Cellulite is one of those conditions that plagues the 21st century due largely to our overindulgent lifestyles and lack of physical activity. There are literally thousands of devices and substances on the market both here in Australia and overseas that claim to be able to rid you of your cellulite. These of course are primarily aimed at vulnerable women. Few if any of these have ever been proven to work or have any real science behind them so attempt at your own risk! One that does have some backing however is the use of massage. One type of treatment that works is Endermologie. It is a massage machine with 2 rollers and a gentle suction action that when rolled over the top layer of fat makes a fold. Only a certified endermologist shall provide this service. This folding action stretches the connective tissue and results in the reduction of cellulite and body measurements. FDA approved claims that involved Endermologie treatments that included temporary reduction of cellulite, reduced body measurements, increased circulation, relief of muscular pain, and reduction of muscle spasms. It was developed in the 1980’s as a non-surgical method to treat the scars of burn victims, who began to notice improvements in their cellulite as well. From that point forward the any benefits of Endermologie began to be recognized. As a long time massage therapist who has used massage therapy to work on cellulite as well as other conditions, I can say first hand that it is an effective aspect of helping with the reduction of cellulite. The rolling and suction actions can be mimicked by hand fairly effectively. But first, let’s look at how cellulite forms.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is the appearance of dimples and bumps in the skin. Most women refer to this texture as “cottage cheese” or dimples. Cellulite is most commonly developed on the buttocks and thighs. Most doctors believe cellulite is caused by poor elasticity in the skin. Fat cells become too large for the natural fiber compartments which hold the skin; these compartments bulge and form uneven layers of fat underneath. So why can’t your body properly hold these fat cell? What causes cellulite?
Contrary to popular belief, cellulite affects all women, overweight or thin. In fact, many slim women have cellulite. Cellulite is an issue of fat cells and skin elasticity. Genes greatly determine if you will develop cellulite. Girls as young as 14 can show signs of cellulite. If you want to know how much cellulite you will have, take a look at your mother. Because cellulite is primarily a female issue, many doctors believe it is caused by high levels of female hormone estrogen. Many postnatal women or women on birth control develop cellulite because the body’s waste system can’t get rid of the enormous flow of estrogen in the body. Cellulite can also be caused by lifestyle. If you have a poor diet including toxic foods, have bad circulation and fluid retention your chance of developing cellulite is higher. Women who lead sedentary lifestyles also increase their chances of cellulite due to a hardening of the connective tissue; this causes further dimpling in the skin. Aging also promotes cellulite since the subcutaneous skin layer becomes thinner. The contents of this deep skin layer are redistributed (usually with unflattering results) over time. Cellulite can also develop after a traumatic injury, when the circulatory system has been disturbed.
What Causes Cellulite?
- Genetics and Heredity – Genes highly determine your chance of developing cellulite. It is also primarily a female issue and affects 90% of women.
- Not Enough Water – Drinking lots of water will help flush toxins out your body. Since cellulite is a mixture of fat, water, and toxic wastes that the body has failed to eliminate, drinking plenty of water can help diminish cellulite.
- Poor Diet – A poor diet consisting of alcohol, processed foods, and caffeine contributes to cellulite since the toxins they produce get trapped in fatty tissue. Some say that spicy foods can contribute.
- Smoking – Here’s another reason you should quit; smoking promotes cellulite by damaging the connective tissue in your body. This causes the dimpled effect in cellulite.
- Medication – Diet pills, sleeping pills and diuretics all lead to cellulite. Birth control also increases cellulite formation because of its tendency to produce high levels of estrogen. It also leads to water retention which inhibits the body from flushing the system of toxins, leading to the formation of cellulite.
- Sedentary Lifestyle – The results of a sedentary lifestyle, poor circulation and muscle tone, can cause cellulite development. Lack of exercise hardens the connective tissue in the skin which causes dimples.
- Crash Diets – Crash diets increase the risk of cellulite because the body thinks it’s starving. It attempts to consume saturated fats which help build cellulite. Unfortunately, these fats block the arteries and get trapped in tissues as well, preventing sufficient waste and toxin elimination.
How to prevent and aid in cellulite reduction.
Obviously, regular massage therapy to the affected areas is going to be a sound contributor to helping to reduce and prevent cellulite build up as these are seen as proven but also lifestyle factors and eating will naturally play a role in this as well.
Principles of Eating to Fight Cellulite.
Eating a diet that is free of processed foods, unhealthy fats and excess sugars is essential for fighting cellulite naturally, but nutrition experts also suggest eating foods that are high in antioxidants and contain a high concentration of vitamins and minerals.
Recommended supplements that can reduce the appearance of cellulite or prevent it from forming include:
- Potassium, for fluid retention
- Gamma linoleic acid, to help burn calories
- Iodine, to stimulate a sluggish metabolism
- Magnesium, to fight stress
- Sulphur, to reduce free-radical damage
- Vitamin C, a natural detoxifier
- Vitamin E, to increase circulation and promote healthy skin
- Vitamin B6, to decrease fluid retention
- Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant
- Selenium, to promote the effects of Vitamins C and E
Ideally, these vitamins and minerals will be found in large quantities in the foods you eat every day, but most people do not get enough of these nutrients in their daily meals. Taking a high-quality nutritional supplement can help to improve the nutritional content of your diet and improve the health of your skin.
Suggested Foods to Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite
Certain foods support healthy blood circulation and strengthen the capillaries, which means the skin looks and feels stronger and more resilient. This can help to not only prevent cellulite from forming in the first place, but also reduces its appearance. Foods that can increase circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite include:
- Asparagus – a good source of Vitamins A, B, and C and can help to strengthen veins and capillaries while reducing blood pressure
- Bananas – promotes healthy circulation and is a good source of potassium and magnesium which help with healthy muscle tissue formation
- Berries – are rich in antioxidants and can strengthen the skin cells by warding off pollutants
- Citrus fruits – a rich source of Vitamin C, fruits including grapefruit, oranges and lemons can increase circulation and strengthen the capillaries
- Pears – this fruit is a natural detoxifier and can improve the digestive system and lymphatic system. This process reduces fluid retention and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Watermelon – this fruit contains a high concentration of water, potassium and fiber, and can help reduce fluid retention.
- Broccoli – contains a significant amount of alpha lipoic acid which reduces the risk of hardened collagen. Broccoli is also a good source of calcium, helping to fortify bones and tissues.
By taking a holistic approach to understanding how cellulite is created, what it is and how to prevent and reduce it from all anlges, you’ll stand a pretty decent chance of being free from those annoying little dimples! No one thing is responsible for it and no one thing will cure it; cellulite prevention and reduction requires a holistic approach.
Until next time.
Craig Hitchens – Natural Health Specialist
My own clinical experiences.