Micro-stretching provided by mild movement / mechanical stimulation reduces fat cell number
It is already well-known that mechanical stimulation inhibits adipocyte differentiation (new fat cell creation) favouring the creation of new collagen cells (fibroblasts) instead.
This simply means that "jumping about", swimming, squatting on the whole body vibration machine ("power plate") and having regular strong cellulite massages can help you stay leaner, firmer and avoid cellulite and topical fat gain. This does not have to do with calorie balance but with the effect of mechanical stimulation on connective tissue cells such as adipocytes and fibroblasts.
This piece of research shows that new in-vitro adipocyte differentiation (fat cell creation) is inhibited by very mild mechanical stimulation, as mild as 10% longitudinal stretching every 100 seconds for 6 hours per day.
This inhibition is due to the reduction of the proteins PPAR-gamma, FAB4 and ERK.
Take home message:
Although this is an in-vitro study, it adds to the large body of evidence provided by similar studies that mechanical stimulation does help reduce fat cell number. This means that exercise, power plate training and strong cellulite-specific massages, can help you stay slim and firm, regardless of the effect of exercise on calorie balance.
Vibration massage (such as the one pictured above) can also help, but it very quickly causes broken veins, and sometimes skin irritation, so it is better avoided. Strong cellulite massage is much more effective and does not cause spider veins.
So, mechanical stimulation can help control adiposity and skin laxity. However, the emphasis here is on the word "help", i.e. you cannot expect to stay slim and firm only with power plate and massages. Calorie control (with exercise and diet) is also essential. The mechanical stimulus provided by the exercise, vibration training and the massage boosts the effect of calorie control.
But on the other hand, the effect of mechanical stimulation on firming and slimming means that calorie control is not enough either. If you hate exercise and you attempt to control your weight only with diet, you will indeed stay slim for a while, but you will gradually suffer from loose skin, develop cellulite, and eventually also lose your battle against fat accumulation too.
[Source: Low frequency mechanical stimulation inhibits adipogenic differentiation of C3H10T1/2 mesenchymal stem cells]