Chances are you've heard of cellulite? It's a common condition so maybe you have it? A tell tale sign that you have cellulite can often be a visible surface dimpling on the skin, often on the thighs, hips or abdomen, which is why it's often referred to as 'orange peel skin'.
So, what is Cellulite?
Firstly, cellulite is very common, especially amongst women. Between 80% and 90% of all women who've gone through puberty have cellulite.
Cellulite is what we get when the connective tissue (fascia) in the body become dried out, tight and restricted, the fat layer then pushes up through the fascia giving the skin a lumpy, uneven appearance.
This tightening of the fascia, and the resulting cellulite, can occur when we sit for too long each day, when we overwork our bodies with the same repetitive motion, when we have bad posture habits, all can cause an imbalance in the fascia, especially as we age. Our age can be a factor as when we age our skin begins to lose elasticity and this can result in increased cellulite.
Weight gain can make cellulite more noticeable, but some lean people have cellulite, as well. It tends to run in families, so genetics might play the biggest role in whether you develop cellulite. An inactive lifestyle also can increase your chances of having cellulite, as can pregnancy. (Mayo Clinic)
There are different types of cellulite. Most are painless, and often people are not aware that they have it. Sometimes, however, the appearance and placement of the cellulite can affect how we feel in ourselves. It may cause us to limit what we wear or even to avoid certain activities. In some cases cellulite, and the tight connective tissue can limit mobility or cause discomfort or even pain.
And what is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is a technique that I love to use in my massage treatments. The technique was originally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is sometimes referred to in English as simply 'scraping'.
Gua sha is simple but effective. It is the act of scraping a flat stone, usually made of jade or rose quartz, over oiled skin in strokes to break up fascia adhesion, promote tissue drainage and improve circulation.
Gua sha can be used lightly on the face and neck. This helps to shift lymphatic fluid and improve circulation. It can be a very relaxing treatment when used in this way. Other times it can be used on the body and this is a much more vigorous treatment. It is fast paced and stimulating for the whole body. This type of treatment can be used on larger areas of the body, for example the legs, hips and glutes.
How Gua Sha can help?
Using a gua sha tool over areas of cellulite and tight fascia can help break down the adhesions. Once the fascia starts to relax the layer of fat cells are able to sit back from the surface of the skin and the orange peel appearance is lessened. Gua sha isn't a magic cure. You will still have cellulite but the fascia will be less tight and blood and lymphatic fluids will be able to flow more easily around the tissues bringing a good supply of oxygen and nutrients and removing any build up of waste products and lactic acid. The body will be able to work more optimally and as always, massage doesn't heal the body, massage gives the body the ability to heal itself.