Cellulite can be characterized by a state in which the cells of the subcutaneeous fatty layer under the skin are invaded by toxic lymph. Combined with a poor circulation of the blood and a sluggish lymphatic system resulting from a sedentary lifestyle and you have the formula for the development of cellulite.
DEVELOPMENT OF CELLULITE
There are a number of changes that occur when cellulite develops:
* The capillaries become greatly enlarged, and blood plasma seeps out into the surrounding fatty tissues.
* The fat cells become ‘squashed’ and bunch up together – this forms the characteristic ‘orange-peel’ effect.
* The lymph nodes, part of the lymphatic system that drains toxins out of the body, cannot cope and the excess plasma remains in the cells.
* The walls of the fat cells become thickened by extra deposits of collagen, resulting in thinner and weakened connective tissue.
What we see from the outside is the familiar mattress phenomenon, the pitting and bulging most commonly seen on the buttocks, thighs and upper arms. The presence of cellulite has nothing to do with overweight – you can be anorexic and still have cellulite – I recently saw an anorexic girl of 22 years in clinical practice that had the worst type of cellulite that I have ever seen.
WHY DOES CELLULITE DEVELOP?
When one thinks how the body works holistically, one cannot help but conclude that the presentation of various symptoms are really the body’s way of maintaining balance and protecting itself from further damage. Cellulite can also be placed into this model – the toxins that the body cannot detoxify need to be pushed to a location where they do the least harm to body tissues and organs. They are therefore sent to the fatty cells where they do less harm than being trapped in the liver, kidneys, arteries, etc.
Men never get cellulite as the triggering factor is oestrogen, which is present in far greater amounts in a woman’s body. The more eostrogen in a woman’s body, the more likely she will get cellulite. Perhaps one of the reason for the increasing prevalence of cellulite in today’s women is due to the excessive oestrogen-like compounds that they obtain from pesticides, hormones fed to animals, preservatives and colourings, as well as pharmaceutical drugs (the contraceptive pill and HRT are notoriou examples) – all this leads to a situation known as ‘oestrogen dominance’ and is well-researched. The danger times for developing cellulite are at puberty, pregnancy and the menopause, the times of greatest hormonal fluctuations.
The main toxins responsible for the development of cellulite would include tea, coffee, alcohol, non-organic red meats, high levels of non-organic saturated animal fats, excessive dairy consumption, white sugar and flour products (or other refined products), smoking (including passive smoking), additives, artificial colours and emulsifying chemicals. Rapid weight loss can accentuate the appearance of Cellulite if the skin and connective tissue remains slack. I have seen many constipated women with cellulite – chronic constipation puts a huge toxic load on the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system.
I have been treating cellulite for a number of years now, with a good measure of success exceeding 80-85%. The treatment programme consists of a number of elements that include a systemic (all-body) detoxification diet accompanied by skin brushing, herbal and homeopathic drainage remedies, nutritional supplements, and massage using aromotherapy oils – Vodder Lymphatic Drainage is often useful too.
Dr. GEORGIOU’S CELLULITE TREATMENT PROGRAMME
At the Natural Therapy Center in Cyprus where I am the Director, I fully assess the patient using a number of tools that I use such as Iridology, VEGA Allergy Testing, Live Blood Analysis using a Darkfield microscope, Biological Terrain Analysis, Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging, Autonomic Response Testing, Heart Rate Variability as well as taking an extensive history. As each case is different, some being worse than others, and each person has their own biochemical individuality, there is no ‘standard’ therapy that can be applied to all cellulite cases. Each person will have different loads of toxins in different organ systems; each person will ‘accept’ certain essential oils, herbs, homeopathics, nutritional supplements that need to be tested to determine whether the body accepts them and will be effective, etc. The abovenamed testing protocol accumulates all this information, and more. There are obviously cases where extensive testing is not required and a simpler approach often works, but the important thing is that each person is different and needs to be approached as a unique individual.
Once the assessments are completed, the woman is placed on a detoxification diet. The brief details are as follows:
In order to get to the root of the cellulite problem which is toxic deposits in fat cells, it is important to undergo a systemic or all-body detoxification, as fat cells are present in every square inch of your body. One of the best ways of doing just this is to follow an alkaline detoxification diet for 15 days. What does this consist of? For two weeks it is important to cut out all other foods apart from the following:
* Salads, all types with fresh, preferably organic vegetables, with extra virgin olive oil and cider vinegar or lemon juice
* Steamed vegetables (preferably organic) with olive oil and cider vinegar or lemon juice. jacket potatoes with olive oil, as well as grilled vegetables such as mushrooms.
* Freshly made vegetable and fruit juices such as carrot, beetroot, green vegetables (corrander is very detoxifying), apple. One can mix carrot juice, beetroot juice, green juice and a small apple if you want to sweeten it. You could also make ‘Spirulina Smoothies’ using the juice of your choice in a blender, add a fruit of your choice, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of Spirulina powder and blend for a minute. This is extremely detoxifying and oxygenating for the body.
* Vegetable soups – freshly made with organic vegetables.
* Plenty of non-gaseous mineral water – at least 1 1/2 – 2 litres daily.
You can eat as much as you like, whenever you like. Usually at this stage are added the nutritional supplements to help alleviate nutritional deficiencies which are commonly found in most cases, herbal and homeopathic drainage remedies, and whatever else is required depending on other ailments that may be presented during the history. It is important to state AGAIN that all these remedies are tested individually to detemine whether the client ‘accepts’ them and if they are effective for them. This can be done with the VEGA biodermal screening, or by the use of muscle testing or Autonomic Response Testing.
Taking some vitamin C and Milk Thistle will help the liver further detoxify.
