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Treating Cellulite with the Palper Rouler Massage

Contact Author Maggie Connelly
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Cellulite is nobody's friend, and even though nearly every woman has it, it is still a body concern that many would like to remove. While technology has produced different devices sworn to get rid of those little bumps, sometimes it is best to go back to basics. That is what Emmanuelle Constant, founder Emmanuelle Blanche Wellness Center, swears by with her Palper Rouler massage technique. Constant believes that a gorgeous silhouette is for everybody and every body, so Skin Inc. sat down to discuss this French treatment with her. 

Skin Inc. (SI): Did you come up with the technique for this treatment? 

Emmanuel Constant (EC): No, the Palper Rouler is the French term for “pinch and roll." It is believed to be a Middle Eastern technique that has been used for centuries. It has been gaining popularity in France, so I decided to bring this technique to the U.S. with my own interpretation and the help of Doris Martel, a French massage therapist who has developed a training program for Emmanuelle Blanche. 

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SI: What are the benefits of this treatment?

EC: The manual Palper Rouler provides a number of benefits to the human body. First of all, it activates the lymphatic and venous circulation. The lymph system is the body’s internal drainage system, designed to rid your blood of acid and toxic waste. The lymphatic system essentially supports the immune system, drains excess fluids from tissues and transports fats from its digestive system. Through this massage, the accumulated toxins are flushed out to stimulate the body’s natural cleansing. The treatment also reduces water retention, also known as edema. This occurs when excess fluids build up inside your body. It can cause swelling in the hands, feet, ankles and legs. Additionally, the Palper Rouler massage dislocates fat deposits and accelerates lipolysis (fat melting) to lose inches on your body. This technique smooths out the dimples and improves the overall skin texture for a healthy glow.

SI: What are the steps of this treatment?

EC: The first step is to determine the type of cellulite you have and which zone you want to work on. There are three grades of cellulite:

Soft cellulite is when the skin has an orange peel appearance and is not painful when touched. This is the easiest to correct rapidly.

Edematous cellulite is often due to problems of poor circulation aggravated by significant fluid retention, the skin may be painful when touched.

Hard or solid cellulite is compact and painful when touched. The process may take a bit longer to correct.

During a session, the massage therapist will work zone by zone. Applied solely by hand, our experts will repeat several steps and gestures for each area. The massage therapist will start with a preparatory warming up of the tissue before moving into the core technique of the Palper Rouler rolling massage which involves the fat cells and the connective tissue (fascia). The next step includes a myofascial release, which is a therapy relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles. Finally, this is concluded with·a fanning massage, which helps flush the toxins

This treatment is not a one-time deal and requires several sessions. This requires a process of breaking up connective tissue adhesions layer by layer, increasing blood flow as well as muscle and nerve activity. We usually recommend two massages per week for five to eight weeks for best results.

You can perform this treatment in two different ways:

  • If your clients want to get rid of their cellulite, I would recommend a drive phase with a 10 sessions series or 15 sessions series in a short time.
  • If your clients want to feel better in their body by improving their blood circulation and lymphatic system and flush out toxins, I would recommend maintenance of their system with one or two massages per month.

SI: Who can perform this treatment?

EC: I don’t know of any spas in U.S. that provide this kind of treatment, but in Paris, there are a few day spas that we refer to as med spas or wellness centers.

SI: What is the training for this technique like? 

EC: I hired massage therapists who already knew about myofascial, lymphatic drainage and already had a knowledge in the Palper Rouler technique. Each have their own special touch. Doris established a video training and a protocol to explain the different gestures and the core of the technique.

SI: What makes this treatment different from other massage techniques?

EC: After this treatment, your clients will not only feel relaxed, but they can also feel a great amount of energy in their body.

SI: It seems that there is a wellness component to this treatment as well, can you expand on that? 

EC: Palper Rouler promotes overall wellness activating both your blood circulation and also the production of endorphins. Endorphins naturally help counter the effects of stress, and as we know, both your body and mind need to be balanced for pure wellness.

SI: How does this treatment specifically help with cellulite?

EC: In a few words, it reduces the appearance of the dimples that cellulite creates and breaks down the fat cells. The treatment itself also stimulates the body’s natural cleansing, allowing you to flush out accumulated toxins.

SI: What types of clients would you recommend this treatment for?

EC: I would say the treatment is available for both men and women, but, as 80% to 90% of women experience cellulite at some point in their lives, the majority of our customer base is women. In women, the fat cells and connective tissue in this layer are arranged vertically. In men, the tissue has a criss-cross structure, which may explain why they are less likely to have the visual appearance of cellulite than women.

Cellulite is not directly a function of excess weight, but a genetic difference in the way the adipose tissue and connective tissue form. It affects people whether they are overweight or not. Cellulite is more prevalent in people who have excess fat, but slim and fit people can also experience it. It is more likely to happen after the age of 25 years, but it can affect younger people as well.

The causes of cellulite are multiple and with Palper Rouler massage, you can solve the cause as well. These causes may include water retention, lack of blood, lymph and water flow through cellulite-prone areas, hardening of the connective tissue, a toxic lifestyle, etc. This treatment suits a lot of people who want to have a healthy wellness routine and get rid of cellulite.

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