I’m often asked if Lymphatic Drainage Massage can be helpful in tackling the dreaded cellulite.
Firstly, it’s important to note there is no one treatment that can “cure” cellulite, however Lymphatic Drainage Massage or Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) can be helpful as part of your self-care routine.
So, what is cellulite?
The classic dimpling effect that characterises cellulite is caused by the herniation of subcutaneous fat within the connective tissue. What does that mean? Basically, your fat cells start popping out through “gaps” in the connective tissue leading to that dimpled look.
Unfortunately, cellulite occurs in between 80- 90% of women so it affects the majority of women. Typically, it occurs in the bottom, hips and thighs, but can occur in the upper arms also.
Cellulite is often hereditary, so if your Mum has it, there’s a good chance you will develop it also.
How can Lymphatic Drainage Massage be helpful?
The aim of this type of massage is to shift excess fluids and toxins by working in an upwards direction to bring these fluids and toxins up towards the heart & lungs where they can either expelled or reabsorbed into your circulatory (blood) system.
In relation to cellulite, MLD is helpful in shifting toxins from the tissues, and shifting the fluid that lies between the fat cells. This will temporarily reduce the appearance of the cellulite, as the fat cells are pushed together.
Why is it so gentle?
First time receivers of MLD are often surprised by how light the pressure is. The difference compared to a regular massage is that we are not working the muscles but the parts of the lymphatic system that lie just underneath the surface of the skin.
So, what else can I do to minimise my cellulite?
In addition to getting regular exercise (movement) and eating a healthy, low-fat diet, body brushing is an excellent self-care option for cellulite. Body brushing can be done wet (in the shower) or dry depending on the type of body brush you have. In the long-term body brushing is very effective at stimulating blood flow, lymphatic flow and improving skin integrity.
The vigorous application of moisturiser to the area in an upwards direction, can also stimulate blood & lymphatic flow. Note that it is more about the application of the product, rather than the ingredients of the product that bring about the benefits.
Beneficial Oils for cellulite
Essential oils that can assist with stimulating and detoxifying the lymphatic system include myrtle, grapefruit, lemongrass, tangerine, orange, rosemary, cypress, hyssop and myrrh. When using essential oils, be aware that citrus oils are photosensitive. This means that if your skin is exposed to light, it will cause a darkening of the skin where the oil has been applied and will take several months to disappear as it needs to “grow” out.
Application can include, inhalation or topical application of oils, however consult an experienced practitioner as some oils are not recommended during pregnancy, and with certain medications or medical conditions.
Ultimately, while there is no cure for cellulite, it can be minimised with MLD, a healthy diet and regular movement.