Cellulite is the irregular deposit of fat under the skin that gives it a lumpy and dimpled appearance. Many people struggle with cellulite, which has fueled an ever-growing search for treatments that can reduce these irregular deposits. The good news is, researchers have made some progress with new technologies.
One such technology is shockwave therapy. Shockwave technology uses pressure waves emitted from a device placed on the skin. The theory is that these waves can break up the irregular fat in hopes of improving the skin’s contour. Shockwave therapy has been reported to have wound healing properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and the ability to smooth the skin.
In 2015, a group of researchers performed a meta-analysis on the use of shockwave therapy for cellulite. A meta-analysis is where researchers examine all relevant medical literature and compile the data from the existing clinical studies that have evaluated shockwave therapy for cellulite. Eleven clinical trials were evaluated that involved a total of 297 female participants.
In most of the clinical trials, the participants received shockwave therapy twice a week for 6 to 8 weeks. The researchers concluded that shockwave therapy could be helpful for breaking down cellulite and found that, on average, shockwave therapy improved cellulite. The researchers specified that these studies looked at short-term results and did not evaluate long-term effects. Further, they noted that shockwave treatment may not be appropriate for those with overly sensitive nerves, nerve disorders, and people that have a low pain threshold.
Overall conclusion: Shockwave therapy may be helpful for cellulite, but clinical research is limited to short-term results, and long-term results are unknown.