by Nick Lakoff, CMT
I cannot count the number of times that I have had female clients come to me and ask me to do a massage that would work on their cellulite. The desire to get rid of cellulite has spawned over the last few decades a multi-billion dollar industry around the world. Massage therapy has also been caught up in this trend with many therapists out there selling the idea that massage can help get rid of this bane on the thighs femininity. At the risk of offending my colleagues and bursting the bubble of some of my female readers, I want to separate fact from fiction about cellulite.
Cellulite mostly affects post-pubescent women and is generally found in the abdomen, thighs and buttocks. Although there are many reasons cellulite develops one prevailing theory is that the female body prepares itself for childbearing by depositing increases in fat reserves in these areas. The appearance of Cellulite which can look like the pattern of an orange peel, is caused by the rupturing (herniation) of subcutaneous fat cells within fibrous conjunctive tissues, namely layers of collagen, when fat deposits exceed the cells flexibility. There are many factors that determine whether or not you are pre-disposed to cellulite including, but not limited to, sex, age, genetics, diet, hydration, physical condition and weight fluctuation. Unfortunately for those who are self-conscious about cellulite there is no cure, period. Once those tissues have ruptured there is nothing that can make them as smooth as they once were.
However the news is not all bad. There are things that you can do to reduce the appearance of cellulite. First and foremost, keeping fit and muscles toned will keep skin taught and reduce skin sagging. Eating a proper balanced diet including fruits and vegetables will help your skins appearance. Proper regular hydration helps your skin rid itself of toxins and waste debris. Most human beings require 8 glasses (8oz) of water a day. However, you get most of that water from the food you eat so the current school of thought is to drink water when you feel thirsty. Overconsumption of water over time means possible problems with your renal system later on. A moderate amount of sun can also improve the appearance of your skin but all the current dermatologist guidelines for exposure to UVA and UVB rays should be heeded. There are some creams available out there that may also smooth the appearance of cellulite but you should exercise some common sense when using them.
When it comes to massage, getting regular session as part of a healthy lifestyle can also help with the appearance of cellulite. I once knew an American when I lived in the Dominican Republic who got her legs massaged two to three times a week as a treatment for her cellulite. Although I know it didn’t heal her cellulite she did have legs that a woman 20 years her junior would envy. I don’t know if she was wealthy or if this was a priority for her disposable income. Regardless, most of us couldn’t afford either the money or the time to get this number of massages on a regular basis.
For cellulite, massage can help smooth its appearance but brings the additional benefits of being quite pleasurable, good for the skin and good for overall blood and lymphatic circulation all of which can help with your overall health.
Nick Lakoff is a certified practitioner in the following disciplines: Swedish Massage, Sports Massage, Reflexology, Acupressure, Myo-Fascial Release, Massage for Pregnancy, Swedish Chair Massage, Hot Stone Massage and Reiki.