Can Massages Help You Lose Weight?

When it comes to weight loss and weight management, there's no shortage of new ideas, workouts, diets, supplements, or apps that claim to be the latest and greatest in helping you achieve your ideal body weight. While each new diet and workout trend claims to give results with ease, very few provide attainable or maintainable results long term. After all, weight loss can be difficult to achieve, even on the best of days. 

If you've been struggling to lose those last few pounds, you may have stumbled across a method claiming a specific massage could help with weight loss (via LiveStrong). The idea that a relaxing massage could be a component of your weight loss plan may sound a bit strange. After all, if it were that easy, people would already be doing it right? But there may be more to the science behind using massages to help shed those stubborn pounds than you realize.

Health benefits of massages

Massages are a great way to relax, and even aid in the recovery of sore muscles explains the Mayo Clinic. The term, massage, refers to the pressing, rubbing, and manipulation of the skin, and muscle tissues. The type and pressure of a massage can vary, as can the location of focus.Some common massage types include sports, deep, trigger point or Swedish massage, and reflexology (via WebMD).

Massage therapy is considered a component of integrative medicine, which offers a more holistic approach to preventative and practical care (per Mayo Clinic). Additionally, there are a number of health benefits from receiving a good massage, such as reducing overall stress, easing pain or soreness, lowering heart rate, bringing down blood pressure, and improving immune function and circulation. While weekly or monthly massages may help reduce the pressure from a crazy workday and improve your overall well-being, can they really aid in healthy weight loss?

Can massages help with weight loss?

While massages alone won't give you that summer beach body you've been wishing for, they may be able to assist in the weight loss process. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, lymphatic drainage massage did show a reduction in the thigh and abdomen fat in those with cellulite. After being split up into three different groups, thigh fat thickness and abdomen decreased to 1.66 mm and 2.4 mm in group one, while group two lost 2.21 mm in thighs and 1.78 when it came to their abdomen. Group three concluded the study by losing 3.03 mm in their thighs and 1.23 mm in the stomach.

Nevertheless, the therapeutic benefits of routine massages in your overall health plan may help you make your weight loss goals a little faster than a standard diet and exercise alone (via Women's Health). A massage is often thought of as a luxury or a common splurge. For many, however, the routine incorporation of this act of self-love and care may provide an extra motivational element that makes maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits a bit more manageable. All in all, these factors can impact the overall number you see on the scale.