What CoolSculpting REALLY Feels Like

February 1, 2021

CoolSculpting often generates a ton of interest among our clients — specifically because it’s a non-surgical way to reduce fat in traditional “problem areas.” (CoolSculpting can eliminate up to 20-40% of fat cells in a specific area.)

However, the treatment itself can sound, well, kind of intimidating. Most people have a lot of questions involving not only how it works, but what it feels like.



First, the how:

CoolSculpting entails applying extremely cold temperatures to particularly stubborn pockets of fat. Clients usually opt to treat the abdomen, flanks, thighs, under chin, or upper arms. The fat cells in these areas freeze and die, and your body metabolizes the dead cells out over a 6 to 12 week period. This leaves the area noticeably slimmer.

Okay, but what does it feel like?

To adequately answer this question, I decided to try CoolSculpting for myself (journalistic integrity, right?). I chose to focus on my lower belly fat and “love handle” regions, and so booked a session with Joanna, one of our CoolSculpting specialists.

The session started with Joanna meticulously measuring my midsection. She does this so that she can choose the CoolSculpting machine attachments best suited to your specific shape and contours … Which brings us to the machine itself: It looks kind of like a futuristic robot with a vacuum tube attached.


Photo I snapped of the CoolSculpting machine.

After assessing my midsection, Joanna chose a specific attachment, or “applicator.” She secured one end to the tube on the machine and the other to my stomach.


This is what the applicators look like.


This is where things got interesting.

Once the tube and applicator were securely attached to me, Joanna turned the machine on … at which point I felt a strong suction. It literally feels like a vacuum on your love handles! The area began to feel cold … like really, really cold. It was relatively unpleasant for the first couple minutes, until the area went numb and I felt nothing. I sat scrolling through Instagram for the next 35 minutes, at which point the machine beeped and Joanna repeated the process on my other side. This was done a total of four times, or four “cycles” as it’s called. Left then right lower belly, and left then right love handles.

Bottom line: While decidedly weird-feeling, the actual process itself was pretty painless.

What To Expect AFTER Your Session

While the session itself was much less uncomfortable than I feared, my stomach and sides felt tender for about a week after. (You will NOT want to be poked.) I also experienced mild swelling in the area, which made me hyper aware of my belly fat. My roommate said she didn’t notice a difference, but I could feel it.

And, perhaps the strangest thing of all, was the persistent numbness. The area felt oddly numb for about a month post-session, with the occasional “itchy” sensation as the nerves in the area started to reawaken. I was also warned that I might experience some bruising, but I didn’t personally have that issue.

The final results?

Full disclosure: I still need to have my second session. The stomach area usually requires two treatments spaced about six weeks apart (though places like the arms and “double chin” often only require one). I’ve definitely noticed a small change 8 weeks post-session, which is a good sign considering it takes about 12 weeks after the second session to see final results.

My take away? If you’re interested in CoolSculpting and you’re deemed a good candidate, I absolutely wouldn’t let fear of pain or discomfort deter you — at least based on my specific experience. Again, it all feels a little weird, but there’s nothing outright painful about the process. Plus — for me — the post-procedure soreness is a small price to pay for no longer feeling self-conscious about my stomach. I’m excited for bikini season for the first time in years!

Interested in scheduling a complimentary CoolSculpting consult? Book here.

Author: Toria Sheffield