Cellulite massage works via four different mechanisms
There are four ways in which cellulite massages work:
- Via lymphatic stimulation / lymphatic drainage
- By boosting blood circulation
- By mechanical stimulation of connective tissue
- By helping skin absorb active ingredients
However, it is important to note that not all cellulite massages are the same. There are hundreds of different cellulite massage techniques. In fact, because massage is such an individual skill that differs broadly from therapist to therapist, we can say that there are thousands of different cellulite massage techniques.
So different aspects of the information below may apply strongly or not at all to different massage techniques, depending on therapist, client and products used.
Cellulite massage works via lymphatic drainage / lymphatic stimulation
The term lymphatic stimulation applies to stronger types of anti-cellulite massages that actively stimulate the function of lymphatic vessels and glands. This is in contrast to the very soft lymphatic drainage massages that passively drain the lymph. Both lymphatic stimulation and lymph drainage are the result of a pumping action of the hands on interstitial fluid, lymph vessels and lymph glands.
By reducing water retention, which is an important component of cellulite, cellulite massage can aid in the reduction of cellulite.
Cellulite massage works by increasing blood circulation
The stronger types of anti-cellulite massage can also stimulate blood circulation, in addition to stimulating the flow of lymph. Again, the mechanical pumping action of cellulite massage on blood vessels is responsible for this effect.
By helping nourish the tissues and by reducing water retention, which is an important component of cellulite, cellulite massages can aid in the reduction of cellulite.
Cellulite massage works via mechanical stimulation on connective tissue
It is now well-known that mechanical stimulation of connective tissue inhibits the creation of new fat cells from mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) (adipocyte differentiation) and favoring the creation of fibroblasts (fibroblast differentiation) from those cells. This simply means that increased mechanical stimulation leads to more firmness and less cellulite, while decreased mechanical stimulation leads to more "flab".
A stronger cellulite massage will have a more pronounced effect in this regard, while a soft massage will have minimal effects, unless it is provided very, very frequently.
Absorption of active ingredients into the skin
Over the years we have provided literally thousands of cellulite massages, and one thing we noticed is that the anti-cellulite massage creams used for the treatment were absorbed faster and to a larger extent than without massage treatment.
Of course, cream absorption depends on many factors, most importantly the composition of the cream itself, but if the right anti-cellulite formulation is applied, a good cellulite massage can significantly enhance it's absorption. We found that strong cellulite massage allows the skin to absorb about twice the amount of a specially formulated anti-cellulite cream.
Naturally, if the massage is performed with just an oil - and not an anti-cellulite cream - there is no benefit in this regard.
When properly performed by a knowledgeable therapist, and applied with a good anti-cellulite cream, strong cellulite-specific massage is a relatively cost-efficient way to reduce - and especially to prevent - cellulite in a pleasant manner.