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Use Myofascial Release to Get Rid of Cellulite


Thanks to Shape Magazine for the image.

When I was a kid, I thought cellulite was a kind of fat. For some reason, I thought there was regular fat (like you might have around internal organs) and cellulite. Cellulite, of course, was the fat that accumulated on your bottom and upper thighs. If you were really unlucky, you might also have it in your arm flab or on your belly.

I believed the only way to get rid of cellulite was to strategically exercise. My parents had an old “exerciser” in our basement, and my mom claimed that she used it as a teenager to stay trim. The machine was cot-like with a mechanical seat in the middle. To use it, you lay down with your bottom on the mechanical seat, place sand bags across your belly, and start the machine. The seat rocks back and forth, allegedly reducing cellulite on your bottom.

Instead of making me trimmer, do you know what it really did? It dislocated my low back and SI joint.

Thankfully, our information about cellulite has advanced. Now, with better knowledge, we can try more appropriate forms of treatment.

What Is Cellulite?

According to, cellulite is a skin condition that normally affects the bottom and thighs. It usually creates small divots similar to an orange peel. However, more advanced cases can have an appearance similar to cottage cheese or even a dented mattress.

“The exact cause of cellulite is unknown, but it appears to result from an interaction between the connective tissue in the dermatological layer that lies below the surface of the skin, and the layer of fat that is just below it,” reports So, you have layers of skin, then fascia, then fat. When the fat cells push up into the layer of skin, that’s when you have visible cellulite.

Although cellulite can be present in both males and females, it is notably most present in females. In fact, 80-90 of women experience cellulite at some point in time. Cellulite is most common in women over 25.

Causes of Cellulite

Even though we have more information about cellulite today than ever before, it is still unclear about exactly why one person may have cellulite and not another. Here are some factors that may contribute to the appearance cellulite.


According to, “Hormones likely play an important role in cellulite development. Estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process.”

One theory is that, as estrogen levels decrease in women, blood flow to the fascia between the skin and fat cells decreases. This reduced blood flow means less oxygen to this area. With the reduced blood and oxygen comes a reduction in collagen production. All of these factors combined means that it is more likely for cellulite to be visible.


Unfortunately, genetics can play a role in cellulite development. Genetics determine the speed of your metabolism, the way your body distributes fat under the surface of your skin, and the efficiency of your circulatory system. All three of these points are important factors in the appearance of cellulite.

It’s also worth mentioning that your ethnicity can impact whether you have visible cellulite.


You might not be surprised to hear that individuals with high fat and carbohydrate, low fiber diets have a tendency to have more cellulite than others. Also, I’m sure you’re going to be flabbergasted to hear that individuals who exercise regularly tend to have less visible cellulite than individuals who don’t exercise. Shocking, I know.

But, did you know that wearing undies that are too tight might increase your visible cellulite? This is because the tight elastic of the undies restricts blood flow in this area. Reduced blood flow means a higher chance of cellulite.


We already know that cellulite becomes visible when fat cells push up through the layer of fascia to the skin. Also, we know that reduced circulation can be a reason that cellulite becomes visible. Therefore, doing something like rolling your glutes is beneficial for two reasons.

First, if the fascia is in some way adhered to the fat cells and pulling them upward, some simple rolling could break up the adhesions and let the fat cells return to a deeper level. Second, by rolling an area, you will improve your circulation to that area. There will be an increase in blood and oxygen to the area you’re working, and we already know that increased blood and oxygen can reduce the appearance of cellulite.

How to Reduce Cellulite

First, be aware that cellulite is visible fat cells. Fat cells may reduce in size, but they will never go away. This is a good thing because we need fat for our body to function correctly.

That being said, I have never met a person who has felt happy about their visible fat. If you want to make changes to the size or appearance of your fat cells, there are things you can do.

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle. Avoid eating fatty foods and empty carbohydrates. Instead, look for foods that are high in fiber.
  2. Stop smoking. Cellulite is more prevalent in smokers.
  3. Take care of your fascia. Whether you’re using a foam roller, tennis balls, a lacrosse ball, or The Orb; regularly work on fascia release in your troubled area. Personally, I think The Orb is the best tool. Massage, though, is the only guaranteed way to break up fascial adhesions.

Be cautious of miracle treatments. There are several treatment types including lasers and acoustic wave therapy that are proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Of course, simple fascia work has also been proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and it’s a lot less expensive.

Are you currently working on reducing your cellulite? What are you doing? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.

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