Effect of shock wave therapy associated with aerobic exercise on cellulite: A randomized controlled trial

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2021 Jun;20(6):1732-1742. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13791. Epub 2020 Oct 26.


Background: Cellulite is a multifactor and controversial condition. Several methods have been explored to reduce it, not always with favorable results. Shock Wave Therapy has been shown to be effective, but the results of its association with an Aerobic Exercise Program are unknown.

Aims: To verify whether Shock Wave Therapy in association with an Aerobic Exercise Program reduces the degree of severity of Cellulite in the gluteal region and in the ⅓ of the proximal posterior of the thigh.

Methods: Forty-five healthy women, aged from 18 to 32, randomly assigned, considering the severity degree in the Cellulite Severity Scale and the level of physical activity, in three groups: two experimental and one control group. The control group performed the evaluations. The experimental group 1 performed an Aerobic Exercise Program, and the experimental group 2 associated this program with a Radial Shock Wave Therapy protocol. The experimental groups completed six interventions within 3 weeks. In addition, the degree of severity in the Cellulite Severity Scale, height, body composition, skin temperature, and subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness were assessed. One-way ANOVA test and Kruskal-Wallis were used to obtain the results, with level of significance of 0.05.

Results: Forty-two women completed the study. There was a significant reduction in the severity of Cellulite between experimental group 2 and group 1 (P = 0.032), and from group 2 to the control group (P = 0.042).

Conclusion: The association of Shock Wave Therapy and Aerobic Exercise was shown to be effective in reducing the severity of cellulite.

Keywords: adiposity; cellulite; extracorporeal shock wave therapy; physical therapy modalities; shock wave therapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Aged
  • Buttocks
  • Cellulite* / therapy
  • Exercise
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Subcutaneous Fat