Q: How does the body composition analyzer you use work?

A: The scanning device I use is the InBody. It uses advanced and patented bioelectric impedance technology which measures the resistance of the body as a conductor to a very small electrical current. Safe low level currents are sent through the body through hand and foot electrodes. The current travels throughout your body water and encounters the different cells of your body (muscle cells, fat cells, skin cells, etc.) along the way.  Each cell has a certain ability to oppose (resist or impede) the current slightly as it travels on its path to the exit point.  By the time the current reaches its exit point, it will have lost some of its voltage. From here, impedance is determined and translated into your results. Voila!

Q: Is this the same as measuring your BMI (body mass index)?

A: No, this is not. BMI is an inaccurate attempt to measure fat content.  BMI does not tell you anything about the amount or distribution of fat or muscle in your body. BMI is simply a number obtained from dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters squared. BMI does have its utility when screening large populations in epidemiological studies.

Q: What exactly does the InBody measure?

A: Weight, Percent Body Fat, Total Body Water, Dry Lean Mass, Lean Body Mass, Body Fat Mass, Visceral Fat Level, Skeletal Muscle Mass, Segmental Lean Analysis, Segmental Fat Analysis, Intra- and Extracellular Water, Body Composition History, Basal Metabolic Rate, Body Mass Index

Q: Will I feel the electric currents during the test?

A: For the average population, the electric currents sent through the body during the test are too low to feel.  However, there is a small possibility that individuals with tactile sensitivity may feel a slight sensation. Electrosensitive individuals experience will vary from person to person but they may try it and see how or if it affects them.

Q: How long does it take to perform the test?

A: The test itself takes approximately 1 minute. However, in order to allow ample time to go over your results, expect to spend 30-45 minutes for your first appointment and 15-20 minutes for subsequent appointments.

Q: How often can you measure body composition?

A: The frequency of measurement is fully dependent on individual needs. I will guide you on this. In general, some clients may test as often as every 2 weeks, some monthly, and many quarterly.

Q: Why is the test more expensive than other devices that use BIA technology like the handheld analyzers at some gyms or sold at some stores?

A: There are other devices on the market that use BIA technology.  All BIA devices are based on Ohm’s Law however, the InBody is not the same as a hand-held device or scale you may buy at a store or see at some gyms.  The InBody is a patented state of the art medical device and differs significantly from other BIA devices in the following ways:

InBody technology relies on direct measurement and can measure the body in a segmental fashion; 

  • It is capable of accurately measuring impedance in the trunk region; 
  • It uses multiple frequencies and does not need to use statistical (or empirical) data in calculating values.
  • It evaluates a wide range of body types, from extremely obese, to elderly, to athletic.
  • In addition, you will have my expertise in interpreting the results and I will make recommendations specific to you.

Q: Is BIA technology accurate?

A: Historically, BIA technology, devices, and results have been met with some degree of skepticism. However, InBody technology addresses these concerns with its technological features and provides great precision and accuracy for total body and regional measurements.

Q: Who are not recommended to take the test?

People with insulin pumps or artificial electrical implants such as a defibrillator or pacemaker. The electrical currents of the analyzer/InBody may disrupt the functionality of life-sustaining implants.

Women who are on their menstrual cycle due to subtle changes in their hydration and body water levels.

Pregnant women because of the body’s constant fluctuations.

Prosthetic limbs- unfortunately, the electric currents are unable to pass through prosthetic limbs. The electrodes must come into contact with the body at all 8 contact points- thumbs, palms, soles, and heels.

Q: Are there any height, weight, or age restrictions for the test?

A: The scale design limits it to individuals 25 to 500 pounds in weight and 3 feet 2 inches to 7 feet 2 inches height. However, there are other modalities that I would be happy to refer you to if you are in this category. Unfortunately, although the technology can be used in children over the age of 3, currently I do not work with anyone under age 18.

Q: How can percent body fat change within a time frame as short as one day?

A: Weight and body water changes can occur with the introduction of meals and fluids, or with a change in environment. Circulation of body water may also cause changes in water distribution throughout the day. It is recommended that repeat tests, as much as possible, be performed under the same testing conditions, in the same environment, and at the same time of day as the initial test.

Q: What do I do with the test results?

A: I will review your results and provide recommendations based on your needs and goals. I will also provide you with a print-out of your results that you may share with your doctor, trainer, nutritionist or any other practitioners involved in your care.  I also have a list of trusted primary care doctors, fitness trainers, nutritionists etc. that can assist you.

Q: Can you be my primary care doctor?

A: I’m currently not practicing the full scope of primary care medicine.  However, I believe in the importance of having a primary care practitioner, and highly recommend that all of my clients and friends establish care with a primary care doctor. I do intend to offer other integrative wellness services in the future. Please sign-up for my newsletter for updates on this and other exciting news.

Q: What other commonly used methods for body composition analyses exists?

A: Other methods of measuring body composition include CT or MRI, DEXA, hydrostatic weighing, air displacement, and anthropometric calipers.

Q: How does the InBody compare to other modalities for testing body composition?

A: The Inbody's patented bioelectric impedance technology (BIA) is revolutionary and far surpasses any other BIA technology out there.  In addition, it does not have the limitations of the other modalities.  It can tell us about the distribution fat and fat free mass including visceral (belly) fat, it takes less than 1 minute to perform, it is not dependent on equations with variables like age, gender and race based on inherent assumptions, it is practical, comfortable, non-invasive, and it is not dependent on the performance of the subject nor the operator.