Cellulite refers to the common occurrence of dimpled skin from subcutaneous fat common in women. Cellulite is more common in women than men because of the way that connective tissue, muscle and fat are developed in women; it is also suspected that estrogen, along with other hormones, promotes the production of cellulite. One hormone that increases the tendency of cellulite to develop is catecholamines; catecholamines are more abundant with chronic stress and anxiety. In Chinese medicine, cellulite may be due to improper fluid metabolism from a number of imbalances:

Cellular Detoxification and Cellulitecentral-river.jpg

If Qi Stagnation and cellulite has been present for more than a few months, detoxification on a cellular level can help resolve the issue more quickly. The Journal of Medicinal Foods conducted a study in 2006 that demonstrated the benefits for cellular metabolism in patients who demonstrated metabolic syndrome parameters demonstrating the benefits of grapefruit on weight loss using a variety of forms of grapefruit. Yang substances such as cinnamon are also helpful in initiating movement through the augmentation of Yang Qi, thus breaking up stagnation.

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Qi Stagnation and Cellulite

If Qi stagnates in the body than proper fluid management cannot occur. Because the Liver controls the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body, the basis of Qi Stagnation is often Liver Qi Stagnation

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Kidney Insufficiency and Cellulite

The Kidney energetic organ system is central in its role in managing fluids in the body and excreting waste from the body. If present, Kidney Yin Deficiency and Kidney Yang Deficiency must be addressed before long term relief from cellulite can be experienced. 

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Spleen Qi Insufficiencies and Cellulite
The Spleen energetic organ system contributes to fluid metabolism in Chinese medicine, as the Spleen oversees the ‘transportation and transformation’ of fluids. If Spleen Qi Deficiency is present, Internal Dampness can accumulate in the tissue and contribute to cellulite. 

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Stress and Cellulite

Chronic stress can contribute to Liver Qi Stagnation, and Liver Qi Stagnation can amplify uptight feelings of stress. As mentioned above, hormonal catecholamines are partially responsible for the development of cellulite and are more abundant with chronic stress. Certainly learning breathing techniques and practicing meditation will help to manage stress. 

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While proper lifestyle practices are always a good idea for sustainable health, cellulite is not definitively attributed to obesity or lack of exercise. Cellulite is thought to have a connection to genetic disposition and water metabolism. In Chinese medicine, many disease processes are attributed, at least partly, to Qi stagnation; this is when the vital energy in your body is not moving and causes pain or disease. Toxins accumulating in body tissue are one common cause of Qi stagnation. Qi animates us and ensures that blood and body fluids flow freely throughout our bodies.


The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome. Fujioka K1, Greenway F, Sheard J, Ying Y.Journal of Medicinal Food. 2006 Spring;9(1):49-54.