Have you heard about people getting a massage after their CoolSculpting treatment and wondered why? Spoiler: post-CoolSculpting massage isn’t simply a “spa add-on”; it’s actually performed for a very specific reason, and in this post, we’ll explore why massage after CoolSculpting is becoming increasingly popular—and whether or not it can help optimize your results.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a non-surgical alternative to liposuction that uses a process called cryolipolysis to permanently remove fat cells. CoolSculpting received FDA approval in 2010 and has been used safely and effectively on millions of satisfied patients since then.
Do you need massage after CoolSculpting treatments?
While you don’t need to have a massage performed after CoolSculpting, it has been shown to significantly enhance fat loss. In a 2013 study published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 17 patients were treated on each side of their abdomen with cryolipolysis for 60 minutes. Afterward, one side of their abdomen was massaged for a total of 2 minutes while the other side was left alone. The results spoke for themselves: patients experienced a 68% greater mean fat layer reduction on the massaged side than on the non-massaged side.
Having massage done after CoolSculpting can also reduce the number of treatments you may need to see optimal results. At Basu Aesthetics + Plastic Surgery, we always massage the treated area for 2 minutes immediately after a CoolSculpting treatment.
A 2013 study found that patients experienced a 68% greater mean fat layer reduction on the massaged side of their abdomen than on the non-massaged side.
Why can massage help optimize my results?
Though it has been clinically proven that massage can enhance CoolSculpting results, it isn’t completely clear why. One possibility is that massage helps injure and break up fat cells that were frozen during treatment. Breaking up the fat cells further would assist the body’s lymphatic system in digesting and expelling them, meaning you get better results more quickly.
A 2014 study looked at tissue temperatures during the CoolSculpting procedure and found that massage returned tissue temperatures to normal more rapidly than not receiving massage. It was, therefore, speculated that vigorous massage would rapidly warm tissue and return oxygenated blood to its pretreatment levels, producing free oxygen radicals that could potentially increase fat loss.
Regardless of the science behind the results, it is critical that the massage be performed immediately after CoolSculpting treatment to maximize fat loss.
Is massage after CoolSculpting safe?
Numerous studies, including both the 2013 and 2014 studies cited here, have concluded that massage after CoolSculpting is a safe way to further reduce unwanted body fat without damaging skin or muscle.
Does massage after CoolSculpting hurt?
Though we refer to it as a “massage,” the post-CoolSculpting body molding can be uncomfortable, particularly when the treatment area is the abdomen. Thankfully, the massage only lasts for 2 minutes in the treated area, and a topical numbing solution is applied. Most patients feel the benefits are well worth tolerating a few minutes of discomfort.
How long of a massage do I need after CoolSculpting?
The most important massage is the 2-minute massage immediately following your CoolSculpting treatment. Further massage hasn’t been clinically evaluated but could potentially assist your body in dispelling the damaged fat cells or potentially reduce any swelling or bruising associated with your CoolSculpting treatment. Just be sure to work with a licensed massage professional and make them aware of your recent treatment.
How are CoolSculpting and liposuction different?
- Both CoolSculpting and liposuction spot-target pockets of stubborn fat, most commonly along the flanks, back, abdomen, hips, thighs, and underneath the chin. The major difference between the two is that liposuction is invasive, requiring an incision by which a surgeon can insert a tube to remove excess fat, while CoolSculpting uses cryolipolysis to literally freeze and destroy fat cells.
- Liposuction instantly removes fat cells while cryolipolysis takes time for fat cells to fully die and be digested through the body. This means that liposuction results are immediately and fully visible, while CoolSculpting results begin to reveal themselves within a few days but can take between 8-10 months to become fully visible.
- Liposuction is performed as a single procedure, while most patients receive 2-3 CoolSculpting treatments for optimal fat loss.
We have found that most of our CoolSculpting patients choose this treatment over liposuction because it is non-invasive, convenient, and requires almost no downtime. That said, we have quite a few patients who pair their CoolSculpting treatments with liposuction to maximize fat loss in specific locations (we’ll discuss this more below).
What else can I do to maximize my CoolSculpting results?
In addition to the post-treatment massage, there are a number of ways to enhance your CoolSculpting results:
- Compression garments can help decrease any minor post-procedure swelling and help you see visible results sooner. These garments essentially provide low-level continuous massage to the treated area, increasing blood flow and heating tissue to promote healing. We recommend wearing them 10-12 hours per day for the first 2 weeks after your CoolSculpting treatment. Professional-grade compression garments are for sale at our office.
- Liposuction can seriously enhance your CoolSculpting results by permanently eliminating any fat cells that CoolSculpting wasn’t able to freeze. Liposuction is also highly effective at removing fat in areas that are more difficult to treat with CoolSculpting, such as the flanks.
- Forma is a non-surgical treatment that uses radiofrequency to tighten skin on the face, neck, and jowls, making it perfect for tightening loose neck & jowl skin after under-the-chin CoolSculpting treatments.
While these suggestions can help, getting the best CoolSculpting results depends on choosing the right provider. That’s because the machine can’t decide where to apply shaping or the extent of treatment you’ll need to achieve your ideal shape. Ultimately, attractive results depend on choosing an experienced, medically-qualified provider with an eye for aesthetics. Remember that CoolSculpting permanently kills the treated fat cells, so you can’t easily “undo” results if they are asymmetrical or displeasing.
Where can I get CoolSculpting in Houston?
To learn more about how CoolSculpting can help you say goodbye to stubborn, unwanted fat without surgery or downtime, contact board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bob Basu. Dr. Basu has over 20 years of experience performing body shaping and skin tightening procedures and is happy to answer any of your questions. Contact our Houston practice online or call (713) 799-2278 to schedule your consultation today.