Five minutes to spare? Try some self-massage: it’s an inexpensive way to boost your circulation and kick-start your lymphatic drainage system.
You can’t underestimate the feel good power of a great massage. It’s relaxing but invigorating, and can alleviate all sorts of aches and pains.
Cellulite is a pain in the backside, and massage can help with that too. One study found that massage could boost circulation and stimulate the nerves that control blood flow to your organs. Another study showed that deep mechanical massage really can help the appearance of cellulite.
Massage can help boost lymphatic drainage too – helping alleviate the fluid retention that can make you look puffy and bloated. And it has been shown to decrease levels of stress hormones, which are associated with weight gain. All good reasons to invest in a regular massage treatment.
If you have the funds to splash out on a salon massage, the best choice for cellulite sufferers is manual lymphatic drainage (MLD). This is a pleasant, deeply relaxing massage therapy, which is used to treat all sorts of health problems, from sprains, torn ligaments, sinusitis to rheumatoid arthritis. Beauty experts recommend it for fluid retention – it’s a fantastic way to relieve tired, puffy eyes, and alleviate swollen ankles, that sort of thing. Plus it’s thought to be an effective way to help heal wounds and minimise old scars.
During the first session, the therapist usually takes a thorough history – details of your health, lifestyle and concerns. Then you lie down, usually partially clothed, while the therapist uses a variety of gentle, rhythmic movements over your skin, in the direction of lymph flow. This gentle pumping action is thought to stimulate the lymphatic vessels, which helps removes waste products. By encouraging fluid loss, it can help improve the puffiness over the legs, bum and thighs. A course of six to ten treatments is usually recommended. Expect to pay about £30 a session.
5 minute self massage to help diminish cellulite
Cheaper by far is a five-minute self-massage. All you need is some good oil or rich body moisturiser. Aim to incorporate a little routine into your morning or evening ablutions.
Massaging areas of your skin regularly – even for a few minutes a day – can help improve blood flow and lymph circulation, and moisturise your skin. When your skin is dry and dehydrated, cellulite appears far more noticeable.
Arm yourself with an aromatherapy-based oil or rich moisturising cream. Rub your hands together to warm the lotion/oil; this will make it easier to apply.
If you find you tend to have more time in the evening, schedule your self-massage for bath time, or bedtime. That way you can use it as a relaxation tool. Alternatively, try a few minutes self-massage after a workout to help soothe tired muscles.
Experts recommend spending a few minutes relaxing your muscles before you start. Sit or lie comfortably, and breathe in slowly for a count of four, then out to the count of four. Then rub your hands together to warm the lotion or aromatherapy oil.
Start with your thighs. Using a gentle but firm upwards stroke, work away from the knee. Always work upwards – toward the heart, so you’re working with the circulation and lymph flow. Using loose fingers, gently ‘knead’ the thigh. Then place the palms of your hands flat on your buttocks and circle upwards and outwards, one hand on each buttock. Make sure you use long, slow, gentle movements. Next, massage your stomach. Use gentle circular movements – work in a circular position using the flats of your hands.
Finally, move to your arms. Work your way upwards from your wrist to your shoulder, using a firm, but gentle, kneading motion. Then glide down your arm again to your wrist. Repeat several times on each arm.
Extracted from Cellulite solutions: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Super Smooth Skin by Linda Bird and Cherry Maslen. Published by Infinite Ideas (www.infideas.com). Available on Amazon Kindle for £4.47