Acupuncture for cellulite: Reality or Fiction? Real Facts from Real Experts

When I was doing research on acupuncture for cellulite there was a lot of misinformation and most articles lacked specificity for my knowledge-appetite. Does acupuncture really help with cellulite? Is there even a specific acupuncture treatment for the condition? Is it alone enough to minimize the dimples?

I had a lot more questions that weren’t answered, but now I’m proud to say that this article covers all of the most important information you absolutely NEED to know.

Chinese woman doing acupuncture

What is Acupuncture for cellulite

Acupuncture consists of very thin needles being placed in very specific places of your body. It’s an ancient technique that was used to cure a great variety of diseases, conditions, injuries, and more. The spectrum reaches from migraine-relief to wrinkle reduction.

The treatment has stood the test of time with many people raving about its results (including Megan Markle). The original, ancient Chinese theory of acupuncture goes back to the “Qui” or “life-energy” being out of a balance. The cause can be excess fat, stress, a weak immune system, and countless other things.

Acupuncture allows for your bodily energy to flow correctly again. Your blood flows as it should and nutrients are transported to the right places. Different nervous systems also benefit.

Not All Acupuncture Is The Same

There is an important distinction to make between acupuncture techniques. What kind of acupuncture is best depends on your goals. The most commonly practiced acupuncture treatments are designed to release tension, relax muscles, and relieve headaches. There’s Chinese, Japanese, and even Korean acupuncture. I’ll focus on the one specifically meant for cellulite.

And that is a sub-category called cosmetic acupuncture. It is not quite as well known as the general practice. Cosmetic acupuncture focuses on improving the skin’s health and appearance.

It uses different techniques and elements and has been successfully used to treat wrinkles, to make skin be more vibrant, tone muscles, acne, and more. The needles are often used in combination with heat and electrical stimulation to get the most out of each session.

Cosmetic acupuncture helps cellulite. Regular acupuncture doesn’t (maybe as a side-effect). That’s an important distinction that many people are not aware of.

Cosmetic Acupuncture For Cellulite

Does it really work?

Yes. It has helped many women reduce the wrinkles and dimples on the back of their thighs, belly, and even on their arms. Whether it will reduce your cellulite by 30%, 50% or 70% depends on many different factors like your lifestyle, diet, age, the level of cellulite, how long you’ve had it, and more.

Many people come to acupuncture after having tried a good number of expensive cosmetic treatments and even surgeries (especially for wrinkle reduction) that ultimately left them empty-handed.

Most people that have given then treatment enough time showcase its full effect are happy with the results. They can even last up to a year or more. The people that are not happy with the results either did not find an experienced practitioner only received general acupuncture or had unrealistic expectations for the treatment.

I’ll make sure you know everything to avoid these traps and get your cellulite to needle away.

Acupuncture for cellulite on belly

What are reasonable expectations for acupuncture for cellulite?

“100% Gone” – bullsh*t. That is NOT a realistic expectation. Cellulite can be improved, but it can’t disappear forever. Even if you are young, there is no complete cure because the body constantly changes and evolves.

What you SHOULD expect is some noticeable reduction of the orange peel. There are many cases of women who have seen their cellulite improved by something in between 30% and 50%.

I don’t think that 70% is an expectation you should have because it’s not the general norm. It happens, but it’s a lot rarer and less likely to happen the older you get.

How long will it take to see results and how long do they last?

After I spoke to a good number of specialists (5 to be exact), the consensus seemed to be that it would usually take somewhere between 4 and 6 sessions until you see significant benefits from the needling.

Nonetheless, they all agreed on recommending 10 to 12 treatments in total. It varies a lot by the person because everyone’s body responds a little differently. Some might react or more strongly than other people.

The results can last up to 2 years – with maintenance session at least once a year (2 to 3 are much better and recommended to avoid regression).

How long does a treatment session last?

This varies a lot depending on how large the area is that you want to treat, and on how many there are. A ballpark estimate of how long you can expect it to take is somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes.

Often specialists will not be able to accurately tell how long a session will be until they have at least seen you in person.

How often do you need to receive acupuncture for cellulite?

Most protocols for acupuncture are of weekly or bi-weekly sessions. It’s in your hands and depends on how fast you want to reduce your cellulite – and also on how your body is responding.

Does it hurt?

Not really. It should definitely not hurt badly. Obviously, it depends on your pain tolerance, but what you will probably feel is a slight, dull ache, and maybe some tingling. Points at the extremities usually feel sharp, but tolerable. The vast majority of people that try it despite their fear, find themselves happy with how little it actually disturbs them.

What happens in your body?

Cellulite, in very simplified terms, is the accumulation of something in excess in your body. It’s not the only cause, but the accumulation of fat, toxins, and water plays a large role in the formation and grade of cellulite you experience. Muscle fiber conditions and the health of your skin are also influencers.

Cosmetic Acupuncture softens the cellulite with special needling techniques. Once softened, heat and further treatment guide the accumulations away and out of your body. Most patients have blockages in energy and blood flow – those blocked areas are removed by increasing the energy and blood flow.

