For most people, fat bulges are something they don’t want. It makes our thighs jiggle, our clothes fit tight and look bad, and typically lingers despite our torturous attempts to eliminate it. Too much of it increases our risk for certain illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, so for decades researchers have looked for ways to reduce it. Humans have two types of fat: white fat & brown fat, and understanding the differences between the two, can help people lose weight. “White fat” is the thin layer of blubber we see on the human belly. backs of arms and on the thighs. This particular fat acts as a thermal insulator, that keeps body temperatures stable.
“Brown fat,” on the other hand, is less abundant in the body and creates heat, rather than trapping it like white fat does. Brown fat actually warms a cold body by burning energy or calories. White fat however, can take on brown fat characteristics, with the resulting product called “beige fat.” This process is called “browning.” Because beige and brown fat are able to burn calories, they are a positive force for weight loss, while an excess of white fat is associated with weight gain and obesity. According to Dr. Philip A. Kern, a researcher of the University of Kentucky School of Medicine, browning fat tissue would be an excellent defense against obesity, as it would make the body burn extra calories rather than converting them into fatty tissue.
The device sucks the skin and underlying fat into a cup, then cooling it. The current theory is that chilling fat tissues to just below freezing triggers inflammation of the fat cells (Panniculitis) and then triggers natural cell death in the fat cells (apoptosis). The inflammation starts 3 days after treatment, peaking at 30 days, with the number of fat cells continuing to decline over the 90 day period. Temporary side effects include occasional bruising and a little bit of redness. While the fat cells that are treated drain from the body, there are still other surrounding fat cells that can expand, so a patient has to maintain a healthy diet.
A common concern is frostbite, or other damage to the skin, however this is not a problem, as you need far colder temperatures (-10c/14f) to cause that type of damage. CoolSculpting uses temperatures that do not immediately kill off the fat cells, but rather it triggers the natural process of cell death (apoptosis). That’s why the end result takes a couple weeks, and up to 3 months for the full effect to be seen. I will be doing a follow up story about this in the near future. However, it has been found that a similar effect can be produced at home for almost no cost.
Using Ice Pack Therapy At Home To Shed Excess Fat
Ice-packs have been known to bring down inflammation and prevent swelling in sports injuries for decades, and due to all the evidence for the CoolSculpting treatment, researchers say it’s possible to replicate the effects at home by simply applying ice packs to the skin.
An early study of CoolSculpting showed a reduction in the fat levels by doing this, (though not as great of a loss as colder temperatures through the commercial procedure.) The studies showed that levels of fat on areas of the body where ice packs were applied, were noticeably lower than other parts of the body. So by simply strapping on ice-packs to a fatty area like the thighs, stomach or flanks for just 30 minutes to an hour, 3 to 4 times per week, you can help shed that hard-to-lose stubborn fat.
For those wanting to spot reduce fat on certain areas on their bodies, cold thermogenesis makes this possible, and can cause a significant difference in body shape and appearance.
What To Watch Out For
Using ice packs incorrectly can cause skin burns which may vary from mild such as first degree burns or more severe such as second and third degree burns. One of the most common ways this can occur is through the application of the ice pack directly to the skin without a barrier in between, especially of an injured area.
Use a thin layer such as a tee shirt between the skin and ice. You can also try a thin folded hand towel or a couple layers of paper towels for a few minutes until the skin adjusts and then remove the layer. Using thick towels or material will keep the ice from affecting the area decreasing its benefit.
There are certain factors that increase cold induced burn injuries through icing, and these may include:
- People who use medications that decrease the blood flow to the skin such as beta-blockers.
- People with peripheral vascular disease which decrease the blood flow to the affected tissue.
- People with peripheral neuropathy which decreases the ability to feel injuries.
- Smoking and diabetes.
Symptoms of Cold Induced Burn Injuries:
- Pins and needles sensation followed by tingling and numbness
- Redness and pain in the affected skin area
- Firm or waxy skin which is white and completely numb
- Skin blisters
Treatment of Ice Pack Burn:
You may notice having an ice pack burn if you start developing the signs and symptoms of cold induced injury such as developing blisters, feel burning, numb, itchiness and/or pain sensation in the affected area. The color of the affected skin may turn yellowish-gray. The affected area need to be re-warmed to stop the burn from becoming severe.
- Warming process should be GRADUAL to avoid burning yourself and causing more damage to the skin.
- Soak the burned skin in warm water. The National Institute of Health suggests the temperature of water to be between 104 and 108 degree Fahrenheit for 20 minutes (never use hot water).
- You can use warm compresses or wrap the area with a blanket.
- Avoid massaging or moving the damaged area as this can cause more damage.
- Avoid using direct dry heat to warm the affected area such as radiator or hair dryer as these areas are numb and can burn easily.