Anti-Cellulite Massage Treatment and Tools

Cellulite can be treated effectively with methods like subcision or laser therapy. But these are difficult and often expensive procedures and not every woman can or is willing to go through. Due to this, alternative methods have been proposed – most importantly, anti-cellulite massage. Massage for cellulite is simple to perform and seems to show good visual results. With that said, you need to know how good of an anti-cellulite method massage really is? What more is there to know about it? And how do you do the massage?

Read on to find out!

What Is Cellulite?

Before moving onto the core of today’s post, we should just briefly talk about what cellulite is.

Cellulite is the area on the body with skin dimpling and nodularity. It most often forms on the buttocks, thighs, and hips, though it may also occur on the upper arms and the abdomen. Cellulite is made up of tough strands of connective tissue that are challenging to remove.

Cellulite is very commonly met in women – with a prevalence of 80%-90%. It also can develop in men, but much more rarely.

what is cellulite

It appears that estrogen – the primary female sex hormone – is an important contributor to the formation of cellulite. And this may explain its high prevalence in females. Genetics also appears to play a role, and so does lifestyle and diet.

Cellulite is often associated with obesity and body fat, but it often occurs in very fit individuals as well. Also, the high prevalence of cellulite in women may show that it is caused by physiologic factors rather than by a disease. Medical professionals mostly consider cellulite a normal condition for women.

Cellulite is extremely difficult to avoid in women and equally difficult to treat. With that in mind, if you’ve developed cellulite, then know that there is very little that you could have done to prevent it.

Still, cellulite is understandably a huge issue for women (especially aging women). A wide range of treatments has thereby been employed to reduce or eliminate cellulite, including mechanical treatments (e.g. massage), subcision, or laser therapy – with varying effectiveness.

Does Anti-Cellulite Massage Work – What Does Research Say?

Many women appear to be interested in anti-cellulite massage. Well, the reason is clear – massage for cellulite treatment can be performed pretty much anywhere with no expensive medicine or equipment.

However, how effective is anti-cellulite massage? This is an important question that we want to try to give answers to.

Anti-cellulite massage is thought to reduce cellulite by:

– Redistributing fat tissue and plumping up the skin.

– Improving circulation.

– Encouraging the drainage of excess body fluids.

This is just in theory. In practice, the effectiveness of different tools and massage techniques can significantly differ. Below, let’s have an overview of the most common massage techniques used for cellulite treatment.

Foam rollers

When it comes to the most widely available and cheap ways to do anti-cellulite massage, many people are using foam rollers to massage the affected areas. Foam rollers are available at many households, and besides, they have some other benefits that people make use of – like the ability to treat muscle soreness or assist with a warmup.

In terms of treating cellulite, foam rollers appear to indeed work – they do reduce the prominence of cellulite because they, theoretically, encourage blood circulation and redistribute fat tissue.

foam roller

However, the effects of foam rolling may be temporary, so you will need to do it frequently to maintain good skin appearance. If you want to treat cellulite though, you most likely are ready to invest some effort in it, right?

Dry brushing

Dry brushing is another method that is thought to be effective against cellulite. There don’t seem to be any studies online reviewing how this method works, but judging by people’s feedback, it gives at the very least visual improvements – similar to what foam rolling can do for you.

anti-cellulite dry brushing

Compared to foam rolling, the benefit of dry brushing is that you can easily reach areas that are inaccessible for a foam roller, like the insides of your thighs. Foam rolling may be more effective since it allows you to put pressure on the desired area with your bodyweight, but foam rollers can’t be used everywhere.

But again, do keep in mind that dry brushing may give temporary results, so regular procedures will be necessary.


Self-massage is also practiced by many women – it’s even simpler to do than dry brushing or foam rolling because it requires no tools.

Like foam rolling or dry brushing, self-massage seems not to be well-studied, but this doesn’t really matter since many women have had success with it. Furthermore, since there are no tools involved, self-massaging is very easy to do and is accessible to more people. Also, many electric cellulite massagers are available currently. You can rely on those massagers and no need to use hands and tire yourself by putting pressure on cellulite areas.

Dry cupping

Dry cupping is another method to know about, and it actually seems like promising cellulite treatment. There have been some studies that have evaluated the effect of dry cupping for cellulite treatment.

Dry Cupping Anti-Cellulite

A 2015 study found that this method contributed to cellulite reduction via the drainage of toxins and fluids from the body after 5 weeks of treatment. And in general, the stimulation of the lymphatic system appears to be effective at cellulite treatment, though with dry cupping, more research is still necessary for definite conclusions.


Endermologie is an anti-cellulite massage system developed in France by LPG. Currently, it’s approved for use in the US by the FDA and is deemed a promising anti-cellulite method by the American Academy of Dermatology.

As of this post’s writing though, the results of endermologie were mixed, but this will probably change as more people start using this method. Continued treatment may be necessary to maintain results as well.


