Friday 24th March, 2023

How to massage cellulite for lasting results

In this article/video I’ll show you the simple scientifically proven way you can use self massage to get rid of cellulite.

The only way to get lasting results

As a bit of background most cellulite massages will just temporarily alter the fluid levels in your tissues which makes it look a bit better for a short time. It’s almost like being Cinderella. You’ll look a bit better for a while, but need to be home by midnight. There’s only one way massage can actually reduce the amount of fat, and that’s the way I’m going to show you.

You need to be aware of misleading information

The other thing you need to know is that there’s a lot of crazy claims about massage and cellulite. As an example you’ll often read that that massage or massage guns disperse fat cells or smash them so they can be re-absorbed. As you’ll see that’s absolutely ridiculous. It not only causes you to buy useless junk, you can easily get hurt if you follow it.

What I'll be showing you

What I’ll do is give you a bit of background on what cellulite is show you how the scientists have actually used massage to make long term changes, improving the appearance and actually reducing the size of the parts affected by cellulite. I’ll then go over how you can easily do this at home.

A quick bit of housekeeping first. To keep this short and easy to understand I’ll just give you the facts, and have the detail and references in this article. Also, this is general information only. For specific advice you’ll need to see a professional familiar with your own needs.

Video version (web version following)

What is cellulite

Comparing cellulite and normal skin

Lets start with what cellulite actually is. As you can see in this pic the problem with cellulite is that the fat cells are much bigger. The reason they’re bigger is that the circulation in the cellulite tissue is very poor.

What happens is that your body deposits excess energy in your fat cells as fat, but when your body needs that energy the poor circulation means it’s not absorbed very well. Your body will absorb fat from from where the circulation is normal, and leave the fat in the areas where circulation is poor. With this happening over time the parts with poor circulation will accumulate fat while the parts with good circulation will be normal.

How massage can help

Understanding that, the key to helping cellulite is to help maintain normal circulation in those tissues so your body can re-absorb fat normally over time. Simply that’s what the massage needs to do. That’s exactly the way scientists have done it successfully in clinical trials, and that’s the way I’ll be showing you.

Why most treatment do not last

If you look you’ll see that there’s fluid around the fat cells. It’s a lot easier to see in the normal pic. Some sorts of massage or lymphatic drainage will squeeze some of the fluid out. That means it won’t be bulging out as much and will improve it’s appearance. It will, but give it a few hours and the fluid will have come back again.

The bogus claims

Lets look at those bogus claims about dispersing or smashing fat cells. As you can see the fat cells are well and truly secured in strong connective tissue pouches. They can’t be moved around and they can’t be dispersed. We also need to understand that as well as fat cells cellulite tissue has other structures such as fine blood vessels that are much more fragile than fat cells.

If you were to pummel your muscles enough to smash fat cells you would decimate the blood vessels and have massive internal bleeding. The trouble is that people reading this sort of advice might actually do this. They’ll probably just end up with a heap of bruising, but there’s a report in a scientific journal of someone doing so much damage using a massage gun that they nearly died of internal bleeding.

How the scientists made lasting changes using massage

As I said the only way massage helps cellulite long term is by helping increase circulation so the excess fat can be re-absorbed. So let’s have a look at the way they did it in the clinical trials.

It takes regular massages over time

First, reabsorbing the excess fat is a slow process, so the circulation needs to be kept up over a long period of time. That’s why in the trials they used regular massage such as daily over weeks or even months. As we well see later if you use your own vibration massager you may get maximum benefits by applying the massage several time a day.

Using vibration massage
Using vibration massage allows you to have the regular massages you need without the huge expense

All those massages using professional therapists would be expensive

In some of the trials they used professional massage therapists who did a great job, but obviously unless your partner is a professional therapist or you have heaps of money this will be a huge imposition. The good thing is that some trials used vibration massage which you can easily do on yourself, so this is what we’ll be looking at. We will start with some alternatives they used in the trials, then give you the ideal solution.

Vibration plate
Scientists used vibration plates to directly apply vibration. It worked, but there are better options.

Vibration platforms

One thing the scientists used was those vibration platforms you see. However, they didn’t get the people to stand on them or put their feet on them like they are usually advertised. That actually doesn’t work for what we’re discussing here. The way the scientists used them was to use them to directly apply the vibration. In other words people did things like sitting on them to vibrate the cellulite in your backside.

This worked, so if you’ve got one by all means do like the scientists did. However, as I’ll discuss later vibration plates are not optimised for applying direct vibration, and it might be hard to use one on some parts of your body, so there are better options.

Using a massage chair
The massage chair used in a clinical trial. They work, but there are better options.

