All medicine comes down to this: Find out what’s bugging you; get rid of it. Find out what you need; get it.
The body does the rest.
—Mark Hyman, M.D.
The body is constantly working as best it can to detoxify cells and rebuild damaged tissue. All we need to do is support this natural process. Any explanation of how the human body works is going to be oversimplified and incomplete, but the basic steps it goes through to heal cellulite are outlined below. Once you understand them, you’ll see how the most effective cellulite treatments are the ones that help the body along on its natural path to healing.
Our hunger and thirst compel us to eat and drink throughout the day, ensuring a continuous supply of nutrients to constantly rebuild and renew our bodies. We also inhale nutrients through our lungs and absorb them through our skin. This happens naturally without us having to think about it. We can support this process by choosing to bring in raw material that support lymphatic health and by limiting exposure to those that don’t.
Dietary advice is one of the most confusing aspects of modern life, but when we look at nutrition through the lens of tradition, instead of through the lens of modern nutritional science (a discipline that is still in its infancy), then it makes much more sense. To repair damaged fat and connective tissue, you need to eat foods that are rich in the nutrients found in healthy fat and connective tissue. The raw material the body needs to repair cellulite is abundant in the diets people, until recently, have been eating for thousands of years. Learn more in the CI Kitchen.
Our ability to convert hamburgers and fruit salad into muscle, bone, and plasma is magic in the truest sense of the word. We have only a primitive understanding of this alchemy. For example, not long ago, bacteria were seen primarily as the cause of infection and disease. We had no idea millions of them were living in our digestive tract, breaking down our food and creating nutrients to keep us healthy. Bacteria were also at work in the foods we used to eat. Prior to our reliance on the industrialized food system, most meals were naturally high in the probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes needed for healthy digestion. With the advent of refrigeration and pasteurization, we lost the tradition of consuming these nutrients in our daily diet. Learn more in the CI Kitchen.
As mentioned in Step 1, fat-soluble nutrients are particularly important for repairing cellulite. But unlike water-soluble nutrients, they do not pass through the liver for initial filtering, a process known as first pass metabolism. Instead, the liver secretes a fluid called bile into the small intestine that emulsifies fats for digestion. If your body is not accustomed to eating healthy fats, it might not produce sufficient bile to break them down at first. Learn how to ease into eating more fat in the CI Kitchen.
Water-soluble nutrients are digested directly into the bloodstream where they are transported throughout the body by the venous circulatory system. Fat-soluble nutrients, on the other hand, are digested through millions of lymphatic vessels in the small intestine and absorbed into lymph circulation. Our bodies have over twice as much lymph as blood, and yet there is no pump to circulate lymph.
Lymph flows as the result of a peristaltic action within the lymphatic vessels. This motion is stimulated by a combination of skeletal movement and pressure changes during breathing. For this reason, movement, breath, and gravity are three of the biggest factors in exercising the lymphatic system. Learn the best exercises to increase lymph flow in the CI Gym.
When we consume fat-soluble substances that aren’t a traditional part of the human diet, they can impair lymph flow and cause lymphatic congestion. One fat-soluble toxin in particular has risen to the forefront of our investigation. It was artificially added to our daily diet in the early 1960’s, just a few years before the term “cellulite” was conceived. Learn more in the CI Kitchen.
After the right nutrients are consumed and adequately circulated, the body does its magic by using them to renew itself and repair damage. Fat-soluble vitamins help rebuild cell membranes and lubricate connective tissue. Minerals balance the level of fluid in and around the cells. We have clues and glimpses of how the body uses nutrients to repair cellulite, but it would be naive to assume we have a deep understanding of all the ways this works. Fortunately, we don’t need to.
The body will always do its best to move towards health with whatever resources are available. The most important action we can take to support it in this step is to give it the time and space it needs to do its mysterious work. In other words, we need abundant, quality sleep. Throughout history, it is difficult to identify a society of people who were more sleep deprived than we are today. We go to bed too late, wake up too early, and make little effort to improve the quality of sleep in between. But for those who take sleep seriously, there are simple actions you can take that will have a big impact on the quality of your sleep over time. To learn more about how to become skilled at sleep, see the CI Bedroom.
After the nutrients are used to repair cellular damage, the debris is released into the fluid surrounding the cells and absorbed into lymphatic capillaries. The lymph is then carried through lymphatic vessels to a series of lymph nodes where it is filtered and some of the waste molecules are eliminated. Eventually the lymph empties into two main lymphatic ducts near the shoulder blades before it is returned to the bloodstream via the subclavian veins.
As with Step 3, exercise that leverages movement, breath, and gravity can help improve lymphatic circulation, especially with regard to the deeper lymphatic vessels. See the CI Gym for more information. Since cellulite is a direct result of congested fluid in the superficial lymphatic vessels just under the skin, massage, dry brushing, and other manual techniques are also good methods for enhancing the flow of lymph to heal cellulite. Learn more in the CI Bath.
Once lymph is returned to the bloodstream, the fluid is then filtered further through the liver prior to elimination. The liver uses some of the fluid to create bile which is later eliminated through the bowels. It also uses special enzymes to convert fat-soluble waste into a water-soluble form that can be eliminated through the kidneys and, ultimately, the urine. In traditional healthcare systems, the liver and kidneys have been carefully studied for thousands of years leading to a wealth of knowledge on how we can support them in their important work. Learn more in the CI Kitchen.
The skin is considered a secondary detoxification organ because it will take some of the load off the primary detoxification organs when the system becomes overburdened. This explains why sauna therapy has such a long history in so many different cultures. It also explains the connection between acne and cellulite; just like cellulite, acne is a sign of congested detoxification pathways in the skin. Maximizing your ability to eliminate waste through the skin is an important aspect of healing cellulite. Learn how in the CI Bath.