A common question that we get from readers is: can a massage gun help with cellulite? We talk about the potential benefits and considerations of using your massage gun to manage cellulite here.
In This Article
- What is Cellulite? What Causes It?
- Is Cellulite Bad?
- Common Treatments for Cellulite
- Is a Massage Gun Good for Cellulite?
- Can A Massage Gun Break Up Cellulite?
- How To Use A Massage Gun for Cellulite
- Best Massage Gun Attachment for Cellulite
- How Often to Use a Massage Gun for Cellulite
- Massage Gun for Cellulite Before and After
- Can a Massage Gun Help with Cellulite? Bottom Line
Why Trust Our Advice and a Disclaimer
This is an informative post with the goal of answering some common questions we get about massage guns and cellulite. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
Research is limited on massage guns since they are a new type of device, so many ideas will still need testing and vetting.
However, rest assured that the information provided here is accurate because this post has been written by a licensed physiotherapist, Dr. Alex Stone, DPT.
We encourage you to check with your doctor before attempting to use any of the advice given here.
TIP In a hurry and need some advice on cellulite massage guns? Check out our buying guide on the best massage guns for cellulite.
What is Cellulite? What Causes It?
Cellulite is a word used to describe areas of skin with a dimpled, cottage-cheese-like appearance. These areas are most commonly found on the buttocks, hips, and thighs, but can also develop in other areas including the arms and belly.
The exact causes of cellulite are still unknown, but the likely cause is related to fibrous connective tissue – the ropes and covers holding down everything beneath the skin – becoming less firm and allowing small groups of fat cells to push through towards the surface of the skin.
This causes a bumpy, curdled appearance of the skin from an outside view.
Research shows that women are far more likely to experience cellulite (sorry, ladies) (1). This is thought to be related to differences in connective tissue patterns between men and women, and there may also be hormonal influences that affect how fat cells are stored and developed throughout the body.
Is Cellulite Bad?
Cellulite is very common, but can make some of us wonder “is there something wrong with me?“
There are many perfectly healthy people who have cellulite, and for some people it is unavoidable. In fact, research shows that up to 90% of women will deal with cellulite at some point.
The good news is that cellulite is mostly harmless, and for most of us the biggest concern is personal appearance.
In some instances, cellulite may be related to problems with diet and lifestyle. In these cases, cellulite may point to other health problems that may need to be addressed separately with the help of your doctor.
But can a massage gun help with cellulite? There are many potential treatments for cellulite from research and personal reports, but massage guns seem to be gaining traction as a treatment method for cellulite in recent years.
If you’re ready to work on improving your cellulite, a massage gun could be a useful tool along the way.
Common Treatments for Cellulite
There are many treatments available for cellulite. These include topical creams, massage, exercise, laser, shockwave, and surgery.
Massage therapy comes in many different forms, and several have been used to treat cellulite. Deep tissue massage is a widely used treatment because it assists in improving blood circulation and lymphatic drainage (2).
This can improve the appearance of your skin and make cellulite less pronounced; however, the effects are temporary and require regular use of massage therapy.
Is a Massage Gun Good for Cellulite?
Many people are turning to their massage guns to manage their cellulite, but do they really work?
Unfortunately, there’s not much research on this topic yet. However, we can compare the effects of your massage gun to a deep tissue massage because the two affect your body in similar ways.
A massage gun may be helpful because it provides percussive therapy, a form of massage that uses repetitive pulses to mobilize your muscles and other soft tissue. This helps with improving circulation and “softening” the area being massaged, similar to a deep tissue massage.
We know that both massage guns and traditional massage help to improve circulation, but is this enough to treat cellulite?
In our opinion: a massage gun may be helpful to manage your cellulite, but mostly through indirect ways.
Can A Massage Gun Break Up Cellulite?
As far as we know, your massage gun will not be able to break up or “blast away” areas of cellulite you would like to remove; there is no research to support this yet, nor does it make sense for your body to respond to percussive therapy in this way.
Instead, there are two indirect ways that percussive therapy might be helpful in reducing your cellulite.
- The first benefit, as explained above, is by increasing circulation and drainage in areas affected by cellulite. This may offer similar benefits to regular deep tissue massage therapy, which temporarily improves the appearance of your skin and makes cellulite less visible.
