The Bathroom

the-bathroomAside from the kitchen, the bathroom is the best place to start healing cellulite.

The treatments in this room are the most instantly gratifying and thus provide plenty of motivation to stay consistent with your anti-cellulite routine.  They are also simple and inexpensive, yet potent at the same time.

As we learned in Cellulite 101, a major contributor to the development of cellulite is sluggish lymphatic circulation.  Like the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system is connected to every organ in the human body through a network of capillaries, vessels, and ducts.  Since cellulite is formed in the outermost lymphatic vessels just under the skin, topical spa-like treatments can be particularly powerful cellulite remedies.

Explore the treatments below to start healing your cellulite at home in your own bathroom today.

 

Body Brushing

Body brushing is the single treatment that ignited my curiosity in finding a natural cure for cellulite.  I knew the treatment was working when, after just a few days of brushing, I developed a rash on my legs.  I was dry brushing my whole body, but the rash only appeared on areas with cellulite.

Not all women have the same reaction to dry skin brushing, but I’ve heard from other women like myself who noticed immediate improvements.  The gentle friction of the dry bristles against the skin helps to stimulate circulation, as evidenced by the skin turning a rosy shade of pink.  It is important to brush in the direction of lymphatic flow to maximize the beneficial effects on lymph circulation.

Your body brush doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  My favorite brush right now is a Yerba Prima skin brush.  Its coarse bristles are perfect for stimulating lymphatic circulation.  I also like this palm fiber brush from Earth Therapeutics (pictured at right).  You can buy an inexpensive body brush online or from any health store.

If you want detailed instructions for dry brushing (along with some pretty awesome pictures) you could check out Dr. Berkowsky’s Vital Chi Skin Brushing System: The Quick Start Program.

To get started right away, here are some basic instructions along with the best tips we’ve uncovered so far for dry brushing cellulite: How to Dry Brush Cellulite.

Detox Baths

Forget the synthetic bubble baths and bath oils that line the shelves of common bath stores.  Even the ones with “natural” on the label usually contain a small amount of the advertised ingredient in a sludge of questionable chemicals and preservatives.  Once you start using genuine natural products with real healing properties, you’ll lose all interest in bath products purchased at the mall.

A must-have is a quality bath salt, especially since mineral deficiency has become a focal point in our investigation.  I used epsom salts for a while, but the more serious I became with my health efforts I started searching for even more therapeutic options.  I eventually switched to Ancient Minerals Magnesium Flakes but now I use Minera Dead Sea Salt which provides a spectrum of minerals in addition to the magnesium found in epsom salt.

There are many other powerful, natural elements you can add to your baths to augment the healing effects.  Certain essential oils, such as rosemary and lemongrass, are particularly effective at stimulating the lymphatic system (for more information, see the section on Anti Cellulite Oils below).  Apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay are two of my other favorites, although I use the clay more often for facials.

**Here’s the hard part about detox baths.  If fluoride is added to your water, please don’t bathe in it.  Our years of research here at The Cellulite Investigation indicate that fluoride is our primary suspect when it comes to the causes of cellulite.  But don’t worry, you have options!  If moving is out of the question, you could start by contacting your local water company and asking them to stop adding fluoride to the water.  In the meantime, you could install a whole house fluoride filter or skip the detox baths altogether and use an Infrared Sauna instead.

Infrared Saunas

As with steam baths, people have been using saunas for their health benefits for centuries.  When your body sweats in a sauna, it is different than when you sweat during exercise.  As Dr. Lawrence Wilson explains in his book, Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing,  saunas allow the body to sweat while remaining in a relaxed state.  Since the heat is coming from an external source and not from within, the body is able to conserve energy and use it for repair work instead.

Before I read Dr. Wilson’s book, I was using a far infrared sauna I purchased from a friend who moved overseas.  But Dr. Wilson recommends near infrared saunas, in part because they don’t emit as much EMF (it’s true, I bought a ghostbuster gadget-thingy to measure it).

At the time, there were no good sources for near infrared saunas and Dr. Wilson recommended building your own, but recently a great little company in Missouri popped up that makes beautiful near infrared saunas here in the U.S. at a reasonable price.  I immediately put my old sauna on Craiglist and have been enjoying my pocket sauna from Sauna Space ever since!  Besides a very low EMF emission, it’s also much smaller than my FIR sauna and easier to move when I need to.  The handcrafted poplar wood is a work of art.   Every home should have one, especially if your water is fluoridated and you can’t take baths.

Exfoliation

Body brushing is great for improving lymphatic circulation and it also helps with exfoliation, but when you’re working hard to detox your body you might find that your skin needs to be exfoliated at an increased rate.  After two years of dry brushing I noticed my skin still needed extra help with exfoliation.  That is when I learned about the ancient practice of oil bathing.

