Massage guns are becoming more and more popular, as the companies that sell them and their celebrity endorsements make bigger and bigger claims about how effective they are for certain conditions, such as cellulite.
But what’s the truth, do massage guns help with cellulite, or is it all hype to get you to buy their products?
In this article, I’ll be diving into whether or not it’s worthwhile forking out for an expensive massage gun, or if you have better, more affordable options.
Although it’s completely harmless, cellulite is a condition that many people (mostly females), want to get rid of as quickly as possible. It can be unsightly and can hurt people’s confidence. So many people jump at the chance to try out the latest gadget, cream, or even surgery to get rid of it.
Massage guns for cellulite are one of the more popular devices touted as being the next greatest weapon against the skin on the thighs, buttocks, and hips becoming dimpled. But, is there any truth to what’s being said, or is it all a sales pitch to get you to spend your hard-earned cash on a miracle cure?
During my time as a Personal Trainer in London, I saw people and trainers using all manner of devices to help themselves lose or at least reduce their cellulite. From foam rolling, massage sticks, tennis balls, and massage guns. They all seemed to be in considerable discomfort whilst using these “treatments”, but did it actually help them?
Do massage guns help with cellulite?
- What is cellulite?
- What causes cellulite
- Why do women get cellulite more than men
- Does massage help with cellulite
- Can a massage gun help with cellulite
- How to use a massage gun for cellulite
- How often should you use a massage gun
- The catch with using massage guns for cellulite!
Ok, so before we get cracking with all the information about whether or not you can get rid of cellulite with massage guns, let’s learn a little more about our enemy first.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is a bumpy “golf ball” like texture that appears on the surface of the skin, it is often referred to as orange peel skin due to its similarity. The most common places to find pockets of cellulite are on the hips, stomach, and buttocks.
80 to 90 percent of women will experience dealing with cellulite at least to some degree within their lifetime, and its appearance has little to do with excess fat, as even lean people can suffer from it.
There are four distinct stages of cellulite development:
- Stage 1 – The skin at this stage will show no obvious signs of cellulite, however, when the skin is pressed together, a slight “orange peel” texture is seen.
- Stage 2 – A more obvious “orange peel” texture is present within the skin and, it may be easier to bruise.
- Stage 3 – An “orange peel” texture is present and substantially more visible, even from a distance.
- Stage 4 – The skin appears red and angry, alongside pockets of fluid under the skin that cause tenderness. This is combined with the previous symptoms.
What causes cellulite
Surprisingly, being overweight is not the main cause of cellulite, (although having excess fat can make cellulite more obvious).
It’s not fully understood why some people are affected more than others, but the process that occurs is a buildup of fat cells pushing up against the skin between strips of connective tissue called “fascia”. As the fat cells push up between the fascia, they create an uneven surface.
A great way of imagining this process is if you got a partially inflated balloon and pushed it hard against the inside of a colander, from the other side of the colander you’d see bits of balloon poking out and creating a bumpy surface right?
Well, this is what’s happening under your skin with cellulite.
So why does this happen to some people and not others?
Annoyingly, no one knows, but, it could be linked to genetics. Your hormone levels, the structure of your skin, and being overweight can play a significant role in its development but remember that even lean people with little fat can still get it.
Of course, with age, your risk of developing cellulite increases. This is because as you age, the amount of collagen your body produces lessons, and it’s the collagen that keeps your skin elastic and tight to your body.
A lessening of collagen means that it is easier for the fat cells to press through the fascia and show through to the skin above. It’s also why your skin wrinkles and sags with age, it’s pretty important stuff to the beauty industry!
Why do women get cellulite more than men?
It’s just not fair, is it?
Guys don’t have to go through pregnancy, as they age they become more “distinguished” and they don’t even have to worry about getting cellulite.
Although it can appear in men, the main reason that it appears more commonly in women is down to the structure of their fascia.
Men’s fascia (as a result of the way its positioned), is more supportive and stronger than women’s, this makes it easier for the fat cells to press them apart and create the dimpled effect on the skin.
Women also have larger fat cells than men, so when the cells become full of fat, they make more of an impression on the surface of the skin. I know it doesn’t sound fair so far, but women do need to store more fat than men to get them through times of pregnancy.
Seems a bit of a cop-out though doesn’t it?
Does massage help with cellulite
Ok, I know you want to know about whether the guns, in particular, will cure your cellulite woes, but let’s quickly take a look at massage, in general, to see if that helps cellulite, (because if that works, maybe you can get your partner or a very close friend to do it for you, for free!)
One cause of cellulite we haven’t discussed yet is lymphatic draining (sounds pretty gross doesn’t it?). Your lymph nodes carry around all the waste and toxins built up from your bodily tissues, think of them as being like drainpipes carrying away all the unnecessary liquid to a septic tank or something.
Still gross, but I’m trying my best here!
Remember that we said that cellulite is caused by fat pressing up through holes in the fascia? Well, if you have excessive amounts of lymph fluids building up under the skin, they will do the exact same thing.
Little pockets of fluid build-up, press through the fascia and give you that all too familiar dimpled look to the skin.
So does massage help with moving this fluid around?
It really might!
With a massage, the area being manipulated increases temperature, which stimulates blood flow and circulation.
The act of moving and stretching the skin and muscles also makes it more likely that the guild will be able to drain away successfully instead of becoming trapped in pockets.
