Banishing Cellulite: The Foam Roller Detox
Integrative structural specialist and frequent goop contributor Lauren Roxburgh is a bit of a magician. By manipulating the fascia—i.e., the saran wrap that covers the entire muscular structure—she can eliminate “congestion” and puffiness, bringing the body into alignment and smoothing out lines. (It’s pretty crazy—check out the before and after photos on her site.) She does a lot of work with the foam roller, which is great news, because it means you can do the same exercises in the comfort of your living room—her book, Taller, Slimmer, Younger—21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique—is available to order here.
Meanwhile, we asked her about how to work the areas most prone to cellulite, which seems to rear its head in the winter, when there’s no tan in sight to conceal it. She offers some tricks and tips below.
8 Foam Roller Moves to Banish Cellulite
It’s that time of year again. The holidays are over and it’s back to work—and if you’re like me, you’re probably feeling a little sluggish, bloated, and inflamed. Well, don’t despair. A joyful life is all about balance, so hopefully your holiday season was about some much-needed indulgence and fun—if you can’t enjoy the odd glass of wine or three, life just isn’t worth living. Now that you’re indulgence bank account is nicely positive and you’ve got some great memories to look back on, it’s time to get your health, beauty, and wellness accounts back up again. If the holiday season is all about getting in a little “retox,” now it’s time to detox.
Below, you’ll find my methods for detoxifying the body and clearing up any congestion—it all takes about 20 to 30 minutes a day. The benefits? Reducing cellulite, hydrating and “ringing out” your connective tissue and organs, tightening your skin, and sculpting your muscles to be more long and lean. And we do this is by boosting your lymphatic system to flush toxins, regenerating and restructuring your connective tissue, reducing inflammation, and banishing bloat that can accumulate when we over-indulge over the holidays.
Cellulite occurs when underlying fat pushes through weakened, dry, or brittle connective tissue (or fascia). The weakened or imbalanced connective tissue structure can be caused by gravity, aging, dehydration, and lack of movement and poor muscle tone and/or circulation.
These eight roller moves help liquefy and smooth away congestion, flush out and boost the lymphatic system, increase immunity, stimulate blood circulation, “wring out” and hydrate the connective tissue and revitalize the whole being, all of which will help banish those pesky dimples forever.
You can do these moves at home or at the gym. All you need is a specific medium density foam roller and just a few minutes a day. I developed my Lo Rox Aligned Foam Roller so it has just the right firmness and a specialized bumpy surface for reducing cellulite and blood congestion, boosting tissue hydration. I also created a mini travel roller (12” x 4”) that your can throw in your carry-on bag, gym bag, or take to the office.
Move #1 Roll Out the Kinks
Benefit: Helps you breathe more efficiently which increases oxygen intake, helps burn fat, slows the aging process, and increases metabolism. It also improves posture, and will help you stand up taller and feel calmer.
Lying on the floor, place the roller under your back at your bra line and lean your middle back over the roller.
Take your hands behind your head to support your head and neck. Using your feet to drive the move, inhale as you roll and massage up the upper back and shoulder blades.
Exhale as you roll and massage down the spine to the bottom of your ribs (be careful NOT to roll back and fourth on the lower back because it can create too much pressure/force on your discs and vertebra).
Move #2 Extended Organ Twist
Benefit: Extension helps create space between your ribs and hips allowing the organs to expand and regenerate, while the twisting helps ring out your organs to aid in purification and detoxification of your system.
Lying on your back, bring the roller to the bottom of your shoulder blades at your bra line with your hands behind your head, fingers gently interlaced to support your neck. Place your feet parallel and hip width distance apart and keep your tush down on the mat.
Inhale as you arch your thoracic (or mid- to upper-) back over the roller. Keep you hands behind your head while stretching the front of your neck to release any tension.
