Reduce Cellulite with This Massage Technique
Adding to the never-ending list of awful things that start happening when you get older is getting cellulite. Cellulite is one of those things that doesn't affect us physically really, but its impacts on our mental health can be immense. Cellulite often accumulates around the backs of our arms, thighs, and butts. In fact, 75% - 90% of women have cellulite. Yet, due to the media, cellulite is not only undesirable, it is obscene. In our world, smooth taut skin is what we all strive for, and we feel compelled to reduce cellulite.
When we think of cellulite we think of fat, but that is only partially true. Cellulite appears when fat cells increase and the fascia is altered. Over the years a myriad of methods to reduce cellulite has come and gone. Research has shown topical treatments for the most part are not at all helpful. Though there might be some hope to reduce cellulite, one technique being this not-so-secret massage technique called fascia massage.
What is Fascia
The fascia (pronounced fah-sha) is the thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds your organs, blood vessels, bones, and muscles. It basically just holds everything in place. In addition to this function, the fascia also separates the muscles so they can work independently of each other and provides a lubricated surface so that the muscles can move smoothly against each other. Fascia can range in texture from very stretchy to very firm and there are actually three types of fascia:
- Superficial Fascia - This type of fascia is associated with the skin.
- Deep Fascia - This type of fascia is associated with the muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels.
- Visceral (or Subserous) Fascia - This type of fascia is associated with the internal organs.
Not only does the fascia provide structure, but it also contains tons of nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin. Like your skin, your fascia tightens up when stressed. It’s designed to stretch as you move. But there are certain things that cause the fascia to thicken and become sticky. When it dries up and tightens around muscles, it can limit mobility, cause painful knots to develop, and increase the appearance of cellulite. So what can you do to keep your fascia healthy and reduce cellulite?
Well aside from fascia massage, here's a list of things:
1. Move Your Body
Exercise has so many benefits and keeping your fascia healthy is only one of them. Exercise can also be very daunting, especially now and throughout covid. But there are some activities that are low stress and low impact that still get your blood pumping. Try going for a 20-minute walk every day, a bike ride, or a swim if possible.
2. Stretch Regularly
Stretching is also incredibly important. Stretching relieves stress, promotes blood flow, increases flexibility, and so much more. Try 10 minutes every day.
3. Focus on Posture
Make a conscious effort not to slouch, this helps your fascia and muscles from not binding up and creating knots.
4. Try Yoga
Yoga combines tips 1-3, it moves, stretches, and strengthens your muscles and fascia. Try not to be intimidated by yoga! You do not need to be super flexible to do it. Working slowly is how all yoga practitioners begin and the most important part is to just try.
5. Sit in a Sauna
Research suggests that infrared saunas may penetrate the neuromuscular system to promote recovery. A study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics found sitting in the sauna for 30 minutes increases women’s levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which helps our bodies break down fats and build muscle. Also, saunas just feel wonderful.
Remember to drink water - Every cell in your body functions better when properly hydrated and your fascia is no exception. This is especially important if you've just visited the sauna.
The combination of exercising (reducing new fat cells from forming) and fascia massage (stimulating the fat processes) seems like the best method to reduce cellulite.
Fascia Massage or Fascia Blasting
Fascia massage differs from traditional massage because it works on a more superficial level not targeting deep muscle tissue. When performing fascia massage you are using a limited amount of pressure to the surface of your skin. You might think that in doing this you are stimulating the cells or breaking up the fat, but you would be wrong.
Fascia massage actually comes from the concept of WBV or whole-body vibration. WBV has been shown to stimulate hepatic lipid oxidation, in other words, it helps your liver regulate your fat cells. Why this happens mechanically is still unknown. However, the results don't lie and WBV can increase the rate of fat disposal, can stop the progression of fatty build-ups, and improve muscle tone and function.
While there is limited evidence for all current cellulite treatments, one study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science showed that a hand‐held localized vibrational device could be used for fascia massage and reduce cellulite. In this study, participants performed 15-minute massages every other day over 24 weeks. This experiment serves as a basis for effective massage frequency.
Alternatively, there are a few different treatments that reduce cellulite in another way. These options stimulate apoptosis or the death of fat cells. Cryolipolysis (freezing), radio‐frequency (RF), low‐level laser therapy (LLLT), and high‐intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) are all ways that have been shown to reduce cellulite with only a few treatments. However, since they do not target the root of the problem, results are often short-lived and these treatments are fairly expensive.
I will be buying a handheld localized vibrational device (lol), here’s my choice. (It's the aesthetic and relative affordability for me.) When looking for a device to perform fascia massage, based on my research, I don't think that the “top of the line, $599, professional-grade tool” is necessary. The science behind this technique to reduce cellulite is very interesting. Honestly, you could just use your hands to simulate vibrations but I do not think that would be as effective given the same amount of time. But, that choice is all yours.
Written by Kiana St. Onge