It's not that long ago that smoking was a normal activity – anywhere you were, you could light up a cigarette. Today, thankfully, the health risks are well known and it's now the exception rather than the rule. But we are facing a new health risk – sitting.
Sitting is common practice, especially in the Western world. The average person sits for 9-10 hours a day – in the office, on the couch watching TV, or at a table over dinner with friends. I’m sure most of you are saying “but Bob, I see how that’s bad for my waistline, but comparing it to smoking seems excessive…”
We’ll get to the appearance side in a minute, but the fact is that prolonged sitting has been shown to increase your risk of Type 2 Diabetes, lung, uterine, and colon cancer. Just 4-5 hours of sitting can increase your risk of death by 50% - those are some scary facts!
If we turn to the cosmetic side, there are also scary facts to contend with. While there is nothing wrong with the act of sitting itself, sitting for prolonged periods of time restricts blood flow to the pressured areas (hips, glutes, legs) and results in dehydration; no matter how much water you drink!
Dehydrated tissue causes adhesions, or clumps of tissue that stick together and cause knots (otherwise known as cellulite!). We all know the word cellulite – it's that unattractive bumpy skin that we invest lots of time and money to make disappear. The reality is that cellulite is even more sinister than just unflattering and unhealthy, it's a sign of a deeper tissue issue.
Its a given that none of us want cellulite, and the key to beating it comes from understanding how it’s formed. Fascia covers your entire body, kind of like a diving suit. The fascia is connective tissue that holds our whole structure together. When we hold a position for extended periods of time, our fascia is likely to hold and evolve into that form, redirecting our muscles and causing a joint imbalance. Once the fascia constricts, it causes tension from hips to vertebrae, and can cause hip and lower back issues.
So how do you minimize your health risk and decrease cellulite at the same time? Never sit for more than 20 minutes in each period and move when you're not sitting. Orthopedic massage can help stimulate the blood flow in the areas. Several techniques can be used to help stimulate blood flow and restore health and vitality to the tissue:
- Static compression – holding the tissue to cause release along fascia lines
- Cupping – part of acupuncture modality, suction cups are used to stimulate blood flow and reinvigorate tissue
- Gua-sha – borrowed from acupuncture, a blunt object is used to scrape the tissue using friction to release
Of course, we also recommend drinking plenty of water, stretching, and moving often.