The cellulite struggle
Cellulite. The word that makes every girl FREAK out. Research suggests, no matter what body shape, size, height, ethnicity, nearly every woman has cellulite.
Before I get started, it is important to know that I am speaking from my experience as a Physiotherapist, an athlete and research I have read. I was inspired by a lady named Ashley Black and I will be speaking about the research she has discovered, as well as my own.
I am NOT an expert on cellulite nor fascia. The reason I wanted to share this is because I have struggled with poor fascia health. I was previously a Triathlete, exercising twice a day and as a result, I put my soft tissues under a lot of stress. In addition, I had several cycling crashes landing on my hips. I needed stitches in one side and had scars from hip surgery. This caused a build-up of scar tissue and repeated damage to my fascia. Over time, the fascia quality got worse and I am still working on it daily to improve it. The reason I wanted to research cellulite was because I noticed dimples and dents around my scarring on my hips. I freaked out, thinking it was all “fat” and “cellulite” until the Physio explained it was poor fascia health due to trauma my soft tissues had sustained.
Girl, you will read this and be amazed. I was!
So what is cellulite?
Most women think that cellulite is just fat. One online definition is “the herniation of subcutaneous fat, within fibrous connective tissue that manifests topographically as skin dimpling”. Subcutaneous simply means, below the skin. Approximately up to 90% of females get “cellulite” at some stage in their lives.
Cellulite is a common topic amongst women, often a negative one and I wanted to shed some light on it. I have done some reading and wanted to share some insightful evidence to suggest that cellulite is not just fat. That orange peel look you see when you push on your thigh or look in the mirror. That Girl, is poor FASCIA health.
What is fascia?
Many girls don’t know what fascia is. What we don’t know is MOST of the time, cellulite is related to poor fascia health. There are other factors that contribute to cellulite which I will discuss too.
Fascia is not spoken about enough. It is understudied and definitely misunderstood. It is one of the most important systems in the body, running in strips, in and around the spine and throughout our body. It is one continuous network, allowing your muscles and organs to glide smoothly against each other.
Fascia plays an integral role in how we move. From your head to your toe girl, you have an interwoven system of fibrous connective tissue. It supports and provides protection for individual muscle groups and organs. Ashley Black (fascia guru) explains that fascia is like the rind of an orange. Your skin is the outer layer of the orange peel and the thick, white layer that lies directly under the peel, is like your fascia. The layer of fascia directly under your skin, creates a protective barrier between the skin and soft tissues underneath.
Fascia can affect our biomechanics. Fascia tightens and constricts when there are structural imbalances in our body. It acts as a protective sheath by supporting our musculoskeletal system and enables us to perform functional activities.
So what is cellulite and how does this relate to fascia? Can fit women have it?
Women who are fit can STILL have this issue. Any woman, regardless of size and shape can have poor fascia health.
Cellulite & fascia
Cellulite is not simply a “fat issue”, it is largely caused by distortions in your connective tissue and poor fascia health. Think about chewing gym on the road that goes hard and stretches in every direction. When fascia has adhesions, it pulls the skin inwards and fat pushes through the fascia. This is why you will see dimples, dents, “orange peel” skin.
Pain & fascia
Fascial adhesions and distortions can interrupt blood flow, nerve impulses and limit flexibility. When there are distortions in the fascia it can cause tightness and discomfort. Many people can have fascial tension in one area of their body and it can affect adjacent tissues, i.e. plantar fasciitis in the foot and IT Band Syndrome in the leg.
Circulatory system & fascia
Fascia plays a fundamental part in improving your circulatory system. Our veins and arteries run through the fascia and if it is tight or has adhesions, it can cause a restriction. For example, if you have a kink in the garden hose, the water flow is restricted. As a result, this leads to poor blood flow and therefore, less oxygen and nutrients get delivered to your cells. This is why you may have heard that to help improve “cellulite”, you need to improve blood flow to that area.
Skin & Fascia
Our skin can be affected by our fascia. Elastin and collagen are two proteins in our body which generate and maintain healthy skin. Nutrients are delivered via the blood, to the skin and when we have fascial adhesions, it can limit the supply of these proteins, therefore, limiting cell turnover. As a result, we struggle to keep that healthy, natural glow we all strive for.
We all spend hours putting products on our skin, however, it is what is going on inside and what we put IN our bodies that will determine the health of our skin.
Nerves & fascia
Fascia can constrict nerves, blocking off signals. For example, if fascia is tight around your abdominal and thoracic region, it can affect your breathing. For this reason, many people breathe from their upper chest, causing breathing pattern disorders. This is also linked to anxiety.
Can I restore and improve my fascia?
YES. It is the BEST news. Fascia is malleable and it can be restored. Adhesions can form and they can also be released.
In my next blog, I will speak about the different fascial phases and HOW we restore our fascia to get that smooth skin we are all wanting. I personally, have seen HUGE improvements. Be patient and know that you are NOT alone Girl. Taking care of my fascia has completely taken away the numbness, poor circulation (cold sensation), hypersensitivity (sensitive to touch) and very visible areas of fascial adhesions along my hips and scars. I look forward to sharing the next blog on HOW to look after YOUR fascia.
7 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR
1. Proper nutrition- what goes in will most definitely be reflected on the outside.
2. Hydration- absolutely essential! The appearance of our skin and our fascia health relies on lots of water.
3. Correcting your posture- the way you hold yourself can improve your fascia. If you sit at work in a hunched position, your fascia will not be happy.
4. Stretching- this is fundamental! Stretching improves movement and reduces muscle tension, allowing adequate blood flow.
5. Regular exercise and resistance training
6. Sauna, steam room, hot baths and massage
7. Exfoliating, dry brushing, fascia blasting (Hey Girl, get excited! I will be teaching you this!)