JMLs MicroTone is like all the other look fit but be a couch potato quick fix electronic toning systems. Its a simple idea needle like impulses are sent into the body contracting and relaxing muscles so acts like you are doing exercises. This in turn tones up your body and gives you the toned muscle without the work. Usually items like this come on a belt which you can wrap around your midriff, arms or legs but this product is a miniature version which is much better for getting into those harder to reach areas. As it is just a mini, 2 are supplied and with the benefit of being self adhesive there isnt a worry about trying to wrap straps around the area and they can also target specific areas.
The look of the product is almost like a big butterfly. They are discreet and quite light so they can be worn under clothing. I did try this but I could see the flashing lights. The wings of the butterflies are rubbery but on the back hold a lattice work of metal contact which is protected by a jelly like (self adhesive) substance. The body is a crème egg sized device (although flatter) with 5 lights which flash based on the programme chosen, the programme button and on and off switches which also intensify the impulses.
The kit contains: 2 Microtone pads, 2 Microtone cases, 2 CR2032 3V batteries and a spare adhesive pad. On opening and reading the instructions the trouble I had most was trying to get the battery to actually go in so I could put the casing back on. They do have to be under the contacts and it does actually power on the device so Id recommend pressing the off button just in case it causes a shock. These batteries cost less than £1 to replace so unless using the product a lot, wont mean spending hundreds on looking toned. In my experience I can usually get around 10 20 uses out of each battery.
Each pad is placed on a plastic backing which keeps the adhesive from losing its stickiness. The instructions are absolutely useless in terms of telling you where is best to place the pads. Luckily I have used similar products before and there are a couple of pictures on the box for ideas. With continual use it is inevitable that the adhesive will wear off but Im not sure as to why they only supply one spare pad rather than two. The second complaint is the lack of explanation as to what each of the five programmes actually are/do. Whats different about them? What should be used and when? All the instructions state: Place on desired part of the body select desired program. Third complaint is again about instruction - there is no mention of how often they should be used.
Program 1: Follows quite a steady rhythm and then breaks out into a more intense work out. One feeling is like pins and needles but has a rather calming effect like waves of pressure in a massage before a choppy effect. This continually switches from one to the other.
Program 2: Is almost like a washing machine on fast spin vibration with the waves of impulses. Those last for a few minutes before a short tapping effect which becomes more intense. The waves are then repeated. When used on the arms the bicep muscles get a good work out from being continually contracted.
Program 3: This is only one setting where there is the continual wave feeling as the intensity is increased the contractions become more intense and doesnt change throughout the whole 15 minutes.
Program 4: This begins like the fast spin on the washing machine vibration again. The light barely goes off until there are shorter sessions which are still quite intense. I prefer using the one on the tummy area as it is quite intense and continually works the muscles.
Program 5: This one is quite choppy as it continually changes pace with short bursts and a small break between each. This is one I prefer to use on my tummy or legs as it is intense and like Program 4 gets the muscles working a lot more.
Tip: hold the pad in between your hands while its still on the backing sheet to heat it up a bit its normally freezing!
Each program lasts 15 minutes and they can be increased or decreased in intensity while they are being done. I find that they tend to range from a more beginner level to more advanced as they intensify. I do recommended starting a quite a low one to begin with or it can be quite a shock. Safety features such as a cut out after 5 seconds if removed from the body are there. There is also a lot of involuntary muscle action e.g. I find when using them on the biceps (top of the arms) my arms bends and then in released or on the tummy area the muscles contract. In a way this is a good sign it shows that the product is actually working on the right areas I know that when I use them on my arms I can have the muscles working on one and not on the other so have to adjust the pad. These actions are also done more often than would be done in a usual exercise routine this tones up the area quicker and where I may not have had time in the past or the energy to do a load of sit ups or weight lifting (1kg weights Im not a bodybuilder!) I can easily slap on a pad and have it working while I am busy doing something else.
I find that once I have done a work out I tend to end up with a small rash which can obviously be butterfly shaped so I dont recommending using if you are about to go out and have that area exposed. The mark doesnt last long and is the result of increased blood flow at skin level even though the pad may be stuck on properly sometimes it gives almost like a shock which is on the skin rather than an impulse on the muscle. Unfortunately the adhesive doesnt last long at all on the pads and I find myself continually pressing the wings down again this is more annoying on my arms so normally use my sleeves to hold them in place. I have searched all over the place and can't seem to find replacement pads for it.
But do they work? In my experience, and I used them every other day on arms and tummy I do see a difference. With lack of instruction I base my routine on what is recommended in exercise. I wouldnt do it daily as I feel its unnecessary. The results are not that significant but the muscle especially on my arms do look more defined. Dont expect to get a 6 pack from this as the intensity is not as strong as can be bought from similar products and as these pads are in Micro they dont cover such a wide area.
£19.98 from Amazon (half that on ebay) compared to £79.99 for a Slendertone (similar but more popular product) which only works the abdominals just shows how good value this product is as it works any area you want to target. There are obvious differences in that Slendertone is a more specialised product but JML have recreated the basics in their MicroTone. The product is good but could be improved and the shocking lack of instructions is definitely something that could be improved. There are cleaning, safety and storage instructions given not to be used if e.g. you have a pacemaker, not to be used by children, not to be used on the face, neck or near the heart etc. but it would help if it told you where would be best to use them to target specific muscles. Also because the wings tend to lose their stickiness rather quickly too I will only give this product 3 stars but leaning towards recommending because it does work.