Weight loss is hard work but we all love the results. Which is why the promise of a non-invasive and “lazy” way to lose weight like massage can cloud our vision. Massage is a great way to energize your body, unwind, destress, and help work on specific muscles as part of physiotherapy or after a workout. But can it help you lose inches and pounds? Here’s a closer look at what a massage can – and can’t – do.
Cellulite And Fat-Loss Massages: Too Good To Be True?
Advertisements promising to remove “unsightly bumps and dimples” and detoxify your body with a special anti-cellulite massage can be tempting. Studies, however, seem to show that while these massages do work to reduce the dimpling of skin that comes with the fat accumulation we know better as cellulite, they can’t fix the problem permanently. Skin dimpling reappears after a while, leading experts and researchers to suggest that such massages could work well as a temporary solution but not fix the problem for good.1
So how do these fat-busting massages work? One study compared the effect of three different types of massage (mechanical massage, manual lymphatic drainage, and connective tissue manipulation) on the fat loss of subjects divided into three test groups. Subcutaneous fat thinned in all cases – as indicated by a reduction of thigh circumference, thigh fat thickness, abdominal fat thickness, and suprailium fat thickness. The difference was not enough to suggest huge changes to your weight loss – but it could complement your weight-loss regimen.2
So Are Massages Any Good At All?
Massages alone may not be enough for achieving aggressive weight loss. Neither can they be a substitute for a calorie-restricted diet or regular exercise. But by keeping your digestive system, circulation, and
If you’re using exercise as one of your tools to lose weight, a massage can be the perfect sidekick. There’s a reason why you see fitness enthusiasts indulging in massages every now and then. The trained hands of a masseuse can help relax muscles that have been physically strained, allowing them to relax. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), if you are someone who is seriously into fitness or exercise, you can benefit from massages. Specifically, massage could help lower muscle tension, increase your range of motion, decrease muscle stiffness, reduce swelling, and even prevent injury (if done regularly). All of this combines to create a stronger version of your body, allowing you to push yourself to continue working out to lose weight.3
Improve Circulation And Boost Metabolism
A good massage can really get your blood circulation going. By aiding the flow of blood throughout your body,
Improve Digestive Health
Massage helps improves the state of the digestive system by easing constipation and nausea, in addition to helping with gastrointestinal trouble.5 When your digestive system is in good shape, your body will be able to make the most of the nutrition it gets and help your weight-loss goals. You’ll also be able to sidestep any bloating or sluggishness that comes with problems in the gut. Manual lymphatic drainage is a gentle sort of massage designed to push waste products out of your body’s tissue, causing natural drainage of the lymph and helping with overall
Boost The Effects Of Your Massage
While massage on its own has its share of benefits, research seems to indicate that combining massage with infrared or laser therapy could boost its effects. One study of healthy women evaluated the effectiveness of using laser energy(low-level dual beam) in conjunction with a massage to target subcutaneous fat reduction in the thigh area. Researchers found that using laser light enhanced the effectiveness of the massage and delivered better results than a massage on its own.6
|↑2||Bayrakci Tunay, V., T. Akbayrak, Y. Bakar, H. Kayihan, and N. Ergun. “Effects of mechanical massage, manual lymphatic drainage and connective tissue manipulation techniques on fat mass in women with cellulite.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 24, no. 2 (2010): 138-142.|
|↑3||Massage Therapy for Those Who Exercise, AMTA.|
|↑4||Holey, Liz A. “Connective tissue manipulation: towards a scientific rationale.” Physiotherapy 81, no. 12 (1995): 730-739.|
|↑5||Salvo, Susan G. Massage therapy: Principles and practice. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2015.|
|↑6||Lach, Elliot. “Reduction of subcutaneous fat and improvement in cellulite appearance by dual‐wavelength, low‐level laser energy combined with vacuum and massage.” Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy 10, no. 4 (2008): 202-209.|