Oil bathing involves rubbing a base oil into the skin, such as almond oil or jojoba, and then sitting in a steam room or a hot bath while the skin softens.  The oil combines with fat-soluble waste on the skin and is then lightly scraped off.  The ancient Greeks and Romans used an instrument called a strigil.  In parts of Asia where variations on the practice are still common they use polished jade, a honed animal horn, or even a metal coin.

After experimenting with strigil replicas and a variety of other tools for oil bathing, I finally found this nifty tool called Le Edge.  (fyi, the blue one is a buck cheaper right now.  Does anyone else find that slightly offensive?)  Le Edge is great for removing the oily residue from the skin, while my clever co-investigators have used Pampered Chef pan scrapers or even a spoon!

**Note: I have a separate Le Edge that I use in the shower just for my face.  There is enough oil on my face already that I don’t even need to add oil or steam my face for it to effectively remove the dead skin cells.  If your skin is in need of exfoliation, you will be amazed (and maybe a little grossed out) at how effective this little tool is.

Another excellent tool for exfoliation are these exfoliating cloths from Korea.  One of our fellow cellulite investigators sent in a tip on our Public Tip Line about them after picking one up in South Korea and I’ve been hooked on them ever since.  They exfoliate like no loofah, mitt, or glove I’ve ever tried!  The cloths last a long time and at about $1 per cloth, they are one of the best investments you can make in the health of your skin (and therefore your skin’s ability to help detoxify other parts of your body).

The end of a bath or hot shower is the perfect time to use them.  You can also buy an exfoliating towel of the same material for harder to reach areas.

Cupping Massage

Using cups for massage is a common practice in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and Eastern Europe, but here in the U.S. the practice seems only to be well known amongst celebrities and professional athletes.  The type of cupping massage we’ve found that works best for cellulite involves the use of flexible silicone cups that glide over the skin.  The gentle suction increases circulation and brings nutrients to the surface of the skin, helping to break up lymphatic congestion and repair cellular damage that leads to cellulite.

A basic cupping set like this one (pictured at right) is great for individual home use.  It is inexpensive and includes a good variety of cup sizes.  The two medium cups are good for the calves and the larger cup is perfect for the most cellulite-prone regions.  It’s nice to have a facial cup, too.  This set also comes with an instructional guide and access to video tutorials so you can get started with cupping right away.

Some of our investigators use massage cups in the shower with soapy water, but I like to use a variety of quality oils that have strong anti-cellulite properties.  My favorite is ozonated coconut oil blended with essential oils known to increase detoxification, such as rosemary, juniper, geranium, cypress, lemongrass, lemon, grapefruit, and orange.  See the section on anti-cellulite oils below for more information.

Other Massage Techniques

Cupping massage shows the most promise as an anti-cellulite treatment, but here are some other massage techniques that are worth further investigation.

Manual Lymph Drainage is said to increase the flow of lymph by as much as 30 percent.  Since it is such a specialized treatment, it usually costs more than other massage sessions and it is difficult to learn for home use.  But I saw dramatic results with lymphatic drainage when I was suffering from acne.  It didn’t go away completely until I figured out the cause, but the lymphatic drainage helped heal the individual breakouts.  Since acne is a cousin to cellulite, it’s not surprising that Manual Lymph Drainage helps with cellulite, as well.

The HoneyBelle Body Buffer is another high-end option for an anti-cellulite massage routine.  This massage device is a high-powered piece of machinery with an oscillating head designed to boost blood and lymphatic flow, stimulate collagen formation and stretch fibrous tissues to improve elasticity.  In my test of the HoneyBelle, I was impressed with how deeply I felt the massaging action in my cellulite (and I mean the actual cellulite, not the muscle beneath).  However, I couldn’t get past the hefty price tag and the high EMF emissions to purchase one for myself.

Right now I am testing the FasciaBlaster after a tip came in about it over our Public Tip Line.  It seems overpriced for such a simple tool, but I like how with just one swipe over my leg I can feel exactly where my circulation is most congested that day.

Or if you want to go the traditional route, don’t use any gadgets at all for your anti cellulite massage.  Abhyanga, the daily self-massage prescribed in Ayurveda and outlined in Pratima Raichur’s book, Absolute Beauty,  is a simple practice that involves rubbing warm oil all over your body for 15-20 minutes per day.  Most people don’t need a complicated scientific explanation to understand the calming effect a daily practice like abhyanga can have on the body.  It can even help to balance your hormones!

