Hands up if you’ve ever wished you could get a little help with those thighs or that stubborn pocket around the midsection — you know, the baby weight from the baby who just turned five — because a zillion squats and crunches ain’t doing it. It’s particularly irritating if you exercise consistently and mind your nutrition, am I right? You do the heavy lifting (literally), hit the trail or track, work that core, opt for balanced meals, drink all the water, and basically do everything you can to hold up your end of the strong, healthy, banging body bargain. And still — still! — you’re stuck with weight down here and over there that just won’t budge. If you’re like me, you also have a healthy skepticism of any “revolutionary” technology or gadget or diet or 30-day challenge that promises results for basically nothing, because it all comes down to discipline, diet, and genes (mostly genes). Right?
Well, maybe not entirely.
Meet the Zerona Z6, a body-contouring, fat-loss laser that sounds like something out of a James Bond flick. Six rotating laser heads — on wheels — are flashy in a super-villain kind of way, but this isn’t Hollywood magic. It’s cold, or low-level, laser technology, which has been used for some 45 years to reduce pain and inflammation and promote healing. On the cosmetic side of things, it was developed to supplement liposuction and speed up the recovery process. A handful of clinical trials later, researchers found out that these cold laser treatments stand alone as a method of targeting fat.
I know, I know, you’re wondering how exactly this works, and what makes it different from CoolSculpting or Sculpsure or plain ol’ liposuction (which sounds… extreme). They all target fat cells, i.e. adipose tissue. We’re all born with it, and puberty-triggered hormones dictate where it will hang out. For us lucky ladies, our “trouble areas” tend to be the waist, hips, and booty, while men can struggle with that impressive beer belly. We stop producing adipose tissue after puberty, so gaining weight doesn’t mean we make more fat cells. It means the ones we have get bigger. And that’s why any fat-loss treatment that actively destroys those cells — like CoolSculpting, Sculpsure, and old-school liposuction —may sound great, but can actually backfire spectacularly. There’s a caveat to that whole stop-producing-fat-cells-after puberty thing — it doesn’t apply if fat cells are being destroyed. If you gain weight after lipo, and a lot of people do, those new fat cells will show up in random, untreated parts of the body. Yikes.
That brings us to one of the big selling points of the Zerona, though there are a few. This kind of laser doesn’t destroy fat cells at all. Instead, it resets them so they can get on with all their important jobs. And spoiler — fat cells are kind of a big deal. “Fat cells actually help us stay healthy by regulating our metabolism,” explains Dr. Lynelle McSweeney, a holistic chiropractor here in Reno who brought in the Zerona as another service for her patients. “They also support the immune system, produce hormones, and when the cells are healthy, they assist the liver in processing and removing toxins from the body. The laser is impressive because it allows the fat cells to release their toxic properties without destroying the integrity of the cells.”
That release comes courtesy of teeny, temporary pores that the lasers make in the membranes of enlarged fat cells, which allows the lipids inside to drain for removal via the body’s lymph system. Dr. McSweeney recommends around eight treatments, and it has to be the most relaxing way to shed fat. You lie down, she positions the lasers, and you relax for twenty minutes. Then you flip onto your belly, she positions the lasers, and you relax for another twenty. Dr. McSweeney’s practice follows up the treatments with a quick G5 massage and ten minutes on a vibration plate — all the better to help with the draining process and improve results, she explains.
When Dr. McSweeney positions the lasers, she’s quite literally targeting the squishy spots that just won’t budge. Belly? Bulging bra strap region? Inner thigh? This laser is designed to target the enlarged fat cells in these areas — and others, from the chin all the way down to the knees — with no side effects, no pain, no downtime, and none of the drawbacks of a surgical option. Again, none of these cells are being damaged in any way, and the treatment works quickly. From consultation to final appointment, you’re looking at about four weeks.
According to Dr. McSweeney, “the perfect candidate for Zerona is someone who has a few areas where they would like to see changes — someone who wants to target certain zones that exercise hasn’t been able to hit.” In other words, this isn’t a great fit for someone who’s generally out of shape and looking to drop a lot of weight. It’s a body contouring treatment that targets particularly stubborn spots, not an overall weight-loss procedure.
And now for the million-dollar question — does it work?! The proof is in the inches lost, and Dr. McSweeney’s patients are seeing impressive results. “Some have lost three to four inches, while others have lost 14 or more inches,” she says. “This is all very dependent on the patient and how well they are following their recommended nutrition, supplement, and exercise plan.”
It’s an important point — while the treatments themselves are a chance to relax for an hour, you will need to commit to some kind of fitness and nutrition. In that sense, ponying up for treatments can be a good kick in the pants if you need the motivation to re-commit to exercise or better eating habits. Still, Dr. McSweeney is confident enough in the laser’s efficacy that she’s offering a money-back guarantee. At the same time, she’s the first to say the Zerona is no miracle cure. You need to put in some work yourself for the long haul. “Like any procedure, if you don’t keep up on maintaining the results, the fat can come back,” she says.
Here’s the big takeaway. If you’re putting in the work in the gym and (mostly) minding your diet but you still can’t drop the last bit of weight here and there, laser weight loss is worth considering — especially since a consultation won’t cost you a penny. Get in there and ask all of your questions about this FDA-approved technology to see if it’s a good fit for you. Consider it a workaround for those of us who weren’t born with the gene for six-pack abs (so unfair!).
You can reach Dr. McSweeney’s office to schedule your consultation at 775-525-5624 and learn more about the Zerona laser on the practice website.
Jessica Timmons is a work-from-home mama, which sounds awesome until you actually try to do it. She’s been on this crazy ride for the last 13 years, juggling the busy little lives of her four kids and a demanding content writing business. The truth is, she just makes it all up as she goes. Doesn’t everyone? Check out her website, www.jessicatimmons.