I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who says “cellulite… no problem”. It seems like everyone I know is talking about it and searching for the miracle cure! Well… look no further! There are no expensive creams or time consuming procedures. Just one simple tool, a little elbow grease and 5 – 15 minutes (consistently). Find out how to minimize or eliminate the appearance of cellulite!
Not only that but the same practice that helps rid your body of cellulite also helps increase circulation, stimulate your immune system and detoxify your body! What more could you want!
What Causes Cellulite
So, before we get into how to eliminate it let’s talk about what causes cellulite!
Cellulite is far more common in women than men and tends to become worse as we age. While people of any age or gender can have cellulite it is most common in women over 25 and will effect about 85 – 90% of us in our lifetime.
This is a common condition that has no adverse health effects. But, the cottage cheese or orange peel appearance to the skin is generally considered unsightly. Women are spending countless hours and significant amounts of money for what ends up being at best a temporary fix.
Let me clear up the biggest myth right up front! The cause of cellulite is NOT excess fat. Thin people have it too. Certainly exercise, plenty of water and a healthy diet can help in preventing and minimizing cellulite. This is because of the way these factors effect the skin.
Cellulite is caused by fat cells pushing through the deepest level of the skin. It is more common in women because our connective tissue is arranged vertically instead of like a grid. This makes the structure easier to breach. If you imagine that the lowest layer of your skin is a net and the cells beneath it are pushing against it and some are squeezing through the openings a bit that is what causes the appearance of cellulite. So to improve the appearance of cellulite you have to close those gaps in the net!
Circulation & Collagen Production
In order to improve the appearance of cellulite, it is important to increase circulation which in turn increases collagen production. This strengthens the lower layers of the skin and helps to minimize the appearance of cellulite. In addition it is also beneficial to prevent skin aging and creping.
As we know our heart pumps blood to our extremities. This also gives the blood a head start on it’s journey back towards the heart. But, healthy circulation is also heavily dependent on skeletal muscle movement. In simple terms, to improve circulation you need to move your body! This is why exercise can have such a tremendous impact on the appearance of cellulite and on overall health.
Manual Circulation Stimulation
What did you just read??? This sounds very daunting and like a medical professional should be involved! Actually, this is a term I’ve coined to summarize the process of using tools or massage to improve circulation.
Part of why massage is scientifically proven to be so beneficial to our health is because it helps to stimulate blood and lymph circulation. Not many of us have the time or money to get massages daily (or even weekly… though if you do, you should). So, what are we to do? Well… we can and should take up body brushing!
What is Body Brushing
Body brushing is the process of rubbing a natural bristled brush over your body. Both the brush and your skin should be dry. This is often alternatively referred to as dry brushing. It is recommended twice a week to daily depending on tolerance and should be done in the morning. It is typically considered too invigorating and stimulating to be done before bed.
How to Body Brush
Body brushing should always be done by brushing towards the heart. Many people like to use long strokes from the extremities inward and generally finish the brushing process within about 5 min. I personally use a slightly different technique. I typically brush in smaller strokes starting at the heart and going toward the heart and then finish with long strokes from the extremities inward. This is because I was taught to perform massage and especially lymphatic massage using this technique. And, I apply the same principle to body brushing.
Preventing a “traffic jam”
Essentially I am assuming that there may be blockage somewhere along the way and I need to clear it before creating a traffic jam. This analogy might help you understand the process.
Imagine that you see a traffic back up… do you bring the vehicles from furthest away to the back up or do you clear the back up first. Obviously, you clear the back up first. The concept of body brushing being beneficial is based on the idea that it aids circulation and lymphatic flow but if you are struggling with detox or lymphatic drainage you are likely to have a back up somewhere and clearing it first may help. This is why I use the shorter toward the heart strokes first and work my way out. When I get to my hands and feet I use long strokes toward my heart to completely clear the way and return blood and lymphatic flow. If you choose to practice body brushing using this technique do not skip these long strokes. This technique takes about 15 minutes.
