Cellulite vacuum therapy

Updated July 19, 2017

Cellulite vacuum therapy is one of many therapies used to tackle the hard-to-shift, dimpled fat that is often found on thighs, knees, buttocks, stomach and the tops of arms. A vacuum is created around the problem area, lifting the cellulite away from the muscle, thus encouraging blood flow, stimulating lymphatic drainage and amplifying the effects of massage or exercise. Cellulite vacuum therapy is a modern version of the ancient Chinese art of "cupping" that is now a popular alternative treatment used by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow.


Vacuum therapy takes many different forms. Selfmassager's hand-held "Rubber Glass'" is designed for home use, so it can prove convenient and less expensive than salon options.

Various vacuum massage therapy machines produced by major beauty companies, such as "Starvac" and "Celluless," are used for spa and salon treatments and involve cupping type attachments or rollers that suck the skin into a vacuum to increase the intensity of the treatment.

The most extreme form of vacuum therapy is called "Hypoxi Therapy." Your body--or parts of it--are enclosed in a vacuum suit or pod whilst you undertake mild exercise, usually on a stationary cycle or treadmill. All these methods work on the premise that by lifting and isolating problem areas by means of creating a vacuum and stimulating blood flow, the treatments will be more effective.


Vacuum therapy does not bring immediate benefits and courses can last anywhere from six to 14 weeks of three or more sessions per week. Despite some redness in the treated areas, there is no down time after a cellulite vacuum therapy session and it's possible to return to your daily life immediately. Most courses of vacuum therapy are combined with sometimes complicated diet advice. While undertaking a course of Hypoxi treatments, for example, the regime includes eating carbohydrates and proteins at particular times of day and giving up alcohol for the whole course of the treatments. To maintain results of any course of cellulite vacuum therapy, continuing regular sessions is advised.

Undergoing Treatment

Beauty journalist Hannah Poole of the "UK Guardian" felt "pummelled" and "sore" after her first session of endermologie (deep massage) with vacuum rollers, and until you find your optimum usage of Rubber Glass some users have experienced bruising. Hypoxi vacuum therapy, which combines the vacuum effect with exercise, can cause you to "sweat like ... never before", according to researcher Rebecca Armstrong of "The Independent" (UK) although she adds that you will probably never be out of breath.


Many claims are made about the effects of cellulite vacuum therapy. Synergie, for example, claims that their aesthetic massage (vacuum therapy) is a "powerful solution to weight loss that reduces wrinkles and circumferential body measurements." Velashape promise visibly "smoother, firmer and tighter" skin by the third treatment. But dermatologist Tamara Griffiths of the British Skin Foundation, (quoted in the "UK Guardian") says although "...anti-cellulite products may improve the texture of the skin, a lot of their popularity is to do with a placebo or psychological effect. You're paying to boost your mood. That's really all it is." However, researcher Rebecca Armstrong ("UK Independent") did find that she lost inches off her waist after a course of Hypoxi therapy in a vacuum suit.

Does it Work?

Professor Craig Williams of Exeter University (UK) states, "It is correct to say that if the blood flow is poor, then the utilisation of fat deposits can be poor," which seems to argue that cellulite vacuum therapy works. But he continues " ...there are potentially more benefits to just getting out the trainers ... and exercising in the fresh air." Dr. Armando Soto, a plastic surgeon in Orlando, says, "Unfortunately, the benefits seem to be temporary," which seems to be confirmed by the beauty companies' advice that to maintain results, ongoing regular treatments for cellulite are always necessary.

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About the Author

Nelly Morrison started writing professionally in 1992 for The Children's Channel. She has since had her own lifestyle and beauty column in "Good Health Magazine" in the UK and has written biographical pieces for "Regency World." She was a producer at ITN Factual and she now reviews restaurants for "The List" in Scotland. Morrison studied writing at Edinburgh University.