Does Cupping Work on Cellulite?
The ancient healing technique of cupping, in which cups are used to create negative pressure on the skin and stimulate the tissues below, is a key aspect of Chinese Traditional Medicine and Modern Cupping. Within the last decade, Celebrities and Olympians have been showing off their cupping marks in the media aiding in the resurgence of cupping. Curiosity for cupping and the benefits of cupping are causing some to ask “Does Cupping work on Cellulite”?
Before we discuss cupping for Cellulite, we will share a little about cupping in general. Cupping therapy has been used for thousands of years as an effective treatment for a wide array of medical conditions including digestive issues, colds, chronic pain, nausea and more. Cupping works by stimulating the sub-dermal tissues increasing microcirculation and promoting lymphatic drainage in the area. The combined effects of cupping therapy have been found to significantly improve a variety of conditions, including cellulite.
Cellulite is very common, affecting many adult women, and refers to the dimpling of flesh on the thighs and buttocks. Though harmless, cellulite is typically considered to be unsightly and many therapies have been developed with the aim of reducing cellulite. Cupping therapy is a natural and effective way to address cellulite, but how does this form of massage help to reduce lumps and bumps?
What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is the common name given to the dimpled, lumpy appearance of the skin over the thighs and buttocks, which gives flesh an uneven appearance comparable to orange peel or cottage cheese. The condition affects a high percentage of adult women, and tends to appear post-puberty.
What Causes Cellulite?
Cellulite appears due to a chain of pathological changes that gradually alter the structure of the tissues underlying the skin. Some may mistaken cellulite with obesity, but clinically, there are differences. Obesity results in hypertrophic (enlargement) or hyperplasia (enlargement and or increase in reproduction) of adipocytes (fat cells) while cellulite is more known as metabolically stable adipose (fat) cells that are typically found in lower body areas such as pelvis, thighs and abdomen.
The condition is primarily caused by herniation of fat (adipose tissue) retention, which is stored in pockets along the fascia, the strong sheets of connective tissue that lie beneath the skin can be affected by fibrosis resulting in shortening, thickening and retraction of this tissue creating a depression that creates the appearance of lumpy, dimpled areas on the lower body characterizing cellulite.
This process is associated with weakening of the connective tissues and reduced microcirculation as a result of capillary compression by the fat globules. It is possible that the formation of cellulite is triggered by changes to the lymphatic system; in which case, stimulation of the lymphatic system and microcirculation can help to reverse cellulite.
How Common is Cellulite?
Cellulite is so common that almost all women have it. It is thought that more than 85% of post-pubertal women have cellulite, regardless of ethnicity or global location. However, cellulite is more pronounced in some people than others, and the condition has many predisposing factors. These are:
- Genetic tendency
- Hormonal imbalance
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Imbalanced diet with excessive intake of fats, salt, and carbohydrates
- Emotional imbalances
- Tight clothes
- Drugs that cause water retention
- Disturbances in lymph or blood circulation
Can You Get Rid of Cellulite?
Despite affecting almost all adult women, cellulite is often considered unsightly and a wide range of products and treatments exist that claim to reduce cellulite. One method that has been successfully tried and tested in clinical trials is cupping therapy, an ancient technique involving the placement of cups at strategic points on the body.
The cupping method most commonly used to address cellulite is dry, moving cupping. During this treatment, the practitioner or home user applies lotion, oil, cream or shower gel if in shower on the affected area. Practitioner or home user places a single cup on the skin before moving it up and down over problem areas. The suction created by the vacuum in the cup lifts the skin, separating it from the underlying tissues and facilitating the drainage of lymph and toxins while increasing blood flow to the area. This method has been put to the test in clinical trials, where it was found to improve the appearance of cellulite after just three days of treatment.
For Cellulite Cupping, you will want to use a set of Body Cupping Cups that will glide easily, can be used slowly and briskly, can grab the tissue and are easy to hold on to. For this we strongly recommend Silicone Cups and of the silicone cups, we recommend the Grip Classic Pro 6570 Series and the Supreme Series found to be great for home users and therapists alike.
These bell shaped cups have a smooth rounded edge for easy glide, anti-slip grip for better control and can be used in treatment rooms, in homes and in showers. The Grip Classic Cups have multiple sizes for working at varying levels of depths.
These mushroom shaped cups have an edge that digs in and grabs the tissue allowing the cup to mold to the tissue and hold on. Depending on sensitivity in the area, these are sometimes not the best cups to start with as these cups provide a strong suction. If the area has not already been worked on and the tissue is tight and not so soft and pliable, then start easy with these. What I mean by that is you would want to start with the smaller cups and as the tissue becomes more pliable, softer and easier to glide, then move up to a larger size cup until eventually you are using the larger cups with deeper suction. To help you out even more, we now have the Supreme Intermediate PRO 5560 which is a softer cup and easier to work with on non primed tissue and we continue to offer our best selling Supreme Deep Pro 6065 which provides one of the deepest suctions available in silicone cups. These cups take a little more hand strength, but can provide suction stronger than most other cups (for when appropriate). The Supreme Cups can be used in treatment rooms, in homes and in showers. The have multiple sizes for working at varying levels of depths.
The benefits of cupping therapy for cellulite reduction are clear, but what exactly are the mechanisms behind this effect?
How Does Cupping Therapy Improve the Appearance of Cellulite?
Cupping improves microcirculation
One of the main purposes of cupping therapy is to improve microcirculation in targeted areas. An increased blood flow leads to better oxygenation and nutrition of the surrounding tissues and more efficient removal of toxins, helping the improve the overall health of targeted areas.
Reduced microcirculation is thought to directly contribute to the formation of cellulite, so reversing this effect with cupping therapy can be an effective way to reduce cellulite.
Cupping Encourages Lymphatic Drainage
By lifting the skin away from the underlying tissues, cupping therapy can effectively increase the flow of lymph and promote lymphatic drainage. This facilitates the removal of accumulated fluids, toxins and other chemical compounds, such as lipids.
Techniques that promote lymphatic drainage has been found to significantly improve the appearance of cellulite. The precise mechanisms behind this effect are poorly understood, but it is possible that the accumulation of lymphatic fluids associated with lymphostasis may affect the exchange of substances between cells, triggering the pathological changes that lead to the formation of cellulite. Regularly using moving cupping as a method of increasing lymphatic flow can, therefore, significantly improve the appearance of cellulite.
Cupping Stimulates the Fascial Tissue
Several studies have found that mechanical stimulation of the fascial tissue is a reliable way to improve the appearance of cellulite. Manipulation of the fascial tissue is associated with thinning of the subcutaneous fat tissue post-treatment, and can be used to reduce the presence (and appearance) of cellulite on the thighs and buttocks. Moving cupping stimulates and massages the fascial tissues in the same way as a myofascial massage, and can effectively improve the appearance of cellulite as a result.
The exact mechanisms behind this effect are unclear, though it’s possible that the vacuum massage, as performed during cupping therapy, helps to release fat tissue from where it is stored along the fibers of the fascia. This results in fewer fat pockets under the dermis and a smoother outer skin texture.
Cellulite is a very common aesthetic condition that creates an uneven, dimpled skin texture, usually over the buttocks and thighs. While harmless, cellulite can be emotionally distressing for some people, and therapies that aim to reduce the appearance of cellulite are popular across the world.
Cupping therapy is a painless, non-invasive treatment for effectively reducing the appearance of cellulite. By improving local microcirculation, encouraging lymphatic drainage and stimulating the fascial tissues beneath the skin, cupping has been proven to effectively decrease cellulite.
*Sources Sited throughout the article as hyperlinks. You can see by hovering your mouse over the text.