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Cellulite develops when fat cells under the skin become larger, pushing up against the skin. At the same time, connective cords attaching the skin to muscle tissue pull down.
Why this happens is unclear, although both hormones and genetics may play a part. Cellulite is also more common with age, as the skin becomes less elastic.
Part of the theory of cellulite massage is 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. The effectiveness of cellulite massage is controversial.
Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about cellulite treatment:
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.
For aromatherapy massage options, see Using Essential Oils for Cellulite.
Photo Credit: tata_aka_T from Tokyo [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons