How To Treat Cellulite With Gua Sha

Cellulite is something that plagues many of us at some point in our lives. Although it’s completely natural and very common, it’s also quite common to want to see it magically disappear! There are many creams and simple lymphatic tools on the market that promise such a magic, but in my experience, it’s never been that easy. Let’s dive deeper into what cellulite is and the real reason you’re not seeing results with creams or a simple lymphatic drainage protocol. 


Cellulite is the dimpled and lumpy skin often found on the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. It occurs when fat deposits push through the connective tissue beneath the skin. How does this happen? Let’s start from the beginning; we are all born with a certain number of fat cells, and that will never change (unless you get liposuction or fat lysing procedures, in which they physically remove some of those fat cells). But besides that, we are stuck with the same fat cells we had as “smooth skinned” teenagers, the difference is that as we get older, we accumulate more toxins from our environment, diet, stress levels, emotions, etc. In a nutshell, these toxins start to fill and expand our fat cells. As the fat cells expand, the fascia of the body starts to get harder and stickier as our toxic load increases. When this happens, the fascia also starts to trap water under the skin at the same time. What you end up with is fat and water "stuck" in the tissue. 

FYI on Fascia: Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds your organs, muscles, and fat and is what gives our body movement, flexibility, shape, and posture. These fibers can become stiff, hard and sticky from stress, toxic accumulation from food, immobility, emotions, trauma, and mineral depletion. As mentioned before, when these fibers become stiff, and as the fat cells continue to expand, you’ll start to see that “dimpling” effect as the expanded fat cells bulge out of the already constricted fascia interwoven within the body. 


If you’re familiar with facial gua sha, you know that it helps depuff and detoxify your face by moving stuck fascia and stagnant lymph through your lymphatic system. Similarly, using gua sha on your body can help the appearance of cellulite and improve skin texture over time by stimulating circulation, releasing fascial adhesions, and promoting lymphatic drainage.

Repetitive deep pressure movements with a Gua Sha tool can help break up and release tight fascia first, this will help release water and toxins that are being held by the connective tissue fibers. After the fascia fibers have been released, and the fluids under the skin have been mobilized, you can use light pressure and long strokes up the body to drain and detox that area. When you free your fascia, everything in the body just flows better and the lymphatic system will work more efficiently to carry out waste products. This results in smoother, firmer-looking skin. 

In conjunction with using your gua sha stone to reduce the appearance of cellulite, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water every day and incorporate some foam rolling, stretching, and exercise (I like to do squats and lunges with weights!). I would also recommend cutting out refined sugars, GMO foods, and processed foods. 


If you’re doing gua sha on your body, particularly in areas with cellulite, for the first time, please do it at least 2 weeks before you need to show some skin. Even if you’re not prone to bruising, when the fascia is dry and tight (from lack of circulation, tension, emotions, toxins, etc) it becomes very stiff so ANY kind of manipulation will break some blood vessels at first. With regular use, you shouldn’t see as much bruising as your skin and tissue will become stronger, more flexible, and healthier in general. 


Your tool: When doing gua sha on my body, I exclusively use the Beauty Shamans Body Gua Sha Tool. I highly recommend this tool because it allows you to have a good grip, it’s bigger so it covers more surface area, and its teeth and horns allow you to really stimulate the different contours of your body. The tool you use is ultimately up to you, but this tutorial will be based off of our tool.
















Frequency: It’s up to you how often you want to do this or how aggressively. The lymphatic drainage portion can be done daily, but I’d save the fascia massage for 1-3x a week depending on how your skin can tolerate it. For timing, 3-5 minutes on each “problem” area is a great start.

Position: You can do this sitting or standing up

If you only have a few minutes, watch these QUICK tutorials linked here. The full tutorial is linked below that where you can follow along with me as we move through this practice together.












Step 1: Oil --  Always use some kind of oil/lotion or moisturizer on the body first to allow the tool to glide well. 

Step 2: Break Up Tight Fascia -- Use gentle to medium pressure with the teeth or horns of the tool to release tight fascia in the buttock and legs. Make back and forth motions until the skin turns pink or you feel a warming sensation on the skin. 

Step 3: Release Fluid Buildup -- Turn the tool over and use the inner ridge with gentle pressure and make long gliding strokes moving from the distal part of your extremity toward the groin (or heart/center of the body).




This kind of practice has the following benefits: 

  • reduces the appearance of cellulite
  • smooths skin texture
  • de-bloats the legs 
  • slims the legs
  • reduces pain or heaviness in the legs

This works by:

  • stimulating the lymphatic system
  • releasing tight fascia (which traps engorged fat cells and water under the skin)
  • releasing fluids and toxins
  • draining fluid retention from the legs and buttocks

Things to remember:

  • open the lymph system first (massage groin and behind the knees)
  • use the tool or your knuckles and vigorously massage in back and forth motions using medium pressure for a few minutes on each side (or until skin feels warm and/or appears "pink.")
  • If you are prone to bruising or spider veins, try foam rolling or manual massage instead; this will still release fascia but in a much gentler way
  • Use the flat side of the tool and drain fluid to the lymph nodes using gentle gliding long strokes (start knees to groin, then ankles to knees and back to groin).

Other things that help:

  • drink lots of water after this practice and throughout the day.
  • you can perform lymph drainage every day but reserve the fascia release to just 1-3x a week.
  • build the muscles in the legs to fill out the tissue; daily squats with weight is a good place to start
  • eat more proteins, greens, healthy fats, and probiotics.
  • reduce added sugars, conventional meats/fruits/vegetables as these contain toxic preservatives that the body has to filter out.
  • reduce caffeine intake to avoid adrenal fatigue (which puts stress on the body and stores fat).
  • sleep more so your body can go through more cellular repair.

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