Massage chairs

The other things the scientists used was massage chairs. These come with either a kneading action or vibration. The scientists used the vibration type. They worked and are extraordinarily easy to use. If you have one you can do as the scientists have done, but as I’ll discuss very shortly the vibrations on most chairs are not optimised for circulation and we can do a lot better.

Your best option to apply the vibration massage

50Hz vibration is ideal to increase circulation

From the science of using therapeutic vibrations we know that the best way to increase circulation is by directly applying vibrations at about 50 Hz, or cycles per second. A lot of machines give cycles per minute so that’s 3000 rpm.

The principle of vibration massage

How vibration is best applied

To show you how this is best done lets look at a machine that is purpose built to deliver vibrations. It’s called a vibrating compactor. If you haven’t seen one before the pad at the bottom vibrates and sends vibrations deep into the ground. Obviously we don’t use an industrial compactor on ourselves, but we use the same technology. If we look at this massager we can see the similarities. It’s got a vibrating pad you’d put on your cellulite tissue and let the vibrations penetrate.

Percussion vs vibration massage

Warning: massage guns are poor at doing this

We see massage guns heavily advertised to do this, but they actually don’t deliver that therapeutic vibration well. The easiest way to explain is that massage guns are designed more to be like a jackhammer to drive their heads in rather than deliver vibrations. Of course their marketers are also responsible for a lot of the crazy and dangerous claims such as dispersing or smashing up fat cells.

How long to apply the massage for

We’ve seen now that your scientific treatment for cellulite is going to be regularly applying a vibration massager set at about 50Hz. The thing I haven’t mentioned is how long for. In the trials they used things like 30-60 minute massages. I think you’ll agree that this length of massage each day would get very onerous. However, we can use the science of therapeutic vibrations to give you a much better alternative. Scientists have found that if you apply 50 Hz vibration the circulation steadily rises over about two minutes, then when you remove the vibration the circulation will reduce slowly back to normal over about 30 minutes. Rather than apply the massager for 30-60 minutes just use the machine for a few minutes then take advantage of the 30 minutes residual increased circulation. By using three or four short applications during the day you might end up with a couple of hours of increase circulation.

How to use a massager

Using a vibration massager is extremely simple. This article has instructions and precautions, but basically you just sit the machine on the cellulite and let the vibrations do their work.

How to choose a massager

The other thing you’ll need to do is get a decent genuine vibration massager. This article discusses what you need to look for. What you’ll find though is most machines on the market are massage guns or ineffective machines designed to be mothers day presents rather than serious therapeutic devices, which is why a while back we built our own.

General Purpose Massager
The General Purpose Massager showing it's three strong screw in heads

Our General Purpose Massager

This is our General Purpose Massager. As you can see he business end has the vibrating pad that delivers the idea frequency vibrations, while it’s got a handle that lets you easily use it anywhere on your body.

The Ultimate Quad Head Massager
The DrGraeme Ultimate Quad Head Massager

The ultimate Quad Head Massager

The problem of the machine vibrating

I chose the example massager earlier to picture with the vibrationg compactor because they are easy to compare. It would do a really good job. The only problem is that because of the laws of physics any machine with a large vibrating plate like this machine has has to be heavy, and the machine itself will vibrate a lot. It would take a bit of holding and the vibrations could end up affecting your hands.

We overcame this with our quad head massager

That’s why we built our quad head massager. You'll find the technical information here, but simply it has a special mechanism that has is some head go up while the other heads go down, everything balances and counteracts each other. That way it packs the same punch, but is much lighter, easier to use and vibrates a whole lot less. The General Purpose Massager does a great job, but obviously with it’s four heads this machine works on a much larger area and sends in a whole let more vibrations.

The ultimate massager for cellulite

The quad head massager delivers the ideal therapeutic vibrations to increase circulation. It’s light weight and easy to use delivering large amounts of vibration without vibrating your hands to pieces holding it, and it’s got an ergonomically designed handle so you can easily massage anywhere on your body. This has to be the ultimate cellulite massager by a very long way.

Please see the following video of Dr Graeme demonstration the massagers

Professional at desk

DrGraeme massagers were originally built by Dr Graeme for use in his clinic, and to prescribe to his patients for additional self use at home. Now these are used by colleagues and other professionals for similar purposes. If you are a professional and wish to know more about this therapy, or possibly get a sample massager to trial please check out our practitioner page.

We are continually adding more information on research and uses. Subscribe below to have us email them to you "hot off the press".

Dr Graeme

About Dr Graeme

Several years ago Dr Graeme, a Chiropractor practicing in Victoria, Australia was looking for a serious hand held massager his patients could use at home to get the extra quality massage they needed. The ones he found in the shops and on-line for home use looked nice but were not serious, and... read more

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