While you are continuing with the abovementioned detoxification diet, it is very important to conduct skin brushing every morning and evening. Concentrate on the areas with the worse cellulite. Simply get a brush (a natural fibre brush with a long wooden handle is best) and brush from the waist down to the knee, from the ankles up to the knee, etc. Do this for at least two minutes morning and evening before you shower. If you want to determine how many toxins are being released, simply wipe your skin-brushed skin towards the end of a session with a flannel and hang it up. Do this for 10 days using the same unwashed flannel and you will not be able to get near the flannel from the stench!
DRY SKIN BRUSHING
Use a large flat brush, with fairly stiff bristles, and brush in the direction of lymph flow, toward the next group of lymph nodes. Start at the ankles, using gentle, fan-like movements and work up to the thighs and beyond the bottom if necessary. Remember that lymph drainage relies on very light pressure…brush gently. Practice this daily before bathing or showering and it will become a daily habit. Dry skin brushing should improve the texture and appearance of the skin. However, used alone, it is unlikely to reduce the volume of cellulite. So follow the dry brushing by applying a botanical anti-cellulite gel or an aromatherapy mixture that stimulates the release of fat.
Dry skin brushing removes the dead layers of skin and other impurities, allowing the pores to eliminate without obstruction. The technique also stimulates circulation so that the blood can nourish the tissues, as well as effectively removing wastes. It is also an excellent way of clearing and stimulating the lymphatic system.
The use of the appropriate essential oils in baths, infusions, or as part of a massage treatment such as Vodder Lymphatic Drainage, is a vital part of a cellulite treatment program. The aromatherapists that I work with tend to use the following essential oils in their protocol: Cypress, Lavender, Juniper berry, Clary Sage. Some others would also include Rosemary, Marjoram, Geranium, Black Pepper and Lemongrass oils – these are all beneficial in eliminating toxins and preventing fluid retention. They can be applied directly in a preblended base oil, added to bath water or infused into cool herbal or seaweed wraps to assist in treating cellulite.
There are a number of herbal remedies that I use – specially mixed in my herbal pharmacy, depending on the needs of the individual client, as determined by specific testing. Some of the herbs that I use are as follows:
This herb is ideal in the treatment of Cellulite because it enhances the structure of the connective tissue surrounding fat chambers and by the same action improves the circulation of blood. Gotu Kola works to strengthen connective tissues by stimulating the body’s production of the ground substance that keeps collagen fibres locked firmly in place. Gotu Kola is one of the few herbs that have been investigated specifically as a treatment for Cellulite. A three-month study involving 65 people with Cellulite resulted in 58 percent of participants reporting ‘very good’ results and a ‘satisfactory’ outcome for a further 20 percent. Gotu Kola has also been extensively investigated as a treatment for varicose veins and venous insufficiency (reduced blood flow), with excellent results.
The active component of this odd sounding herb is called Aescin which is useful for decreasing the number and size of small pores on the capillary walls. By doing this it improves the flow of blood. The herb also helps by reducing inflammation and fluid build-up.
GRAPE SEED EXTRACT
Another dual-action nutrient, Grape seed extract supports connective tissue by reinforcing the cross-linking structure of collagen. It is also a powerful antioxidant and improves the lifespan of Vitamin C, which is itself important to the health of the connective tissue. Like Gotu Kola, Grape seed extract helps maintain the strength and elasticity of the blood vessels for healthy circulation.
Other herbal remedies can be used specifically for kidney, liver and lymphatic drainage depending on each individual case.
As well as taking the herbs, nutrients and oils mentioned, it is strongly recommended that some basic lifestyle issues are addressed. To reduce the appearance of Cellulite and prevent it returning you should combine dietary supplements with:
* A balanced diet that suits the individual’s Metabolic Type based upon the work of Wolcott in his book The Metabolic Type Diet. This can also be combined with Dr. D’Adamo’s Blood Group Diet.
* Freshly squeezed vegetable or fruit juices and water drunk often.
* Physical activity such as walking, cycling, swimming or aerobics for at least 30 minutes to one hour, three or more times per week. This is required to begin burning the fat liberated by better circulation.
* Regular massage of the affected area with hand or brush. Note: always massage towards the heart.
Restoring strength to the connective tissues and circulation with the help of the natural substances mentioned, while removing stubborn fat with sensible dieting and exercise can lead to smoother, more well-toned skin.
* Taking a number of nutritional supplements and herbal remedies such as:
1. Optimum 6 – multivitamin formula – high strength with a mixture of other herbal remedies – 2 caps x 3 daily.
2. Extension Phytonutrients – a formula of antioxidant phytonutrients to mop-up free radicals and prevent further damage.
3. Use natural deodorants such as “Stay Fresh” or “Stay Cool” as well as “Body Comfort ‘No Scent’ Body Lotion,” “Fennel Herbal Toothpaste” and “Fennel Mouthwash” – these are all excellent products by “Green People, UK” that I personally use – I have found no better to date.
4. If you want to tone muscle while losing fat there is only one product that I have found and used extensively with excellent results. It is called “Collagen Nite Loss” – this fat trimmer and muscle toner can actually shave-off upto 5-6 cm in one month – this is a reduction of one size of clothing, something that is noticeable to all!
Generally, most of my clients see benefits after 2-3 weeks, but it usually takes around eight weeks for the connective tissues to begin regaining their strength and shape. I usually say that within a period of 3 months with the treatment protocol followed correctly, even the most stubborn cellulite that is a couple of decades old will shift successfully. The beauty of this holistic approach is that there are also many positive side-effects or benefits.
By Dr. George J Georgiou, Ph.D.,N.D.,D.Sc (A.M)
Natural Medicine Practitioner