The Ultimate Guide to Lypossage: Body Contouring and Cellulite Massage Treatments
- July 20, 2018
- Posted by: claudine
- Category: Uncategorized
The Rise of Lypossage: Massage Therapy for Cellulite and Body Contouring
No matter your age, gender, or current level of fitness, it’s undeniable that maintaining a healthy weight is important. Here in the United States, though, the statistics show that it’s easier said than done.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted in 2013-2014:
- More than 1 in 3 adults are overweight
- More than 1 in 3 adults are obese
- More than 2 in 3 adults are either overweight or obese
- About 8% of adults are “extremely” obese
- About 1 in 6 children (aged 2-19) are obese
To clarify the definition of each of these, the National Institute of Health defines normal weight as having a BMI (body mass index) of 18.5 to 24.9, overweight as a BMI of 25 to 29.9, obese as a BMI from 30-39.9, and extremely obese as a BMI of more than 40. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider children to be overweight if they’re at or above the 85th percentile of the CDC growth charts, and obese if they’re at or above the 95th percentile.
So, what’s the bottom line? More than 70% of the adult population in the United States is either overweight or obese. This means that a large number of massage clients suffer from excess bodyweight, something that can impact not only a person’s health but also their self-image, confidence, and overall mood.
When we think about the health issues that massage is capable of addressing, some of the things that come to mind include acute injuries, chronic muscle pain, structural problems, and so on. Typically, though, we don’t think of massage as a tool for weight loss or body contouring. You might therefore be surprised to hear about something called lypossage, a massage technique dedicated to reshaping the body, addressing cellulite, and reducing excess fat.
For many, the idea that massage therapy could actually have an impact on the physical appearance of the body might sound too good to be true. The proponents of lypossage, however, claim that it can do just that.
So, what exactly is lypossage? Does it have a place in your massage practice? If you’ve recently graduated from a massage program, you might not be familiar with lypossage. It’s not always included as a topic in massage school. And if you’re studying to take the MBLEx exam, it may not appear as part of your MBLEx test prep in 2018. As lypossage increases in popularity, though, the odds that clients will ask you about it are increasing. It’s therefore important to be informed about what lypossage is and how it works. Even if you don’t opt to include it as part of your massage practice, you’ll then be in a good position to offer your clients an informed and knowledgeable response if they ask you about lypossage.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at all of the basics when it comes to lypossage and body contouring. Below, we’ll cover:
- What cellulite is
- The definition of lypossage
- The creation and evolution of lypossage
- The lypossage protocol
- Potential benefits and limitations of lypossage
Ready to learn more about lypossage? Let’s get started.
What Is Cellulite?
Before we jump into a discussion of lypossage, it’s worth taking a moment to consider what exactly cellulite is. When people seek out lypossage, it’s often to address this stubborn cosmetic issue.
Our understanding of what cellulite is and what causes it has evolved somewhat over the years. Nowadays, cellulite is commonly understood to be a result of the stretching of fibrous bands underneath the skin. This stretching is what results in the dimple-like appearance of cellulite on the skin’s surface. As excess fat is able to press against the skin thanks to the stretched and uneven connective tissues, the resulting dimpling associated with cellulite becomes even more exaggerated in appearance.
The amount and specific appearance of cellulite on an individual is likely influenced by other factors besides weight and body fat content however. These other factors include things like a person’s age, the thickness of their skin, their genetics, and even their gender. There seems to be some agreement amongst researchers that connective tissue is largely governed by the presence, absence, and integrity of collagen, which in turn is dependent upon the amount of estrogen in the body. This then explains why cellulite is fairly uncommon in men, while it shows up in roughly 85% of women.
It’s not just the presence of estrogen in the female body that contributes to this, though: women also tend to have a collagen fiber network that’s less structurally sound than that of men. Consider the role of estrogen too in breaking down collagen in the cervix, thus allowing women to successfully give birth to an infant. Without the ability to break down collagen in a hurry, birth would be an impossibility. And considering that cellulite formation is a direct result of collagen breakdown, it’s easy to see why so many women can suffer from the appearance of cellulite on the skin surface.
It’s worth reiterating that excess weight is not the only contributing factor when it comes to cellulite formation. There are indeed many women who are at a healthy weight, but who still present with cellulite. Weight loss alone is thus oftentimes not enough to eliminate cellulite in an individual. And, sometimes, weight loss does very little to even reduce the appearance of cellulite.
What Is Lypossage?
While people commonly turn to skin creams and other products to address the presence of cellulite, many of these so-called remedies are ineffective. But what if there were a way to address and reduce the appearance of cellulite using massage therapy?
“Lypo,” more commonly written as “lipo,” is the Latin prefix meaning “fat.” We see it show up in the word “lipid,” a common term used in biology to refer to fats in the body. Many people are also familiar with the concept of “liposuction,” which involves the surgical removal of excess fat from the body.