Endermologie isn’t something you can do at home – you will have to find an LPG location nearby and book a session, which may be costly. However, if you tried many other things and none worked, then endermologie is perhaps at least worth a try.

Lymphatic drainage massage & CTM

Lymphatic drainage massage and CTM (connective tissue manipulation) appear to be very promising anti-cellulite massage methods. These methods have been shown to bring significant circumference reductions in the thigh and abdomen areas, as well as in waist-hip ratios.

Along with lymphatic drainage massage & CTM, mechanical massage (massage performed with machines) has been reviewed as well. It also brought good results, but the two other methods were much more effective.

Anti-Cellulite Massage VS Other Cellulite Treatments

An important thing to realize about anti-cellulite massage is that its effects are usually temporary since it doesn’t deal with the root of cellulite – it doesn’t break up the tough cellulite bands. Only those methods that do break them up can offer long-term, permanent effects.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, here are the best methods for cellulite reduction:

  • Acoustic wave therapy.
  • Laster treatment.
  • Subcision.
  • Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release.
  • Weight loss.
  • Exercise.

These methods bring more or less long-living effects since they directly treat the cellulite bands, but they aren’t as accessible or as easy to perform as self-massage, foam rolling, or dry brushing. So, it’s understandable why massage would be a more desirable option for cellulite treatment.

self massage

With that, don’t expect massage to bring the same effects. However, with regular massaging (which is easy to do and is low-cost), you should be able to achieve and maintain good & consistent results. You will just have to work for it.

Besides, know that massage may help you feel more relaxed, treat muscle soreness and tightness, or decrease body pain.

Anti-Cellulite Massage Techniques & Tools To Try

If you are determined to try massage for cellulite treatment (which you should), then here are a few massage techniques to try out. We’ve mentioned some of those above.


Self-massage is the first thing you could test for cellulite treatment. It’s very easy, requires no tools, and can be done anytime you feel like it.

Self-massage is applied to the areas affected by cellulite. When massaging those areas, perform firm movements, and apply a good amount of force. Use a combination of circular motions, kneading, pinching & pressing, and pounding.

It’s also generally recommended to perform the movements towards the heart, but it’s difficult to tell if this actually helps. Currently, so many electric massagers are found in the market to help you with self-massage. You don’t need to use your hands anymore to apply a lot of pressure in the affected areas. These motorized or electric massager will do it for you.

electric massager

At-home massages will last about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the area you want to treat. Perform self-massage regularly (perhaps every other day, depending on how long the effects last). Here is our top selection of anti-cellulite massager.

Also, you may use creams and lotions during self-massage. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some lotions may have an effect on cellulite, e.g. products that contain caffeine or 0.3% retinol.

Dry brushing

For this one, you will need a quality soft-bristled brush. The brush should be rigid enough to stimulate the area but soft enough to prevent scratches.

Dry brushing is performed in a similar fashion to self-massage – do the same motions and apply firm pressure (but don’t overdo it). Perform this procedure 3-4 times a week. The time of day doesn’t seem to matter, but some people think morning dry brushing is optimal because it energizes you.

Foam rolling

Foam rolling works like dry brushing or self-massage for cellulite treatment. And as mentioned above, it has a few other useful benefits for treating muscle pain, soreness, or stiffness.

To treat cellulite, place the foam roller on the ground, place the affected area on the roller, and roll back and forth for a few minutes. Again, you will probably have to do this every other day to achieve results.

Cellulite massagers

These are motorized machines intended to replace self-massage, dry brushing, or foam rolling. They work the exact same way, but they are more convenient since they don’t require much muscle effort. With that in mind, they may allow you to achieve better results quicker.

Each massager has its own way of use, but generally, they are applied to the affected area and kept there for a few minutes.

cellulite massage brushing

Lymphatic drainage massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is aimed to move the lymph towards the lymph nodes so that toxins are expelled from the body. As mentioned earlier, this method seems to be effective at treating cellulite, though its effects again won’t be long-term.

Lymphatic drainage massage is a rather sophisticated procedure that may require a visit to a massage salon. However, you may also try it yourself – watch a few videos to know how to perform it exactly.

Vacuum cupping

Finally, vacuum cupping is also worth a try. You may use this method yourself or entrust the job to a specialist.

For vacuum cupping, you need silicone cups, a body scrub, and body oil. You just need to prep the area with the body scrub, lubricate it with body oil, place the cup over the desired area firmly, and move the cup around for a few minutes.

Final Words

All in all, should you give an anti-cellulite massage a try?

We think that it’s definitely worth a go. But remember that you will have to do it consistently to retain a good appearance.

Start with simple self-massage, dry brushing, or foam rolling. If you want better results, try cupping or lymphatic drainage massage. These should work just fine for most people. Furthermore, we suggest that you give cellulite massagers a try – they aren’t too expensive and allow you to treat cellulite easier.

Only if these don’t work should you start thinking about undergoing costly and invasive massage treatments?

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1 comment

  1. […] It is an effective treatment to prevent cellulite formation when it is applied at regular intervals. […]

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