Instead of just promoting collagen production, it targets the fat cells and injures them with a high amplitude pulse. The fat cells then die a slow death over the next eight days. So essentially you can get permanent slimming results within six treatments, says Karen Dabbs, the clinical trainer at Sigmacon, the manufacturer of the machine (shown below). Dabbs adds that this is the same technology used in oncology to destroy liver tumors. Anecdotally, according to Dabbs, clients say the TiteFx machine is much more comfortable than Tripolar, another RF laser used primarily for skin tightening purposes (a friend of mine does tripolar on her double chin). The reason why it’s more comfortable lies in structure of the device. The TiteFx uses vacuum massage technology, which distracts your brain from the pain of the laser delivery. It is the same feature used in my favorite laser hair removal machine at DLK on Avenue. When lasers have this feature, you feel only pinching, no pain. It’s awesome.
TiteFx ranges from $350-500 per session; 6 sessions are between $2000-$3000.
Both the Fractora Firm and TiteFx treatments can be used on other problem areas on the body (e.g. thunder thighs, bat wings, back fat), and the very comfy-warm Fractora Firm treatment can treat sagging skin on the entire face (e.g. turkey neck, crows feet, upper eyelids, lower eyelids, nasolabial folds).
I can’t report any dramatic results because I only did one treatment and didn’t have a lot of excess fat to begin – just a soft, saggy stomach with stubborn lower belly fat. But what I can say is that getting the treatments done made me more cognizant of the state of my stomach, so a day after, I hit the gym hard. Perhaps the physical movement caused extra heat production and spiked my fat-burning metabolism because after two weeks my stomach did feel and looked tighter…Now I must note that the jury is still out on the efficacy of body contouring machines in general. But what is certain is that these treatments are a much gentler way to a slimmer body than undergoing liposuction. Even gentler than chugging down a kale smoothie.