Exhale and twist the knees to the right and look to the left, using opposition to lengthen. This squeezes the air out of your stomach, organs, and lungs to clear out the carbon dioxide, making room for fresh oxygen to fill the lungs. This also helps clear any tension and stress in the gut by ringing out the organs like a wet towel, while flattening the abdominal muscles.
Move #3 Inverted Sacrum (Lower Back) Roll
Benefit: Inversions help bring blood and lymph from your feet and legs up to your kidneys to drain excess fluid, toxins, and stagnant energy. This move also gives your lower back a soft tissue fascia release and lubricates your lower back and sacrum.
Place the roller under your sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of your spine).
Place your upper back and shoulders to the mat, keeping your waist elevated in a bridge position. Lift your legs to about a 90-degree angle so they’re pointing up to the ceiling.
Place your hands on either side of the outer edge of the roller to make sure it doesn’t slip. The roller should remain stable throughout this exercise.
Move #4 Figure Four Roll
Benefit: Smoothing out and self-massaging this area helps hydrate and strengthen the connective tissue and flush out toxins and even emotional energy that can get stuck in the hips.
Sit on the roller and reach your right arm behind you with your left palm placed on the mat for stability. Cross your right ankle over your left knee in a figure four position.
Shift your weight slightly over to the right hip/glute area and roll back and fourth a few inches in each direction.
Next, roll in circles to help increase circulation and blood flow and reduce congestion.
Move #5 Side Hip Roll
Benefit: Increases the flow of nutrient-rich blood to the hips. It also helps to smooth out the connective tissues and improve circulation, which enables the body to expel fluid retention and toxins.
Sit down, placing one hip on roller while grounding your lower hand on the mat with the wrist crease directly under the shoulder.
Bend your top leg and ground your foot down in front of the extended leg for support and leverage.
Use your grounded hand and foot to slowly move the roller up and down the outer hip, staying on the 6-8 inch of area around the hip and upper outer thigh.
Move #6 Front of Thigh Roll
Benefit: Rolling over this area will help move the congestion and blockages in the thighs, which will help the legs look and feel slimmer and healthier.
With your belly facing the mat, place your elbows directly under your shoulders, palms face down.
Keeping your legs straight, place the roller just above the front of your knees.
Engage your core to prop yourself up and protect your lower back.
Grounding down through your forearms, bend your knees to lengthen the thigh muscles—this will break down the thickness and density around the thighs and increase circulation.
Using your arms and core, push the roller up and down the front of the thighs, from just above the knee to the top of the thigh. Exhale deeply as you roll up and inhale as you roll down.
Move #7 Front of Hip roll
Benefit: Increased circulation and hydration translates to more rapid repair and regeneration of damaged, congested, and toxic cells.
Lie down with your belly facing the mat, elbows placed directly under your shoulders, palms face down. Keeping your legs straight, place the roller just above the front of your knees.
Engage your core to prop yourself up and protect your low back.
Ground down through your forearms and bend your knees to lengthen the thigh muscles, thus breaking down the thickness and density around the thighs and increasing circulation.
Using your arms and core, exhale as you roll the roller up the front of your thighs to your hipbones.
Inhale as you press the roller down to just above the front of your knees.
Move #8 Rolling Shell
Benefit: Improves digestion, rings out organs, oxygenates the blood, and helps tone arms and flatten the belly.
Place the roller just below the knee joints.
Place your hands shoulder-width apart and make sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists. Stabilize your shoulders, and imagine there is a skewer through your shoulder joints: You will skewer around the joint but you will not rock back and forth.
Place your spine into a slight extension to elongate your belly muscles, inhale, and then start rolling the roller toward you while rounding your spine into flexion in the shape of a nautilus shell. Take a full exhale to pull the roller all the way in while your hips lift, your belly is scooped, and your tummy is sucking in.
Squeeze all the CO2 out at the very end to release toxins and draw the waist in like vacuum seal suction to tone and shrink the belly.
Exhale and slowly resist the roller as your legs back down into the full extension position.
