The Myth of Foam Rolling Cellulite

Cellulite affects most of the population, from women to men, and it is not restricted to fat people only.  The appearance of cellulite on the skin is due to the fat deposits under the skin pushing through the connective tissue which sits just below the skin.  For some people, these layers lie flat and do not cause any problems, but for other people it causes dimpled skin which has also been referred to as orange peel skin or cottage cheese skin.

Cellulite is most common in women, with 80% to 90% of women fighting for smoother legs.  Fewer men have cellulite; however it is not entirely uncommon for men to have cellulite.  It does not matter if an individual is fit, lean, and toned – cellulite can appear on anyone because everyone has a layer of fat between their muscles and their skin.

With cellulite affecting such a large majority of the population, it is no surprise that so many people are willing to try out the latest cellulite elimination cream, wrap, or rub and that new products are constantly being developed and sold to the desperate individuals.

Foam rollers have recently gained a lot of popularity in the health and fitness industry and now they’re grabbing the attention of anyone, and everyone, looking to reduce the appearance of their cellulite.

People have developed a theory that foam rolling the quads, hamstrings, and glutes will successfully eliminate cellulite and create a beautifully smooth surface layer of skin.  But is it too good to be true?

Foam rolling is great for the muscles and can be used to relieve muscle tension and speed up recovery after a workout.  The idea that it will eliminate cellulite is a bit of a stretch for this new miracle tool.  When foam rolling, the layer of skin becomes inflamed and blood flows to the targeted area.

This inflammation results in the skin puffing up and out to the outer most layer of the cellulite, therefore reducing the appearance of cellulite without doing anything to get rid of it.

This method is almost as effective as the hydration method.  Many people believe that staying hydrated reduces cellulite; however, the same rule applies as in the foam rolling example because the cells will hold onto the water and plump the skin up which will temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Foam rolling to get rid of cellulite is only a temporary fix and the skin is guaranteed to return to its former state soon after foam rolling.  To add to this, one must spend at least 30 minutes foam rolling one specific area in order to render obvious results.  This is a tiresome process with little reward.

Studies have proven that lymphatic massages, which are not far removed from standard foam rolling techniques, showed improvement in the appearance of cellulite over 10 sessions, with each session lasting 4 hours.

It is possible to reduce the appearance of cellulite by moving around a lot in a day, which encourages blood circulation and plumps up the skin, maintaining a healthy level of hydration, and foam rolling – but cellulite will always be present unless more severe steps are taken such as liposuction or surgery.

foam rolling celluliteFoam rolling is still an excellent tool for deep tissue massages and is effective when it comes to stretching and lengthening the muscles and the increasing interest in foam rollers will not cause any adverse effects if used properly, however, it is not the secret to getting rid of cellulite.


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One comment

  1. Proper lymphatic massage, like the technique used to reduce lymphedema, is very light and not at all like foam rolling. You are correct that neither reduces cellulite.

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