- The second benefit of your massage gun is enhancing exercise recovery. Since exercise is known to be effective in reducing the appearance and formation of cellulite, most people will benefit from exercising regularly (3). Without good recovery techniques, exercise can lead to overuse injuries quickly. Your massage gun can be a big help with keeping your muscles supple and could help get you into the gym more often – this would enhance your ability to use exercise as a treatment for cellulite.
For these reasons, we recommend using your massage gun for general massage and exercise recovery, enjoying cellulite improvements as a potential bonus.
How To Use A Massage Gun for Cellulite
If you know that it is safe to use your massage gun, follow these basic steps for best results:
- Hold your massage gun and turn it on, setting it to medium speed.
- Gently apply the head of your massager over the desired area at a straight angle (not slanted) and slowly apply pressure until a medium intensity is reached (strong, but not painful).
- Slowly move the head around the area while trying to maintain consistent pressure and a straight angle. Small circles are an effective way to evenly cover ground.
- Focus on one area of the body for 1-2 minutes. Do not exceed this amount of time until you are able to wait and assess if your body responds well (no bruising, swelling, or pain afterward).
- Adjust your speed and intensity based on your comfort at each body area. Do not push into pain!
RELATED POST Worth reading: How to Use a Massage Gun Properly and Effectively.
Best Massage Gun Attachment for Cellulite
Wondering what is the best massage gun attachment for cellulite treatment? There are many attachments available with today’s massage guns. Some standard-issue attachments include the ball, flat head, bullet, and fork attachments. But which one is best?
In our opinion, you’ll want to use the ball or flat head attachments.
This is because the wider, less pointed attachments will have a better effect on blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, which are attributed to better skin appearance.
Remember, our goal is not to “break up” the cellulite with aggressive or pointed tools, which is why we don’t recommend using the bullet or fork attachments for this purpose.
How Often to Use a Massage Gun for Cellulite
For best results with your massage gun, we recommend daily use with a similar pattern or sequence.
This will give your body the best chance to benefit from percussive therapy and also help you determine if your technique is effective.
While it might be tempting to use your massage gun several times per day, especially when you want to see fast results, it’s important to give your body enough rest between sessions to make sure you’re recovering properly.
Conversely, only picking up the massage gun a few days per week will likely not give your body enough stimulus to create benefit.
Massage Gun for Cellulite Before and After
Have you used your massage gun for managing cellulite? We want to know!
Send your before and after photos with a brief description of your method to us and we’ll include them in this ‘massage gun for cellulite before and after’ section for other curious readers to see your results! You can contact us here.
Can a Massage Gun Help with Cellulite? Bottom Line
Hopefully this post has cleared up the question: can a massage gun help with cellulite?
The truth is, there just isn’t enough research yet to know for sure if percussive therapy (aka massage guns) can effectively bring down persistent cellulite.
However, your massage gun may be an important companion to a regular exercise routine, healthy diet, and good lifestyle habits.
Because cellulite can be caused by many factors, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact source and determine which treatment will be most effective. For this reason, it may take some trial and error to figure out which treatment approach is the best for you. This may include trying different combinations of exercise, massage, creams, and lifestyle changes and watching how your body responds.
We know that massage guns are helpful for many other reasons related to fitness and recovery, and that’s why we recommend doing your homework before picking a massage gun that fits your needs.
Make sure you read our guide on choosing the best massage gun for cellulite. We developed that guide to help you explore some of the best options available.
- Friedmann, D. P., Vick, G. L., & Mishra, V. (2017). Cellulite: a review with a focus on subcision. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 10, 17–23. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S95830
- Bayrakci Tunay V, Akbayrak T, Bakar Y, Kayihan H, Ergun N. Effects of mechanical massage, manual lymphatic drainage and connective tissue manipulation techniques on fat mass in women with cellulite. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010;24(2):138-142. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03355.x
- Taati, B., & Khoshnoodnasab, M. (2019). Exercise-based approaches to the treatment of cellulite. International Journal of Medical Reviews, 6(1), 26-27.
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Dr. Alex Stone, DPT, CSCS
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