Lypossage, then, is a massage technique designed to reduce the presence and appearance of body fat by addressing the body’s lymphatic system, circulatory system, muscle tone, skin tone, and more.
Lypossage: Creation and Evolution
We’ll look at how proponents of lypossage claim it works when we talk about the lypossage protocol below. First, though, let’s consider the creation and evolution of lypossage as a technique.
The personal generally credited with inventing and developing lypossage is Charles W. Wilstie III, B.S., LMT. In 1999, Wiltsie conducted a yearlong study of 100 female subjects as a licensed massage therapist in the state of Connecticut. As part of the development of the technique and in carrying out the study, Wiltsie adapted techniques from physical therapy and massage to develop a practice focused on body contouring. His goal was to determine whether the right physical therapy and massage techniques — including myofascial release, deep tissue massage, skin rolling, lymphatic massage, and more — could result in the reduction of both inches and cellulite in women.
As part of his work, Wiltsie selected techniques focused on improving muscular tone, working the lymphatic system, and increasing health circulation. The results of his study were quite astounding at the time: 95% of the women involved lost a measurable amount of inches around the abdomen and thighs, including an average loss of 1.5” per thigh and 7” in total (spread across 5 target areas) per study subject.
Since then, a Belgian university study on subjects treated with lypossage has demonstrated a reduction in LDL cholesterol, body mass, and cellulite. Lypossage is now used throughout the world by professionals in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and Asia, as well as throughout the United States.
The Lypossage Protocol
So, how exactly does lypossage work?
Generally speaking, lypossage is approached through a protocol developed by Wiltsie. The idea behind the protocol is address the excessive amount of interstitial fluid and congestion that exists due to the formation of cellulite. It’s thought that this congestion occurs due to lack of proper capillary flow, which results in both inadequate blood flow and lymphatic flow.
Lypossage treatment is targeted at three specific zones on the body:
- Zone 1: the lower part of the body, including the thighs, buttocks, lower abdomen, and hips. Lypossage in this area is intended to reduce inches, improve muscle and skin tone, and properly drain the lymphatic system.
- Zone 2: the back, chest, neck, upper abdomen, and arms. Again, the expected outcome of lypossage in this zone is inch reduction and improved lymphatic low.
- Zone 3: the head, face, and neck. Lypossage to this zone is generally aimed at improving the tone and appearance of the tissues.
Given the similar outcomes expected for treatment directed at zones 1 and 2, it makes sense that the therapeutic modalities used for these zones would also be similar. Techniques used for these zones include myofascial manipulation, compression, skin rolling, and more. Meanwhile, zone 3 techniques tend to incorporate deep tissue massage and a focus on lymphatic drainage around the neck and throat.
Lypossage: Benefits and Limitations
According to Wiltsie’s study and the results observed at the University of Ghent in Belgium, it would seem that lypossage is capable of delivering on some of its claims. Both of these studies would appear to indicate that lypossage can improve skin and muscle tone, reduce cellulite, cut down on the number of inches in a particular area (thus making a part of the body appear visibly slimmer), and even improve overall health markers such as LDL cholesterol.
However, it’s important to note that these studies were conducted over long periods of time. These are not overnight results. Whereas liposuction and other forms of surgical intervention can produce dramatic and near instantaneous results in the body, lypossage requires a significant amount of time in order to be effective. It must also be combined with a good diet, adequate water intake, a healthy amount of exercise, and all of the other things we’d typically associated with taking care of one’s health and wellbeing.
In other words, lypossage is not an overnight means of addressing excessive weight or cellulite, and it isn’t designed to work miracles. This makes sense when you think about it, of course. After all, it takes a significant amount of time for the body to accumulate additional weight, develop cellulite, lose muscle tone, and so on. It therefore takes a similar amount of time to gain muscle mass, lose weight, lower cholesterol, and more. This is true whether you’re talking about changes to one’s diet, the incorporation of a new exercise regimen into one’s daily routine, or the use of a technique such as lypossage to improve one’s appearance.
In any case, proponents of lypossage generally recommend approaching the modality as part of a holistic course of treatment. In other words, lypossage works best when combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and so on. The better care your take of your body, the more effective lypossage is likely to be.
MBLEx Test Prep in 2018
As we mentioned in the introduction to this article, lypossage doesn’t always show up as part of a standard course of massage education or in some MBLEx test prep courses. That said, understanding what lypossage is and how it works is still important if you want to offer your clients a knowledgeable take on the advantages and disadvantages of the modality.
If you’re a recent massage graduate who’s looking to study for and pass the MBLEx, however, look no further than Bamboo. We offer the best MBLEx test prep in 2018! Our practice tests are up to date with the new 2018 MBLEx requirements, and we offer pricing levels to meet any budget. Click here to learn more.