Benefits of acupuncture include:

  • enhanced metabolism
  • enhanced blood flow
  • better lymphatic flow
  • driving out toxins
  • firmer skin

Acupuncture needles

The importance of the Practitioner

Your physician has by far the largest effect on the success or failure of your acupuncture treatment for cellulite. There is no other factor that has as much influence on its success or lack thereof.

Reason 1: Safety. Just make sure whoever is performing treatment has been educated in the field and has certifications to show. In the United States, the use of acupuncture is regulated by the government.

Physicians must use sterile, single-use needles only. Oh, by the way, NEVER try to perform acupuncture on yourself.

(I’m not familiar with other international standards so do your research if you’re outside of the U.S.)

Reason 2: Cosmetic acupuncture is a specialty practice that few general acupuncture professionals have chosen to master. It’s a skill that comes from further education. Think of it as a niche that a select few dedicate themselves to.

It doesn’t stop there. The more education and experience they have, the better. That’s because the standard education is the same, it’s the extra stuff that the really good professionals study and learn that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Any expert should be able to tell you how many sessions you will need after seeing you in person.

How to find a good specialist

Make sure they perform the specialty of cosmetic acupuncture. You will find that when you type “acupuncture near me” or even “acupuncture for cellulite near me” into Google, you’ll get a lot of results.

These are often spas and practices that are listed for general acupuncture and not for the special cosmetic version. The only way you will really find out is by calling the locations.

Another great thing to do is: look extensively at their reviews. Reviews are one of the superpowers of the internet because they give the customer a voice. Look for the extensive reviews that go into detail.

The reason I say that is because there are many businesses out there that pay for good reviews (sad, I know). You can spot those fake reviews relatively easily because they are usually extremely positive or extremely negative and don’t have much detail.

Last but not least, ask about their education. This is obviously a later step, but nevertheless relevant. It’ll help you get a good feel for their experience. And your personal comfort with them as a person is very important too – the conversation will help you get a feel for them.

Acupuncture For Cellulite: FAQ’s

Do You Need To Prepare For Your Session?

Not really. It is recommended that you don’t eat a heavy meal right before your session and that you don’t rush to the place.

A light meal a couple hours before the treatment is recommended by many to avoid being lightheaded when you’re done – but it’s not a deal breaker if you can’t make that happen. It also helps to wear some loose clothes, and maybe even shorts. Avoid alcohol.

Is there any downtime for recovery?

No. Try not to perform any strenuous activity right after your sessions to allow your body to do its work – but that’s it. I highly suggest that you drink a lot of water to support the flushing and healing. Other than that, you can go about your day as usual.

Chinese medicine boards

Are there any side effects or health risks to acupuncture for cellulite?

While they are quite rare, there can be some side effects of acupuncture. None of them come close to being life-threatening.

You might feel worse before you feel better. This can come as a result of some dormant conditions that are surfacing to your attention as your body is healing.
Sometimes people feel wiped out after their session. That’s because their body is working on certain things that were triggered. It’s nothing terrible but most experts suggest you give your body the rest it’s longing for.

Soreness could occur in the direct area where some of the needles were placed, or even in seemingly unrelated places that have been affected by the treatment. Usually your professional will give you a heads up.

Bruising. There is a minority of people that just bruise from the needles. They shouldn’t be of concern and aren’t much else than the aesthetic inconvenience, so don’t sweat it.

Muscle twitching. You might have the one or the other muscle start twitching with the insertion of a needle in a certain place. That’s just tension and is nothing to worry about.

Lightheadedness could happen if you get up too fast. Try to get up slowly after your session.

Emotional release. Sometimes people cry in acupuncture. It’s actually considered a sign of the treatment to be working. In Chinese medicine, the world of emotions and the physical world are connected and interrelated – so it’s a sign of physical changes as well.

It seems like a long list of things that could go wrong – but keep in mind that they are rare and really mild side effects (especially compared to surgery). Now that you of them, my hope is that you stay calm if any of these occur. If anything really feels wrong for several days after a session, contact your specialist about it.

Wrapping Up Acupuncture for Cellulite: Reality Or Fiction

Cosmetic acupuncture is a viable treatment for reducing cellulite. It is important that you find a specialist in the cosmetic branch of acupuncture because it’s a specialty treatment.

It’s a great natural remedy that won’t break the bank if you give it a try. I’d say test it and see what it does for your dimples – the payoff can be very large while the potential downside is relatively small.

And don’t let the long list of side effects intimidate you, they are very rare and very minimal.

I know I’ve covered a lot and I hope your head is not spinning from all this info (mine certainly was). My hope is for you is that you are empowered to make the best decision for you. If you enjoyed this article please check out some of my other ones here; they are just as thorough.

Feel free to comment with any questions, concerns, or thank you notes below – I promise I’ll answer! You can also contact me through my contact page here 🙂

To your confidence,
Ashley