Does Lymphatic Drainage Massage Work for Cellulite?

Cellulite is one of the top body concerns of women, with approximately 85% of post-pubertal women having at least a form of cellulite, mostly in the thighs and butt area. Celebrities have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at the gym to get rid of these bumpy, cottage-cheese like bunches of fat. There are many methods introduced to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and one of those is lymphatic drainage massage.

So does lymphatic drainage massage work for cellulite? The massage therapy reduces the appearance of cellulite to a certain level and its effectiveness will vary per individual. For some, lymphatic drainage massage is enough to address their cellulite concerns while some may need another kind of treatment to get the results that they want.

How Cellulite is Formed and Why It’s Tough to Remove

First, you need to understand what cellulite is and why it can become such a problem for women, appearance-wise. Almost all women have it and it’s a rarity for men. The formation of cellulite starts during puberty, as hormonal-based changes in the body affect the way fat is organized. Fibrous bands, which are called septae, around the butt and thigh, that anchor the skin to the muscle pin down fat tissues, which results in the unsightly dimpled, “cottage cheese” or “orange peel” appearance.

There are numerous factors that affect one’s chances of getting cellulite, which include gender, age, genetics, hormones, diet, and lifestyle. 

  • Gender - ever wonder why men don’t have cellulite, even the overweight ones? The difference lies in the structure of the connective tissue. Men’s tissues are in a criss-cross pattern, which makes their bands intersecting. This pattern is very good at holding the fat cells down. On the other hand, women’s tissues are in a vertical pattern, which makes it allow fat cells to bulge towards the skin’s surface.
  • Age - loose skin is a fact of life that comes with age. Our skin becomes less elastic as we get older, which makes the connective tissue bands weaken naturally. 
  • Genetics - the distribution of your fat cells, the elasticity of your skin, and other factors influencing cellulite are dictated by the genes you have.
  • Hormones - estrogen especially plays a big role in the formation of fat cells and cellulite. This is the reason why women are more prone to having cellulite than men. It also explains why the formation of cellulite seems to start after puberty and can sometimes get worse during pregnancy.
  • Diet and lifestyle - it’s not surprising to know that living on a diet high in salt, fat, and preservatives makes you more prone to have metabolic disorders that can accelerate the development of cellulite. This is also true for not getting enough exercise and consuming too much alcohol - these can also affect your body’s inflammation and the way the fat cells are formed and distributed throughout your body.

The problem gets worse after the age of 30, in which cellulite gets very difficult to treat. Cellulite is not like the common fat, which is found underneath the skin. Cellulite is compartmentalized inside the skin, not underneath, which makes the fat protrude over the surface of the skin. There are multiple causes of cellulite, which include superficial fat accumulation, fluid retention, scar tissue, and toxin accumulation.

Read more: 10 Exercises to Get Rid of Cellulite

Melt Away Your Cellulite Today at the Cellulite Treatment Center of NJ

How Lymphatic Drainage Massage Works

Masseur makes anti-cellulite massageon the legs, thighs, hips and buttocks in the spa

Lymphatic drainage massage is a very gentle massage that aims to get the lymph fluids to move around the body. The lymph system is part of the body’s immune system. Lymph refers to the clear fluid that brings oxygen and nutrients to our cells and the toxins get flushed out via the lymph nodes. The fluid gets moved around by blood vessels and muscle movement. This drainage also encourages the produce more lymph for the lymphatic vessels to carry, which boosts the immune system.

There are two types of lymphatic drainage massage: manual and mechanical. Manual lymphatic massage is performed in a special room and the massage is applied on the entire body or the legs only. The therapist massages to improve the circulation of the lymph. 

Using a certain massage technique that is different from the standard massage, the therapist makes hand movements on the skin to move the lymphatic fluid around the body and drain them. The manual lymphatic drainage typically begins by working the neck area to open up the lymph nodes and then your therapist will move the fluids using her hand motions all around the body, encouraging lymph flow from the lymph vessels.

