Many of us are oh-so-familiar with it. Those little lumps of flesh around our thighs and derrière — anywhere there’s a little extra cushion.
Maybe you’ve noticed more of it as you round each new birthday year and decade. Yep, it’s cellulite. It’s normal. It’s another part of your beautiful, ever-changing bod.
Does massage for cellulite work?
Short answer: no. But you can use massage to limit the appearance of cellulite on your body.
Here are the details.
Cellulite is incredibly common. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of women have it!
It tends to show up in places where fatty tissue is more prevalent (hooray for thighs!). It’s not a sign of poor health in any way. Cellulite happens to pretty much everyone as they age, gain weight, and become less active, especially if it runs in the family.
According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, there’s no way to prevent cellulite, despite false promises out there. (It’s tempting, but 20 minutes of squeezing will not magically make your cellulite disappear.)
However, if you’re looking to limit the appearance of cellulite, you have options — like a nice massage!
What causes cellulite?
- Cellulite is a collection of fatty cells under the skin.
- Areas of increased fatty tissue may show more cellulite.
- Inflammation, loss of collagen, and poor lymphatic drainage contribute.
- Age, family history, and estrogen hormones also play a role.
- Poor circulation in the legs and inactivity may make it worse.
Can you massage your cellulite away?
According to Arnold Kelly, a licensed massage therapist, massage enhances skin tone, which may work to stretch out cellulite dimples too.
It stretches skin tissues, redistributes fat cells, and improves circulation and lymphatic drainage as well, all key to reducing the appearance of cellulite.
While a good massage may temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite, it’s not a permanent fix. Repeated treatments are necessary.
Your best bet is to book an appointment with a professional, but you can do your own massage at home as long as you follow the proper technique, such as this one from WikiHow.
There are also several massage creams you can purchase to combine with your at-home massage. However, remember that technique is what’s effective — the creams just make it easier on your hands.
You’ll need to repeat your sessions on an ongoing basis in order to see results over time. Martine de Richeville, a massage therapist known for her anti-cellulite technique, suggests at least ten sessions for best results.
There are several tools you can use to enhance your at-home massage for cellulite. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Foam rollers can encourage lymphatic drainage in key areas of cellulite collection.
- Handheld massagers may enhance massage without putting strain on your hands. Just be sure to read reviews and make the best product choice for you.
- Endermologie (aka deep tissue massage) lifts and stretches the skin around the areas where cellulite commonly forms.
There’s a common misconception that dry brushing may also treat cellulite. However, while dry brushing stimulates blood flow and removes dead skin cells, there is no evidence to support claims of cellulite treatment. Pass!
Massage is nice (and feels great!) but experts agree that the best way to reduce the appearance of cellulite on your body is exercise and other lifestyle measures.
Experts from the American Council on Exercise recommend daily cardio exercise combined with two to three strength-training sessions a week to lessen the appearance of cellulite.
Here are some leg and glute exercises to get you started:
Are there supplements for cellulite?
Beware of any manufacturers or wellness gurus claiming quick fixes or spot treatment for cellulite. A 2015 study did find an improvement in cellulite in women who took bioactive collagen peptides.
They took the supplements for 6 months and saw a noted decrease in thigh cellulite. Those with moderate weight saw more improvement than those with higher weight. As always, more studies are needed to fully confirm this claim.
There are some professional procedures you may want to try to reduce the appearance of cellulite, such as acoustic and laser therapy. Seek advice from a dermatologist about what procedures may be most helpful for you.
At-home massage may save some money in the long run, but there’s nothing like visiting a professional massage therapist. Look for a therapist skilled in endermologie or other anti-cellulite massage techniques.
Try an all-out spa treatment to really treat yourself, but beware — these can get pricey fast, especially as repeated treatments are encouraged. You might be better off supplementing professional visits with regular at-home massage for best results.
Cellulite appears in 80 to 90 percent of women. It’s just another way our bodies do their thing — and it’s not a sign of poor health.
While there’s no way to cure cellulite, there are ways to limit the dimpled appearance. Regular massage, exercise, and lifestyle measures, such as drinking water, can help. If you go the treatment route, repeat them often for the best results.