Weird analogy here, but imagine you had a plastic bag, and you placed it flat on some water. You’d have a bunch of bubbles trapped in little pockets where the plastic had wrinkled right?
But, if you pressed the bag and moved it around, the bubbles would be able to find their way to the surface.
Well, that’s what’s happening under the skin with lymph fluid and fat cells. The idea of massage is that you can move the skin and muscles around to allow the fluids and fat to escape these pockets.
Can a massage gun help with cellulite?
Massage guns do help to minimize the appearance of cellulite. The motion they provide helps pockets of built-up lymph fluid to redistribute through the body, lessening the appearance of “dimples” on the skin. They may also help redistribute fat cells under the skin.
Massage guns offer a wide ran of benefits, such as increased blood flow, improved circulation, and enhanced recovery after workouts.
The results you can expect to achieve, however, rely on a number of factors, which are:
- The frequency at which you set your massage gun
- How often you use your massage gun
- The massage techniques you use
- How long you use your massage gun
When you are looking to purchase a massage gun, look out for one that has a high frequency. This will speed up the process of removing lymph fluids and should be powerful enough to help re-distribute those fat cells.
If any of these factors are not taken into consideration, you may be disappointed with the results. It’s all well and good buying a machine to help you with cellulite, but if you aren’t using it, you won’t see the results!
One of the main benefits of using a massage gun over standard massage practice is that you can pinpoint specific areas of the body that cause you the most discomfort, and where you feel your cellulite is most prominent.
The attachments or “heads” that come with massage guns allow you to be even more specific in your target areas and allow for deeper penetration into the deep tissues which will help you successfully drain any pockets of lymph fluid and help to redistribute fat cells.
How to use massage gun for cellulite
As a general rule, the most effective way to use a massage gun for cellulite is to choose an attachment that works a large surface area. You should gently press the massage gun onto the affected area, and hold it for no more than 2 minutes at a time. Repeat 3 times a day for maximum results.
You can of course play around with this a little. If you want to experiment with moving the gun around the skin or using a circular motion, that should also be fine.
Please remember that if you are using a massage gun for cellulite removal, there’s no need for you to press it hard against the affected area.
You are working the area just under the skin, and not the muscle underneath (unless you want a muscle massage too of course).
If you start to feel pain or pressure on the area you are massaging, you could well be pressing down too hard, just let it sit on top of the skin and do its thing.
How often to use massage gun for cellulite
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes down to how often you can use a massage gun.
If you’re “overdoing it”, you may find you start to feel a little tender around the area, and if you bruise easily, you also may find you develop a few small bruises around the area if you’re massaging too often.
The generally accepted rule is that you should use a massage gun for up to 2 minutes for each area you are massaging.
So, say you have cellulite on both your thighs, you could massage one side for 2 minutes and then the other side for two minutes, it’s not two minutes in total.
And how often can you massage?
Well, the same rules as above apply, if you’re feeling tender or bruises are appearing, additional massage isn’t going to help, so give it a rest for a few days.
If however, you’re feeling good, you should be fine to use a massage gun up to three times each 24 hours.
How long until you see results
It’s easy to get excited about the prospect of being able to zap away cellulite that’s been causing you grief for years, but you should remember that when hear things take a little while.
You are literally trying to redistribute fat cells and successfully drain away fluid, so your efforts probably won’t be noticed within the first month.
It’s important to know that if you keep to a regular schedule of using a massage gun on the cellulite several times a day for up to two minutes on each area, you should start to see results towards the end of the first month you start using it.
Every person’s body is different and will react differently to the effects of a massage gun, so if you aren’t seeing results after the first month, don’t lose hope, it may just take a little longer for you.
The catch with using massage guns for cellulite
Ah, the catch, there’s always a catch isn’t there?
The catch with massage guns is that they can help with cellulite, and they can help with lymph guild buildup.
They will not “cure”, cellulite. You will need to keep using the gun on a regular basis to see positive results because even though you are redistributing and increasing the flow of built-up fluids, the makeup of your fascia stays the same, nothing changes here.
So, if you use a massage gun and start seeing results but then stop shortly after, the fluid will quickly build back up, and the fat cells will start to push through the fascia again, putting you right back where you were.
So are they a waste of time?
I don’t think so, no.
There are tons of different treatments you can try for cellulite reduction, including creams, specific body massages, and even invasive surgery.
All of these techniques vary in cost and efficacy, but they are all temporary!
Even that crazily expensive surgery will not cure your cellulite forever, because they are not altering the way your fascia is built, they can’t!
So, for the money, I think massage guns are probably your best bet.
They are portable, convenient, can be used in your own home when needed, and importantly, they are a one-off purchase. Creams and surgeries will need to be paid for again and again, whereas with a massage gun, once it’s paid for, you can use it for as long as you like.
Do massage guns help with cellulite?
I think they do, but the key factors that seem to make all the difference are how frequently you use them, for how long, and not stop once you start seeing results.
Of course, there are additional factors that will speed up your removal of cellulite, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Weight training to improve the shape and tone of the muscles under the skin
- Keep your skin hydrated by drinking enough liquids
A combination of the tips above and regular use of a percussion massage gun will almost certainly help you reduce your cellulite to an acceptable level.
Have a great day!
I hope you’ve found this article useful, and if you did, please feel free to share it or link back to it.