Physicians, dieticians, personal trainers and body sculpting professionals all agree that any healthy, risk-free, effective plan to lose weight involves both diet and exercise. While controlled diet and regular exercise directs the body’s proportions, exercise is primarily responsible for carving off previously gained weight. Just as bacon fat will only liquefy at warmer temperatures, body fat can only come off the body with physical activity. By enabling your client’s weight-loss program, massage is a perfect ally to a disciplined diet and exercise routine. Massage therapy supports exercise and weight loss in many ways, including:
- Improves ability for physical activity
- Reduces risk of injury
- Increases metabolic rate
- Reduces abdominal fat hormone
- Physical bursting of fat capsule
- Supports digestive functions
- Rewards dedication and hard work
Improves Ability for Physical Activity
New research finds that massage therapy can actually enhance the effects of exercise. Orthopedist Dr. Jason Ford says, “I recommend massage therapy for my patients who only exercise a couple of times a week to help improve flexibility and blood flow but to also help them with the soreness and stiffness they experience after their exercise.” Since massage increases oxygenation of muscle tissue, it helps sustain endurance and shorten recovery time. This allows muscles to maintain maximum power and performance when active, and burn the maximum number of calories in the process.
Reduces Risk of Injury
A well-known fact to professional athletes, massage also supports regular physical activity by preventing injuries. By stretching connective tissue, massage improves circulation and helps to prevent the break down of adhesions and scar tissue resulting from muscle tears and other common muscle injuries. Massage also influences the excretion of certain fluids (nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur) that aid in tissue repair. A prime suspect in unsuccessful weight-loss attempts is suffering from an injury that severely limits physical activity.
Increases Metabolic Rate
Metabolism is enhanced through the increased interchange of nutritive substances between blood and tissue cells that comes with healthy circulation. Maximizing the supply of nutrients and oxygen through increased blood flow allows muscles to burn more calories.
Reduces Abdominal Fat Hormone
Released in response to physical and emotional stress, the hormone cortisol has been shown to increase appetite and cause fat deposition in the abdominal area. While exercise is the best method for lowering cortisol levels, massage has been repeatedly proven to reduce circulating levels of this hormone. Massage’s ability to lower cortisol levels helps ease stress, decrease appetite and reduce accumulation of belly fat; all of which support a weight-loss program.
Physical Bursting of Fat Capsule
Massage may directly aid in fat loss. According to some research studies, vigorous massage can burst the fat capsules in subcutaneous tissue. This bursting causes adipose tissue to exude, setting the stage for its removal. Lymphatic drainage techniques are ideal near areas of deep tissue work to help the body accommodate, process and eliminate the toxins or fat just released. Only to be considered in combination with proper nutrition and exercise, bursting fat capsules may directly help in weight loss.
Supports Digestive Functions
A smoothly functioning digestive system is critical to achieving one’s target weight. Since supplying the body with the fuel it needs for energy, allocating fat for burning or storing and eliminating waste products all fall under the gastrointestinal system’s domain, making its health instrumental in body proportion and size. Massage therapists can promote digestive health through administering techniques such as belly massage and meridian (stomach, spleen and large intestine) bodywork.
Rewards Dedication and Hard Work
In addition to all of the physiological reasons massage therapy supports weight loss, bodywork also serves as an emotional motivator. Celebrating life’s accomplishments without sabotaging a slimmer waistline encourages sticking to a weight-loss program. Receiving regular massage is the ultimate and appropriate reward for dedication to body improvement. For a person struggling with their weight, looking forward to a scheduled massage serves as inspiration to eat properly and complete a challenging workout.
While massage therapy does not replace the standards of diet and exercise for losing weight, its addition to a weight-loss program can help to shed pounds.
www.ezinearticles.com, Weight Loss Benefits of Massage, Scott Haywood, EzineArticles.com, 2006.
www.medicinenet.com, Stress, Hormones and Weight Gain, Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD, MedicineNet Inc., September 2006.
www.wistv.com, Study Finds Massage with Exercise Can Aid Weight Loss, WorldNow, March 18, 2004.