Body shaming is a relatively new term but as a concept it has arguably been around for more than a century. Ever since the first printed publications, be they magazines or newspapers, started to appear and circulate through society, there has been implied pressure on readers to achieve a perfect look that matches the carefully posed photos that appear in print. Body contouring machines are a classic reflection of this demand for the ideal outward appearance – and it’s an approach that doesn’t necessarily require dieting or exercise.

Body contouring machines are also a sign of the growing popularity of non-invasive procedures. They are a quick and relatively pain-free way of achieving that desired body shape without agonizing surgical procedures, uncomfortable recovery periods and possible scarring and soreness. Body contouring is also relatively low-risk and stops people taking on the additional risks of unproven dietary fads, many of which can do more harm than good.

Why the interest in body contouring?

The concept of body contouring is arguably already being acted out in a virtual sense by many people through their use of social media and photo apps. As a practice that is solely focused on outward appearance, actual body contouring concentrates on physically altering body shape to a more pleasing visible state for the individual. Traditionally this was taken care of by physical exercise and diet, which had the extra benefits of actually boosting health and nutrition levels in the process.

The huge popularity of photo editing apps, many of which are built into social media platforms, shows that a form of body contouring has already been taking place for years. While there has been substantial criticism of such apps for encouraging the body shaming crisis, there is little doubt that their continued influence reflects a growing desire among people to alter their faces and bodies in a non-surgical way. 

The positive impact of cosmetic interventions has been proven in clinical studies. Many people have seen improvements in their overall psychological wellbeing with benefits for their social lives, leisure activities and sex lives. Some of the more extreme examples of invasive cosmetic surgery are far less likely in the type of non-invasive processes employed by body contouring machines, meaning there is much to offer in this field for anyone unhappy with their appearance.

How popular is body contouring going to be?

Cosmetic experts point to body contouring being a key beauty trend for 2020. And this is a view backed up by market analysts, who predict non-invasive and minimally invasive fat reduction procedures to be worth more than $1 billion by 2022. Technological advancements promise to push body contouring even further away from discomfort, opening up more areas of the body than ever before for possible treatment.

New innovations hold even more promise for body contouring machines. These include a new approach to actually build and develop muscle mass, through removing the fat areas covering places like abdominal muscles. Other developments are due to see the greater use of warmth and heat in processes used by CoolSculpting, which was one of the first body contouring machine treatments on the market but uses intense applications of extreme cold to literally freeze fat off.

How do body contouring machines work?

Although there are a number of new approaches emerging on the market, the usual approach up to now has been the CoolSculpting method of freezing fat cells off the body. It utilizes the natural process of selective cryolipolysis, where the body sheds dead cells; the body contouring machine freezes fat cells until they essentially become those dead cells – the body then rids itself of them. The freezing process has a further benefit in that it can target the fat cells without damaging the skin or any healthy cells and tissue that is close by.

What body contouring is not is a weight loss technique. Diets and exercise are still the recommended methods of achieving weight loss, although it is noted that many people confuse their motivation to lose weight with their unhappiness with or failure to appreciate their unique body shape. So body contouring will be a welcome solution for many people who already have reasonably healthy diets and for whom further weight loss may actually be a risk.

Another fact to consider is that weight loss doesn’t actually remove fat cells – it just makes them smaller. The approach of many body contouring machines is to provide a more permanent solution: CoolSculpting in particular is set up to remove 20-25% of fat cells in a treated area. This focus on removing fat cells is also particularly timely in the modern age of heavy consumption of fatty foods, as this practice has meant more fat ends up in fat cells because our livers are unable to process the excess fat.

Body contouring without being invasive

The development of more sophisticated body contouring machines means more people than ever can address the areas of their body they are most unhappy with. This in turn could lead to less reliance on ‘virtual’ solutions that merely provide a short-term confidence boost, such as photo editing apps. And with the promise of pain-free treatments it’s even more likely that people will opt for this approach of improving their body image.