More Things That Help Detox the Body
I use this in conjunction with foam rolling every day for a winning combo that keeps you long, lean, and toned. Start with the roller for a few minutes to break down the density and congestion and then finish with 5-10 minutes on the rebounder for a fully restorative, cellulite-blasting, and detoxifying workout. Be sure to drink a lot of filtered water after. (I try to avoid drinking water in plastic bottles as excess estrogen can seep into the water from the plastic, disrupt hormones, and actually cause more cellulite.)
I first came across the rebounder while researching the lymphatic system and fascia integrity and found that NASA had discovered rebounding was 68 percent more effective for cardiovascular health and fat-burning than running. Plus rebounding has been found to cause significantly less impact and wear and tear than running. Scientifically speaking, this is because there is acceleration as you bounce upwards, a tiny weightless pause at the top, then a deceleration on the way down and then the impact of the rebounder. The force of gravity is why it’s so effective. The other upside is that you only need to bounce for 5-15 minutes a day to get the benefits.
The Bellicon is my favorite rebounder on the market hands down. It has bungees, not springs so it’s quiet, safe and super sturdy, wide enough to move your legs in all planes of movement, yet small enough to have in your living room. Plus, the legs easily fold so you can store it under a bed or against the wall. The Bellicon is especially helpful to reduce compression, the cheaper ones are more dangerous, harder on the joints and don’t quite achieve the same result.
Bounce #1 The Health Bounce: Move up and down without actually jumping for 1-2 minutes to warm up your muscles, joints, lymphatic system, and organs.
Bounce #2 The Toning Bounce: Jump as high as you can, which helps improve balance, strengthens your primary and intrinsic muscles throughout your entire body, and also jumpstarts your lymph garbage disposal. Do this for 1-2 minutes.
Bounce #3 The Cardio Bounce Combo: This includes Jumping Jacks, running in place, the ski bunny twist, bouncing on one leg at a time, dancing, and any other ways you can think of. Doing these with some high intensity will help you sweat out the toxins. Do this for 10 minutes.
I have my Bellicon set up in my backyard for maximum results, breathing fresh air and soaking up a bit of Vitamin D.
(For more rebounder moves, see our piece with Tracy Anderson.)
Dry brushing has been around since ancient times, though it’s been surging in popularity lately as many supermodels claim it as their beauty secret weapon. The idea is to get the circulation going, effectively “tightening” the skin by stimulating it with a vigorous rub, using either a brush or dry brushing gloves before a bath or shower. Always brush towards you heart and rub each limb and your torso for about 30 seconds. I find it invigorates me in the morning—and is almost as essential as that first cup of coffee. It also helps exfoliate any dry or damaged skin.
This is another ancient technique that’s just as relevant today. I recommend adding magnesium chloride to your bath for two reasons. First it helps draw out toxins and impurities, and secondly it helps re-mineralize your skin (many of us are magnesium deficient as our Western diet and farming techniques often don’t provide the minerals we need). Rosemary essential oil and lemongrass are also great things to add as they boost the lymphatic system. Other benefits of a warm bath include easing sore muscles and helping you relax and sleep.
Take the used contents of your coffee maker into the shower and rub it on any areas where you feel like you have extra congestion or “jiggle,” such as in the thighs, hips, tummy, or arms, then rinse it off and moisturize with coconut oil. The caffeine in the coffee grounds has been clinically proven to provide powerful antioxidants that actually stimulate and tighten the skin and blast any cellulite away in the process. If using old coffee grounds doesn’t appeal, this is a good coffee scrub.
This is one of the few supplements I take but it’s one I swear by because it strengthens, hydrates, and regenerates the internal “webbing” of connective tissue or fascia, which in turn helps to make your skin look and feel tighter. I recommend Previnex’s Joint Plus because it includes natural eggshell membrane, which is made up of glycosaminoglycans, key proteins, hyaluronic acid, and collagen. This not only helps maintain the structural integrity of fascia and skin tone but also promotes bone strength and helps with joint pain—so you can keep rolling and rebounding longer.