Long stroke brushing
If you are more comfortable or time doesn’t allow you can skip the shorter strokes and just do the longer strokes from the feet to the heart, hands to the heart and face to the heart. Most who use this technique use clockwise circles on the stomach, chest and underarms. Remember it is essentially brushing from every part of your body toward your heart. This would only take about 5 minutes.
If you body brush daily or a couple times a week you could alternate between the two techniques. This may help alleviate boredom. Body brushing feels great to most people but it can be tedious.
Often people shower after body brushing. Since I brush every day and don’t shower every day this isn’t part of my routine but I do moisturize as needed with a natural or homemade moisturizer. Do not body brush after showering. Your skin will be too damp.
Firmness and Pressure
You might want to play around with how firm you want the bristles on your brush to be. I love this brush set because it offers so much variety! Often when people first start out they find that they prefer a softer bristle brush and move up to a more firm brush. You may also have a preference as to style. I use both a handheld and long handle brush. But, many people prefer to only use a long handle brush. This can make it easier to reach your back and feet and can also help to distribute the pressure better. You don’t want to apply so much pressure that it is painful. Body brushing should feel pleasant and should not sting or hurt in any way. You typically want to go over the same spot 5 – 10 times. You don’t want that last time to hurt!
What to expect
You can expect that your skin will peel a little bit and may be pink when you body brush. You shouldn’t experience redness, pain or soreness. Though when I first started my arms were a bit tired from the repetitive motion. If you do experience discomfort you may need a softer brush or touch (you may be brushing to vigorously). It is also possible that your skin may be too sensitive for brushing. Don’t brush if you have a skin condition, rash or cut (I have found that bruises tend to heal faster with brushing but be cautious with pressure). You may also notice that your skin needs more moisturizing. Use a natural or homemade moisturizer.
Are the Benefits Proven?
You will surely see many articles and posts claiming that body brushing has a whole array of benefits. People claim improvements in everything from circulation to energy levels to digestion. Not to mention the obvious skin tone and texture improvements. The truth is that body brushing hasn’t been studied. A lot of the stated benefits are anecdotal. And some are the result of correlating brushing with massage (which has been studied more extensively). The proven benefits of body brushing are exfoliation and decrease in ingrown hairs.
Is There a Down Side?
That being said, there really isn’t a down side to trying out body brushing. Worst case scenario your skin will be to sensitive to do it or you won’t see any benefit. If you have a medical condition like peripheral neuropathy (diabetes) or lymph-edema you should definitely discuss brushing with your doctor. And truth is, even without one of these conditions you might want to consult with a physician or pharmacist before starting any new health or wellness regimen. Barring any contraindications or health conditions, brushing is safe for most people and worth a try!
Does Body Brushing “Cure” Cellulite?
Most proponents of body brushing (including myself) have experienced improvements in the appearance of cellulite. However this evidence is anecdotal. There is no scientific proof that there is long term improvement or structural changes in the skin. There is also no proof that there aren’t changes. I would argue that it doesn’t matter. Since I (and most people who practice) brush regularly I am always experiencing the benefits. Once every 6 months or so I spend $20 or less on brushes and I brush daily. Every day my skin looks and feels better and the appearance of dryness and cellulite is diminished. I assume that if I stopped brushing the dry skin and orange peel appearance may reappear.
So technically have I cured my cellulite? Perhaps not! But I have done what I set out to do… diminished the appearance of it! And, you can too!
Seriously! Share this post!!! Why wouldn’t you tell your friends so they can try this simple tip too! Don’t keep this beauty secret to yourself!
If you have any questions or additional information about body brushing please share in the comments below! I’m sure you’re not the only one and others could benefit from your question or advice! Also, let me know if you think a brushing video would be helpful. I’m happy to add one to my YouTube channel with a link here.