Massage for Weight Loss? 5 Reasons Why You Need It : We’ve all heard the saying, “the mind is willing, but the body is weak.” Well, this applies to many people when it comes to weight loss.
You know you need to lose weight. You probably already researched all the ways to do it, too. But one missed workout session later, goals are forgotten. One cheat day somehow ends up being a whole cheat week and you’re off the dieting wagon.
Losing weight can be hard. That’s why diet fads and lose-weight-fast schemes are everywhere. After all, if you can lose weight with much less effort, wouldn’t you take that chance?
But what do massages have to do with weight loss?
Massage is awesome. You can just lie down and enjoy the soft music (or blessed silence) while a therapist kneads and presses all the muscle knots and kinks out. And that’s not all.
Some people claim that it’s fantastic for decreasing belly fat, among other things.
Is it true, though? Will a simple daily massage help you get rid of unsightly cellulite? Will it tone down your thighs? Will it help you lose weight? We did the research and here’s what we found.
Before we get to it though, let’s discuss what massage is and how it benefits your overall health.
Massage Therapy: The Benefits
Massage has been around for thousands of years. Evidence of it being administered has been found in texts from as far back as 2000BC, in Sumeria and Akkadia.
The general purpose of a massage is to treat body stress or pain. Traditionally, this is done by manipulating the body’s soft tissue using the hands, fingers, elbows, sometimes even the feet. More modern methods include the use of a massage gun and other devices.
It comes with a lot of advantages.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that insufficient sleep is linked to many chronic diseases and conditions like diabetes, depression, and obesity. Massage, meanwhile, helps trigger the release of serotonin. It’s the hormone responsible for stabilizing one’s mood.
Massage therefore generates calmness, allowing for a more restful sleep. Better sleep makes for better health.
Decreased Muscle Pain
Massage sessions are usually seen as a luxury. But experts have shown that it can also be a valid form of physical therapy.
The Harvard Medical School acknowledges that massage helps alleviate pain by relaxing muscles and stimulating competing nerve fibers. This has the effect of cutting off pain signals to and from the brain.
Improved Range of Motion
Regular massage sessions have been shown to help improve flexibility. People given a sports massage exhibited the most improvement not just with elasticity and flexibility, but even in smoothing scar tissues.
Improved Mental State
Massage has a way of encouraging the release of happy hormones, particularly dopamine. Research conducted by the Mayo Clinic showed massage helped in lessening headaches and fatigue among study participants. It also improved mental alertness and clear thinking.
Facial massage also helped boost overall mood and reduced stress and anxiety.
Improved Immune Function
Massage lowers cytokine levels. Excessive production of this molecule contributes to inflammatory diseases such as rhinitis. A simple 45-minute massage session can help in keeping colds and flus at bay.
With all the perks massage has to offer, it’s no wonder many people are on board. But the pertinent question here really is this – does it work for weight loss?
Massage and Weight Loss: The Truth
Massage for weight loss, then. Does it work?
The short answer is no, not by itself.
If you think regular massage sessions are all you need to flatten your tummy and smoothen out your thigh dimples, then you’d be disappointed. . To date, no study has proven that massage will make you lose weight by itself.
But there is a silver lining.
Massage may not melt fat away, but it can make sticking to a diet and exercise program much easier.
5 Reasons Why Massage Needs to be Part of Your Weight Loss Plan
Massage puts you in the proper mental space for weight loss.
Weight loss can be tough. And let’s be honest, oftentimes it’s a miserable journey. That’s really why so many give up after only a few weeks.
Massage infuses the idea of self-love into the process. The pain accumulated from exercise is somehow made bearable because a massage session relaxes you. It helps ease the aches and makes you feel the juice was worth the squeeze. And if the reward for working out five days a week is worth it, you tend to stick to it.
Massage helps you be physically ready for exercise.
As previously mentioned, massage has a way of loosening joints and making you more limber. This makes movement easier and more comfortable.
If you can’t move very well, you’re increasing your risk for injury. This is sometimes very demotivating to the point that you just stop. Exercise also leaves muscles sore. No one really wants to move when every single movement results in agony.
Massage helps reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). When your body feels better faster, exercise doesn’t feel too much like a sacrifice.
Massage eliminates one major cause of weight gain – stress.
You’ve heard of stress eating, no doubt. When you’re under stress, eating healthy goes out the window. You tend to seek your “comfort food”. Often, these are high-calorie foods, too. You eat even if you’re not hungry.
So, yes. Stress can lead to weight gain.
Massage is relaxing. It facilitates the release of happy hormones. A relaxed state of mind helps you make better choices with food and activities.
Massage helps improve appearance.
Some massage techniques have the benefit of reducing swelling. This results in improved physical appearance and mobility. There’s also another type of massage that works to re-engage muscles. This could lead to better athletic performance and thus, improved toning.
Massage also improves posture and makes your stomach appear flatter.
Massage makes you feel connected.
Touch is therapeutic. It makes you feel connected to people. One study published in the British Medical Journal showed that massage is quite helpful for people without a strong support system.
Dieting and exercising to lose weight can already feel a bit isolating. Getting regular massages can make you feel supported and strengthen your resolve to achieve your weight loss goals.
Now that we know how massage can help with weight loss, what type of massage should you schedule with your therapist?
The Best Massage for Weight Loss
These are some of the best types of massage for supporting weight loss.
- Swedish Massage – this is a popular massage that’s fantastic for loosening muscles and circulation.
- Aromatherapy – this type of massage uses aromatic oil extracts from plants and is popularly regarded to reduce the desire to binge eat.
- Lymphatic Massage – this helps in flushing out extra body fluids and reduces swelling and puffiness.
- Self-massage – no time to fit a therapist in your schedule? No problem. You can do it yourself at home. A massage gun is especially helpful for deeper penetration into large muscle groups like the glutes or back. The vibration also helps increase blood flow and the heat generated in turn helps smoothen the skin.
To successfully achieve your weight loss goals, you must ensure you’re eating healthy and getting enough physical activity. Massage by itself will not eliminate excess pounds but it is an extremely helpful addition to your fitness program.
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Massage for Weight Loss? 5 Reasons Why You Need It
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