Anti-Cellulite Oils

I prefer using homemade oil blends instead of conventional anti-cellulite creams because they are more potent, readily available, and easy to prepare at home.  Also, you don’t have to worry about questionable chemicals hiding on the ingredient label.

To create your own anti cellulite oil, you will need to start with a base oil, also known as a carrier oil.  Carrier oils are full of fat-soluble nutrients that are vital for cellulite recovery, as you’ll see over in the CI Kitchen.  Some of the most popular carrier oils are sesame, almond, coconut, and jojoba.  You can use one at a time or blend them together.

coconuts-togetherOne of the most promising carrier oils for cellulite we uncovered in our investigation so far is ozonated coconut oil.  It contains all the fatty acids that make coconut oil so healing, but it also contains activated oxygen, known as O3 or ozone.  Ozone is created naturally when regular oxygen molecules, O2, come in contact with ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun.  The third atom of oxygen acts as a scavenger, helping to neutralize toxins and promote healing.

The medical literature on the wound healing effects of ozonated oil is promising.  After receiving a tip about ozonated oils through our Public Tip Line, I tested ozonated olive oil on my fluoroderma and the results were incredible.  Blemishes that usually took two weeks to heal went away in just a few days.  Ozonated olive oil and hemp oil contain the most ozone, but I like using ozonated coconut oil for cellulite because the creamy consistency makes it easier to massage into the skin.

It can be fun to experiment with more exotic oils, too.  Rosehip seed oil, argan oil, macadamia nut oil, emu oil —there are so many quality oils on the market and each one offers a unique profile of fat-soluble nutrients to feed your skin.  Even nutritional oils that come in capsule form, such as evening primrose oil, can be blended into your base oil by pricking the capsule with a pin and squeezing the contents into your anti-cellulite potion.

essential oilCarrier oils are healing in their own right, but adding pure essential oils to your base oil will increase the healing properties exponentially.  As we discuss over in the CI Bedroom, essential oils are widely underrated in our pharmaceutical-driven healthcare system.  The ones recommended for cellulite have strong cleansing properties and are known to stimulate the lymphatic system.  They include rosemary, juniper, geranium, cypress, lemongrass, lemon, grapefruit, and orange.

To avoid skin irritations that can result from the topical use of essential oils, the recommended dilution rate is two percent or lower.  A general rule of thumb is to add twelve drops of essential oils for each ounce of carrier oil.  It is also advised to do a skin patch test before introducing a new oil to ensure you don’t have a preexisting sensitivity.  The quality of essential oils can vary, so it is worth it to purchase pure organic oils from a company you trust.

Anti-Cellulite Creams

Most cellulite creams have tiny bottles with big price tags.  They typically have complicated, questionable chemicals on the ingredient list, too.

In the early days of The Cellulite Investigation, cellulite cream manufacturers offered their products to us for free in exchange for candid reviews.  Once we started investigating individual cellulite creams further, the reviews generally were not positive (see exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C) and eventually the offers stopped coming in.

I am still not a big advocate of cellulite creams.  I mostly use essential oil blends in my anti-cellulite massage routine, but I do rotate the occasional cream into the mix.  I don’t recommend a specific one, but lately I look for a cellulite cream that contains seaweed (such as the one pictured at right) and doesn’t have parabens, “parfum”, or other questionable ingredients.

To know if an ingredient is potentially toxic, you can look it up in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.  Also, please be wary of product reviews for cellulite creams on Amazon.  There seems to be some funny business going on there.

If you have stubborn cellulite, a cream by itself probably won’t be enough to heal it but it can play a helpful role in a larger anti cellulite strategy.

Seaweed Body Wraps

Body wraps are messy and time consuming, but they can be an effective way to deliver nutrients through the skin.  We started investigating body wraps using GUAM Seaweed Mud, a product that is emphatically endorsed by women in Italy for its cellulite-healing superpowers.  The idea of absorbing seaweed-based nutrients through the skin is intriguing in light of the potential link between iodine deficiency and cellulite.

I stopped using GUAM when some savvy co-investigators brought up the issue of increased toxin exposure from the plastic used to wrap the mud against the skin.  GUAM is no longer readily available in the U.S., but I would like to experiment with body wraps again soon using reusable body wrap bandages and a quality seaweed-based product.

To make a body wrap, Azara Organics recommends mixing 4 tablespoons of their powdered seaweed with warm water to make a paste.  Then combine 2 tablespoons of almond or olive oil with 2 drops of lavender essential oil and 1 drop rosemary.  Mix the oils into the seaweed paste and apply.

If you choose to investigate the use of body wraps for cellulite, please report back and let us know how it goes!

 

 


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