Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Electro-Cut" Your Body Fat - Study Shows 5.6 cm and 4.9% Reduction in Waist & Body Fat in Young Women in 6 Weeks

No sweat, just some wires? Study shows: It does not take much effort to lose belly fat.
Liposuction is an invasive procedure that is not without risk. Against that background it's no wonder that people are marketing alternative methods like high-frequency current therapy as allegedly safe go-to methods to rid yourself of unwanted body fat. The question is: Do these currents actually help you to lose body fat? That is: Can electrocuting your belly "electro-cut" significant amounts of body fat? Practitioners who use this technology will say "yes". From a scientific standpoint, though, the question is difficult to answer, because the use of high-frequency current therapy has been given little attention in the scientific community.

As Kim et al. point out in a recent paper in the J. Phys. Ther. Sci., some previous studies have failed to provide evidence for the effectiveness of high-frequency current therapy in women with obesity, whereas more recent studies have indicated that a high-frequency current therapy decreases female abdominal obesity (Kang. 2005; Han. 2010). Accordingly, their latest study aimed to determine whether high-frequency current therapy can be effectively used to reduce female abdominal obesity.
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To this ends, the researchers recruited twenty-two female volunteers who were randomly allocated to either the experimental group (EG) (n = 12; age, 21.17 ± 0.72 years; weight, 63.17 ± 7.91 kg; height, 159.63 ± 4.56 cm) or the control group (CG) (n = 10; age, 21.10 ± 0.74 years; weight, 68.79 ± 11.73 kg; height, 161.69 ± 5.25 cm). Inclusion criteria were as follows:
  • a body mass index (BMI) of ≥23 kg/m2 and a waist-hip circumference ratio of  ≥ 0.8013
  • no past or present neurological, musculoskeletal, or cardiopulmonary disorders that would have affected health condition;
  • no smoking and drinking habits; and
  • no psychological problems.
Futhermore, pregnant women were excluded as well. The subjects of both groups were asked to keep a regular dietary habit during the experimental process. A nutritionist drew up a diet plan of 2,000 to 2,500 kcal/day across 3 meals (8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m.) for the 6-week intervention. In addition, subjects were asked to avoid extra activities and exercises beyond daily routine activities.
Figure 1. Changes in BMI, waist circumference, subcutaneous body fat and total body fat (%) after 18 sessions of high-frequency current therapy in Korean women (Kim. 2015).
Only the subjects in the EG group were subjected to high-frequency current therapy, with a frequency of 0.5 Mhz. The treatments were performed exclusively on the abdominal region while subjects were supine using specific equipment (CWM-9200; Chungwoo Medical, Seoul, South Korea) for 60 minutes, 3 times per week, for 6 weeks (a total of 18 sessions).
"High-frequency current therapy was performed in 2 phases: 2 sets of 15-minute applications of capacitive electric transfer (CET) and resistive electric transfer (RET) with the pulsed current option (current conduction time, 0.7 seconds; rest interval, 0.3 seconds) for the fist 3 weeks, followed by a 30-minute application of the CET and RET modes with continuous current conduction in the final 3 weeks. The intensity was individualized within a range of 6–7 mA to comfortably adjust the heating sensation during the intervention. An insulated electrode and a stainless steel electrode (8 cm in diameter) were used for the CET and RET modes, respectively. Conductive gel (Body Rubbing Cream; SA’COS, Incheon, South Korea) was used to facilitate skin moisture and current conduction, and high frequency current therapy was delivered by making circular motions of the electrode over the abdominal region at a moving speed of 5 cm/s, avoiding focused pressure on therapeutic areas" (Kim. 2015)
The comparison of the pre- vs. post-data showed here significant main effects of time with respect to waist circumference, abdominal obesity, subcutaneous fat mass, and body fat percentage, which differed significantly between the groups (see Figure 1), "suggesting the effects of high-frequency current therapy in decreasing obesity" (Kim. 2015).
Bottom line: I must say that I am impressed. I haven't been there to control whether the scientists cheated, but considering the fact that the control group received the same controlled diet as the women in the experimental group, the loss of body fat and the reduction in waist circumference that was achieved within only 6 weeks in young women is impressive.

High frequency currents are also been used for cellulite treatment, but there are other options, as well | learn more
In the end, the mechanism of action is simple and is believed to rely mostly on the heat induced dilatation of subcutaneous vessels and the subsequent facilitation of the lipolytic process (Song. 2006). Which would also explain why the effect was highly localized and there were no significant inter-group difference with respect to the BMI of the women in the study at hand. A study that is yet limited by the low number of participants, a lack of safety data (no blood analyses, for example), the absence of measurements of the reductions in visceral fat and the lack of a rigid dietary and activity control as it would be possible in a metabolic chamber | Comment on Facebook!
  • Han, J. S., Y. O. Park, and C. K. Zhoh. "The effect of high frequency treatment and meridian massage on the abdominal fat pattern of obesity women." J Korean Soc Esthet Cosmeceutics 6.1 (2010): 1-8.
  • Kang SO, Won YK. "The effect of high-frequency therapy on women’s obesity." Kor J Aesthet Cosmetol 3 (2005): 121–131.
  • Kim, Jin-seop, and Duck-won Oh. "Effects of high-frequency current therapy on abdominal obesity in young women: a randomized controlled trial." Journal of Physical Therapy Science 27.1 (2015): 31-33.
  • Song MY, Kim HJ, Lee MJ. "The review on the evidence: effects of nonsurgical localized fat treatments." J Korean Med Obes Res 6 (2006): 1–10.