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Blog: I microwaved my flanks and lived to tell the tale

I recently microwaved my flanks — and by that I mean the ones on my body — and lived to tell the tale.

That’s me on my tummy having my flanks microwaved. Photo by Shah Rizal Baharudin

When you think of the word “microwave” you’d think about the act of removing leftovers from the fridge, sticking them in a metal box, and hitting its “start” button so that you can have some semblance of nutrition until your next proper meal.

So recently I discovered the latest technology in body-sculpting called Onda, built entirely on microwaves. Fortunately, as it is a targeted way of body-sculpting, it does not involve entering a metal box and having microwaves beamed into me as I am being rotated on a plate.

And by targeted, I mean that the energy is delivered through hand pieces, and is controlled in that it selectively targets fat cells. Devotees claim that it can reduce the appearance of cellulite, stimulates collagen fibres for a skin-tightening effect and help in fat loss, while plastic surgeons say that it can help smoothen out post-liposuction unevenness in the skin.

So I decided to give it a whirl. I visited Dr Kenneth Thean the medical director at Ensoul Clinic at International Building to learn about the technology.

Dr Thean asked me what my concerns were.  I told him that I recently noticed that one of my tailored dresses which I have been wearing for about 10 years, doesn’t zip up easily around the bust line, and when I looked closer, it appeared that even my best bras have been cutting into my flanks in unflattering ways.

Naturally I was concerned about being cooked alive, so I asked him how it works. He laughed, “The hand pieces generate microwaves of 2.45 GHz, a frequency that is preferentially absorbed by fat molecules rather than water molecules. Since the epidermis and the dermis — the two outermost layers of the skin — contain plenty of water but not fat, the energy penetrates the skin and passes straight through these layers, delivering more energy directly to where it is needed; the fat cells beneath the skin.”

Dr Kenneth Thean at Ensoul Clinic. Photo by Ensoul Clinic.

He prescribed a D-Storz shockwave session on my flanks which was intended to loosen the fat cells, making them more amenable to being beaten into submission and obliterated by the Onda microwave treatment that followed. He also advised the therapist to apply two settings to my flanks — one is for superficial skin tightening, and the other is for reaching deep into my skin to the fat cells. In the latter setting, the metabolism of the fat cells is accelerated, triggering the release of a high amount of destroyed lipids, causing the fat cells to rupture and disintegrate. The destroyed cell membranes and lipids are then eliminated via the body’s lymphatic system.

After changing into disposable underwear and a robe, Kwee Joo, the lead therapist examined my flanks. She said I had no cellulite (which was excellent!). After taking photos of my flanks and marking out the area to be treated, I climbed into the treatment bed tummy down.

First came the shockwave. The machine made a rat-a-tatting sound as the hand piece rapidly pummelled my flanks. It was a strange feeling, not painful except when the therapist hit my ribs (which was excellent; I have ribs!) and then came the microwave treatment.

It felt mostly like a warm massage, and when the “skin-tightening” setting was turned on, my flanks especially the area near the tops of my pelvic bone felt so hot that I asked the therapist to stop momentarily. She said it was necessary for the area to hit around 42°C — around my maximum tolerance level — for best effect. Including consultation and taking “before” photos, the two treatments took about 40 minutes in all.

The heat in my flanks persisted for a few hours after treatment but I didn’t feel the effects until about a week later when a regular work dress I have been wearing felt less snug around the bra area. Two more sessions later spaced two weeks apart, and I was able to zip the 10-year-old dress more easily. However I think I would have to undergo one or two more sessions — plus more low-rowing and lat pull-downs at the gym — to zip it up just right.

Call Ensoul Clinic at 6836 2833 for more information.

Disclaimer: Body-sculpting treatments such as Onda are meant for individuals on a healthy diet and exercise regimen and are within their healthy weight range.

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