Unlike manual lymphatic drainage massage, the mechanical massage does not use direct human touch, but a machine. One example is Endermologie treatment, which involves deep tissue massage. Pressotherapy is another example of a mechanical lymphatic drainage massage. The treatment is designed to detoxify by stimulating the natural processes of the lymph fluid in expelling toxins and waste products from your body. 

Afterward, your tissues get cleansed, oxygenated, and rejuvenated, which results in a slimmer appearance of your arms, stomach, and legs. Pressotherapy is considered by some therapists as a safe and non-invasive alternative to liposuction, especially to individuals who are dealing with constant swelling and bloating in different areas of their bodies. There are some patients who undergo pressotherapy not really for cellulite but more for detoxifying their bodies and redefining their figures.

A minimum of 90 minutes of anti cellulite massage is needed for the drainage to be truly effective, with the ideal time around 2 hours.

Dry brushing is another method of lymphatic drainage that has become popular recently because it’s a DIY practice. Also called garshana, dry brushing is the Ayurvedic practice of massaging dry skin for health. In this exfoliation technique,  you can use dry brushes, silk gloves, loofahs, and herbal pastes to rub on your skin. The brushing is meant to slough away dead skin cells and stimulates blood flow and lymphatic circulation in the process. Brushing should be done 2 to 4 times a week to make the skin appear smoother and firmer. 

The improvement in lymphatic flow stimulates the blood circulation within the skin and soft tissue and also massages the adipose tissue and fibrous bands. This makes it a recommended technique for reducing the appearance of cellulite, at least temporarily.

Read also: Coffee Scrub for Cellulite

Why Lymphatic Drainage Massage May Not Be Enough

Problems of women body. Close up of anti cellulite massage for young woman in wellness center. Perfect skin fat burning beauty concept

Now that you’re aware of the nature of cellulite, it’s not going to be surprising to know that although lymphatic drainage massage works to some degree in decreasing the fat and the results are just temporary as well. It’s recommended that you get the lymph drainage massage to drain excess fluid once a month, and have it two or three times a week if you have issues with your immune system. 

But in terms of getting really dramatic results on cellulite reduction, you may need more than regular massages and dry brushing. The massage as lymphatic drainage treatment will not do much for the causes of cellulite, which are water retention, toxin accumulation, and connective tissue deformities. As for dry brushing, dermatologists emphasize that the practice reduces the “appearance” of cellulite, meaning that the stubborn fat deposits are not actually eliminated or physically reduced.

How Injectable Treatment for Cellulite Works

If regular massages and home remedies are not giving you the results that you want, your dermatologist has another option for you - injectables. Recently, the U.S. Food And Drug Administration has approved the use of Qwo, the first injectable treatment for cellulite in the buttocks. The injectable is made of enzymes that target the structural causes of cellulite under your skin. 

The enzymes’ job is to break and release the fibrous strands that create the appearance of cellulite and redistribute the fat cells beneath them. It gives the dimpled parts in the deep tissue a smoother appearance. Before the injection, your doctor will circle dimples on the treatment area while you’re standing. Afterward, you will be asked to lie down so the doctor can inject the Qwo in those circled spots. The process takes around 15 minutes and each buttock can receive up to 12 injections per session.

To get the best results in skin texture, you may need to make at least 3 visits, 21 days apart. Visible results may be achieved in 10 weeks. The number of treatments will depend on how the treated area improves and the level of results that you want. Qwo promises significant improvement in the appearance of dimples, but not total elimination. Side effects include bruising, hardness, redness, itching, swelling, discoloration, and warmth in the treated area. These are usually temporary and not a cause for alarm.

As this is a new treatment, it’s still not crystal-clear how long the results will hold up, but doctors are optimistic that it should last for several years.

Are you looking for another way to eliminate your cellulite? Cellulite Treatment Center of NJ provides Qwo injectables to help you improve the appearance of cellulite on your buttocks. If you’re in New Jersey and nearby locations, make an appointment with the center now and get to know your best options for getting the body you want. 

Melt Away Your Cellulite Today at the Cellulite Treatment Center of NJ


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