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Does Cellulite Massage Work?

Cellulite on Thigh and Hip

Cellulite develops when fat cells under the skin become larger, pushing up against the skin, while at the same time connective cords attaching the skin to muscle tissue pull down.

Part of the theory of cellulite massage is that it increases circulation and encourages waste removal, leading to a reduction in the appearance of cellulite. Some sources believe the gentle strokes of lymphatic drainage can help reduce cellulite, while other sources advocate the use of deep, vigorous massage.

For aromatherapy massage options, see Using Essential Oils for Cellulite.

The Medical Perspective

Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about cellulite treatment:

  • Weight loss using a healthy diet and regular exercise probably has the most benefits. However, not everyone with cellulite needs to lose weight, and even with weight loss, the cellulite doesn't completely go away — it just becomes less noticeable.
  • Lasers and radiofrequency systems are a promising medical therapy. Three of these types of treatment are available: One combines negative tissue massage with infrared light and radiofrequency. A second option uses massage combined with diode laser energy. The third option uses radiofrequency for cellulite treatment. All three treatments require a series of sessions. But the results are temporary, only lasting up to six months.
  • Although liposuction removes fat cells, it may worsen the appearance of cellulite. However, newer laser-assisted liposuction may work better.
  • Some evidence indicates using a 0.3 percent retinol cream two times a day for six months improves the appearance of cellulite.


One technique to massage cellulite is Lipomassage from Endermologie. This technique kneads skin between rollers using a hand-held machine. Endermologie claims Lipomassage can get rid of exercise-and-diet-resistant fat permanently, and you will start seeing results after six 35-minute sessions. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, any slight improvement that you may see after Lipomassage is temporary.

Video: Anti-Cellulite Massage For Thighs

Photo Credit: tata_aka_T from Tokyo [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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