Is Wood Therapy an Effective and Safe Method to Treat Cellulite?

Cellulite is a form of lipodystrophy, which is characterized by an abnormal distribution of fat. It is a common complaint, especially in women. Cellulite can make some people feel insecure about showing their legs.

Key takeaways:

The good news is that it's harmless. However, it can be challenging to treat and often recurs after treatment. Let's explore the benefits of wood therapy, and it's potential in the treatment of cellulite.

What is cellulite?

Cellulite is the bumpy, dimpled appearance of the skin, which commonly occurs on the thighs, hips, and buttocks. It occurs when the skin is pushed down by fibrous bands while fat collections herniate upwards and lodge between the bands—giving the skin the uneven appearance of an orange peel. Fortunately, cellulite is harmless and only needs treatment for cosmetic reasons.

Who is at risk for developing cellulite?

Since cellulite is mostly determined by genetic factors, many people are predisposed to developing it. However, there are some risk factors.

  • Older women. Many older women experience cellulite to some extent;
  • Thinner skin. Women tend to have thinner skin, making it easier to see the cellulite compared to men;
  • Hormones. Given the predilection for women, cellulite may also be related to hormones;
  • Weight. Being overweight makes it easier to see cellulite. However, since it is also determined by genetics, even thin, fit people may have cellulite;
  • Poor diet and exercise. Unhealthy lifestyle habits are a risk factor for developing cellulite.

What is wood therapy?

Wood therapy is a massage technique utilizing wooden tools to break down fat and fibrous bands that originated in Asia centuries ago. The wooden tools used for wood therapy come in various shapes and sizes, such as those shaped like rolling pins or bells. Wood therapy is based on the principles of deep tissue massage to exert its benefits.

Does wood therapy work for cellulite?

There are no clinical studies on wood therapy for cellulite. However, there is some evidence that deep massage can help cellulite. Massage may break up fat cells and fibrous bands and increase lymphatic drainage and blood flow, which improves the appearance of cellulite. There may even be fibroblast activation to increase collagen production and thicken the skin. Thicker skin makes cellulite less apparent.

Massage may decrease the production of fat cells. Unfortunately, the results of wood therapy and massage are temporary and require continued treatments to maintain the achieved results.

Are there side effects to wood therapy?

Always discuss new treatments with your doctor first to ensure they are safe and right for you. Wood therapy is usually safe if performed by a trained professional. It should not be painful, but it may feel uncomfortable. Some side effects include:

  • Pain. Usually associated with an inexperienced massage therapist using too much force on tender areas of the body;
  • Bruising. It's sometimes possible to see bruising after wood therapy.
  • Redness. As more blood rushes to the surface of the skin, you may notice redness—which will be temporary.
  • Swelling. You may notice some temporary swelling. It should go down within 24 hours.

Are there other treatment options for cellulite?

If wood therapy doesn't give you the results you want, or you are looking for a more permanent fix for your cellulite, your dermatologist can provide other treatment options. Here are some other options to discuss with your doctor:

  • Subcision;
  • Radiofrequency treatments;
  • Laser;
  • Creams with caffeine or retinoids;
  • Acoustic wave therapy.

Cellulite is a common, harmless condition that gives the legs a bumpy, uneven appearance. Wood therapy, which is based on the principles of deep massage, may help temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite. It is best to discuss this with your doctor before starting wood therapy.


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