truSculpt Flex Muscle Sculpting Technology: What is it, how does it work?
Although there is an ever-increasing awareness of the necessity of maintaining a healthy diet and exercising, according to the CDC, only 24.4% of adults1 meet the American Heart Association’s weekly recommendation of strength training at least twice a week. Even though many individuals exercise regularly, they are unable to attain their ideal body shape. With recent advances in technology, body sculpting devices provide a viable option. Achieving optimal health involves attaining a healthy body composition with a low body fat ratio and higher lean muscle mass. Although body fat can be lowered by lipolysis using various thermal technologies, these technologies do not help achieve a better muscle tone.
truSculpt® flex is a non-invasive muscle sculpting device, cleared by the FDA for the strengthening, firming and toning of abdominal, buttocks and thigh muscles2. truSculpt flex can improve muscle tone by inducing muscle contractions using electric current. truSculpt flex is unique in being customizable based on the patient’s fitness level, shape, and goals.
truSculpt flex has 3 treatment modes and allows treatment of up to 8 areas at the same time. The proprietary handpieces, consisting of 8 pairs adhere to the skin using truGel, facilitates the targeting of specific groups of small and large muscles in a safe and energy-efficient manner.
Electrical muscle stimulation has been successfully used as a substitute for exercise to prevent muscle atrophy due to innervation or immobilization and can reduce rehabilitation time after muscle injuries. More recently, the potential for electrical muscle stimulation in improving muscle function in healthy individuals and athletes has been realized.
truSculpt flex involves direct stimulation of muscles through the electrodes located in the handpiece, resulting in full muscle contractions similar to voluntary contractions during physical exercise. The contractions induced by truSculpt flex are more intense than physical exercise and such rapid contractions result in increased muscle mass, strength, and tone. One of the limitations of electrical muscle stimulation in increasing muscle strength is that the same muscles that are superficially located are recruited during repetitive use3. This can lead to muscle fatigue and damage. truSculpt flex overcomes this limitation by using multi-directional stimulation with 3 treatment modes, involving different current intensities. Increasing current intensity through the course of a training session allows for the recruitment of deeper muscle groups during training and thus avoids muscle damage4. Altering the direction of the current can also avoid stimulation of the same muscles and facilitate activation of the muscles in a comprehensive manner. Thus, truSculpt flex with its different treatment modes and its flexible electrode placement and stimulation options facilitates even stimulation of muscles. The proprietary truControl technology provides for safe and consistent results through targeted, selective, and customizable delivery with less energy.
truSculpt flex provides three treatment modes with the help of the proprietary Multi-Directional Stimulation (MDS) technology. The three treatment modes include prep mode, tone mode, and sculpt mode and are based on the utilization of electric pulses of 3 different frequencies. The three treatment modes simulate different exercises and provide complete muscle stimulation. These modes include:
- Prep Mode: this mode creates twisting motions similar to those experienced during warm-up exercises. It involves stretching of muscles and slowly build a tolerance to muscle contractions
- Tone Mode: this mode is similar to performing squats and involves contracting muscles until the point of exhaustion. This mode mimics strength training programs and results in increased strength and endurance
- Sculpt Mode: this mode is similar to performing crunches and involves fast, deep, sequential contractions of the muscles. This mode mimics muscle building programs involving the development of new muscle fibers. An increased muscle mass is also accompanied by a simultaneous elevation of basal metabolic rate (BMR) for the growth and support of muscle mass
The mechanism of action of truSculpt flex is similar to that of existing technologies like Emsculpt®, with both technologies involving the production of muscle contractions through external stimulation. However, truSculpt flex has a distinct advantage in terms of specificity and flexibility. There are various methods for inducing muscle contractions, including electrical stimulation, electromagnetic stimulation, and transcutaneous electrical stimulation.
Technologies like Emsculpt utilize electromagnetic stimulation to induce muscle contractions, whereas truSculpt flex utilizes electrical stimulation. During electromagnetic stimulation, a magnetic field is applied over the area of interest resulting in the activation of peripheral nerves that stimulate the muscles. Unlike truSculpt flex that can stimulate specific muscles by the placement of individual handpieces, electromagnetic stimulation requires bulkier hardware and does not provide a focal stimulus in a controlled manner. Electromagnetic stimulation, therefore, cannot target specific muscles. truSculpt flex also provides much better body coverage, allowing treatment of up to 8 areas at once relative to the maximum of 2 areas by treatments involving electromagnetic stimulation.
truSculpt flex, besides being flexible in handpiece placement, allows for the reversal of the direction of the application of the current with its multi-directional stimulation technology. In contrast, electromagnetic stimulation only allows contraction in a single direction. truSculpt flex can comfortably use between 10-20mA of energy to produce results equivalent to those produced by electromagnetic stimulation, that requires up to 2 Tesla of magnetic energy. Thus, truSculpt flex can stimulate specific muscle sets and provides better body coverage while being more energy efficient. Changes may become visible after only 4 treatments of 45 minutes each with treatments spaced 48 hours apart. Thus, truSculpt flex can result in improvements in muscle mass in a time-efficient and safe manner.
3. Gondin J, Cozzone PJ, Bendahan D. Is high-frequency neuromuscular electrical stimulation a suitable tool for muscle performance improvement in both healthy humans and athletes?. European journal of applied physiology. October 2011.
4. Maffiuletti NA. Physiological and methodological considerations for the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation. European journal of applied physiology. 2010 Sep 1;110(2):223-34.