The aesthetics industry is forever evolving and a new trend using an old favourite is emerging.
Body contouring has been a hot topic for years now with treatments exploding in popularity. Everything from cryolipolysis to HIFEM, ultrasound and radio frequency has become accessible to the masses and created a multi-billion-dollar industry. And let’s not forget to mention the incredible rise of liposuction and fat transferring procedures like the famed BBL.
Now, the latest way to achieve your dream body, without going under the knife, is by using muscle relaxants.
The list of alternative uses for muscle relaxants has been growing steadily over the years. It’s been the gold standard in treating wrinkles in the face for decades now and innovation has led to the treatment of conditions like hyperhidrosis in the armpits, hairline, hands and even feet as well as helping to reduce teeth grinding. We’ve even witnessed the rise of jaw slimming techniques that introduce the idea of muscle relaxants as a contouring treatment.
As an industry we’re always looking for the next big thing, and this time it’s come in the form of yet another non-invasive body contouring treatment.
How it works
The science of muscle slimming using muscle relaxants is not overly complicated. It utilises the sliding scale of effect that injections can have on the muscle based on the dose.
Dr Naomi, social media star and Founder of The Manse Clinic, as well as her own skincare range, Dr Naomi Skin, is pioneering the use of injections for body contouring in Australia. She advises, “It’s similar to the way we use anti-wrinkles injections for jaw slimming.”
Where treatment for wrinkles aims to relax the muscle at the lower end of the dosage scale, Dr Naomi advises, “When we are slimming a muscle, we are using the muscle relaxant to atrophy the muscle.”
An atrophied muscle is a slimmer muscle which in turn makes the area appear slimmer and more defined.
The treatable areas
Jaw slimming is undoubtedly the most mainstream use of the injecting technique. However, it’s results below the neck that are grabbing attention. Injecting into the trapezius muscles—the shoulder muscles that run from the neck down to the middle of the back—can make shoulders appear slimmer and the neck more elongated. And, calves are another promising treatment area with injections into the gastrocnemius muscle-which runs down the backside of your leg, from your knee to your heel- able to reduce the appearance of bulky calves.
Finding your dose
As you would probably expect, achieving significant slimming results isn’t going to be a simple. Dr Naomi suggests the number of treatments required is going to change from patient to patient.
“This comes down to the doses used per treatment session. Doses for these procedures are large and relatively expensive and how much is used will often come down to the patient’s budget,” she advises.
“If a big enough dose is used, a result can be seen after one treatment. However, commonly three treatments are often required for patients to start becoming more satisfied with their results and achieving the looks they’re going for.”
Safety should always be a top priority and the large doses required to achieve muscle slimming results brings an added need for caution. Dr Jayson Oates, FRACS advises on behalf of the Australasian Academy of Cosmetic Dermal Science (AACDS) , “As with all scheduled 4 medications, the nurse should be working under the supervision of the prescribing doctor.
“When using large doses of muscle relaxants in muscles such as the calves, it’s important not to impair muscle function too much as this can result in mobility issues. The practitioner must determine the correct dosage for each patient and this may mean trialling with smaller amounts. Overall, the side effects are potentially greater when using muscle relaxants on larger muscle groups.”
A unique approach to body contouring
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about using muscle relaxants for body contouring is that there really is no other treatment that targets muscles in the same way. It brings an option for practitioners to address patient concerns that hasn’t existed in the past.
“This type of treatment is in a class of its own,” says Dr Naomi. “Other body contouring treatments are to reduce fat or to build muscle. Muscle relaxants are for slimming muscles in the body so they are not really competitors to those other devices, it’s a different target and goal.”
However, like any emerging treatment, this isn’t the kind of thing any and every injector should put on their service menu. Dr Naomi recommends an injector should already be highly experienced in injectable treatments and need to spend time studying availble medical information before seeking hands-on training.
Formal training may be hard to come by on Australian shores while this type of injection technique is still being pioneered. The AACDS told us, “The use of muscle relaxants on non-facial areas are considered to be more advanced techniques and the doctor or nurse should not consider injecting these areas until they’ve gained experience in injecting the basic facial areas. At this stage, AACDS does not offer training in body slimming treatments using muscle relaxants.”
Do you have clients that would benefit from muscle slimming injecting treatments? With promising before and after images already, we’re excited to see where innovation in this technique will go.
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