- Cellulite is more common in women than men and is more noticeable in those who are overweight.
- Many cellulite treatments have been investigated clinically, including endermologie lipomassage, acoustic wave therapy and laser treatments.
- Medical studies generally show inconsistent results for the success of endermologie treatments.
According to The American Academy of Dermatology, cellulite is the body’s way of storing excess fat to ensure women have enough energy reserves during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Connective tissue is oriented in a crisscross manner, which is why this type of fat shows up in irregular, distinct lumps.
Unfortunately, it’s a type of fat that lingers for life once it’s formed. For the multitude of women (and about 10% of men) who detest the orange-peel, cottage cheese look caused by cellulite, there are a number of treatments available to help reduce its appearance. One such treatment is endermologie lipomassage. However, not all treatments are created equal. Let’s find out how endermologie lipomassage stacks up.
What Is Endermologie Lipomassage?
Endermologie lipomassage uses a type of roller massage therapy combined with suction to allegedly break up the pockets of fat that cause cellulite. The goal is to eliminate cellulite by redistributing the fat to achieve a smoother appearance.
Sessions typically last between 30-45 minutes and results can be seen after 6-8 sessions. From there, ongoing sessions – either once or twice monthly – are usually recommended to maintain results. There are no side effects associated with this noninvasive procedure.
While endermologie is the only non-surgical procedure approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cellulite treatment, its long-term effectiveness remains to be proven.
Endermologie lipomassage claims to:
- Reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Aid in body contouring to make legs appear slimmer.
- Get rid of stubborn fat.
- Improve lymphatic drainage, thereby eliminating metabolic toxins from the tissues while increasing oxygen and available nutrients to help shrink fat cells.
How Does It Work?
Endermologie lipomassage can be used on the body wherever fat cells accumulate and cellulite forms, which is most typically on the thighs or legs but also on the stomach, buttocks or under the arms.
During a session, a device consisting of two motorized rollers with controlled suction is displaced systematically across the skin. The treatment allegedly lifts, kneads and stretches underlying tissue with a deep, firm massage technique called lipomassage.
The massaging action of the rollers supposedly reaches the body’s deep tissues where it stimulates the metabolism of fat cells and connective tissue. Pockets of trapped fat responsible for the formation of cellulite are broken up while the fibrosis or scarring that has formed in the connective tissue around the fat cells soften, resulting in an overall smoothing of the skin.
Far from painful, the massaging action itself can be somewhat pleasurable. Many people who receive this treatment even claim that it relieves stress and find it very relaxing. In fact, the treatment is available at many spas as this noninvasive procedure does not need to be administered by a doctor.
How Much Does It Cost?
While costs for the procedure can vary, it is generally considered to be one of the least expensive cellulite treatments on the market. A session that lasts between 30-45 minutes generally costs between $60 and $80 USD. This makes it an affordable alternative to subcision treatments such as Cellulaze and Cellfina, which cost several thousands of dollars.
What Does the Research Say?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), while the FDA has approved this treatment and considers it harmless, it does not explicitly state that it is effective.
Ever since this treatment was first introduced in the 1990s, extensive studies have been conducted to determine its efficacy.
A 2009 study shed doubt on previous claims of efficacy for this treatment. In this experiment, 33 healthy women were administered endermologie lipomassage twice a week for a total of 15 sessions. Although every patient experienced significant circumference loss at each body site measured, only 5 women showed improvement in cellulite appearance. The study concluded that the treatment was only “mildly effective” in reducing the overall appearance of cellulite.
In 2013, a similar study deemed the technique “well-tolerated and effective.” At the end of 15 sessions conducted biweekly, 117 out of 118 patients (99%) showed a loss in body circumference measurements. Weight loss was detected in 87% of patients.
The bottom line, the AAD says, is that study results vary. Medical experts remain unsure on whether it works to reduce the appearance of cellulite or assist with weight loss and reduction of body fat. Many of the past studies on endermologie lipomassage were conducted in very small patient samples and when patients did see results, they were often short-lived.
Medical experts at the Mayo Clinic caution patients that while they might see slight improvements in their skin’s appearance with this technique, the results are likely to be temporary. A more effective, less expensive solution may be to lose weight and exercise.
Can Other Treatments Cut Down Cellulite?
Acoustic wave therapy, vacuum-assisted subcision, and certain laser treatments offer the best results for cellulite removal, according to many research studies – and the AAD agrees.
In acoustic wave therapy, a handheld device emits sound waves that break up cellulite. It’s important to note, however, that several treatments are needed to achieve results. A recent study followed 30 women presenting moderate or severe cellulite who underwent 12 sessions over six weeks. It concluded that AWT is a safe treatment to improve cellulite appearance and reduce body circumference.
Cellfina, a vaccum-assisted subcision technique, is considered by many doctors as “the only cellulite treatment that works.” This 2015 study published by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery confirms “the safety, efficacy, and subject satisfaction with vacuum-assisted precise tissue release in the treatment of cellulite.” It also states that patients see no reduction in treatment benefits for up to 1 year, thus supporting the FDA’s clearance of the device.
A minimally invasive laser treatment called Cellulaze has also helped reduce cellulite’s appearance in many patients. The laser energy penetrates the skin and breaks up the tough fat bands that form cellulite. According to an independent study published in 2017, a prospective review of 25 female subjects’ results showed mild improvement in cellulite severity at 6 months and 2 years.
In short, study results from these three treatments appear to be more consistently positive when compared with the relatively spotty outcomes seen with endermologie lipomassage.