Health & Wellness Articles

The Secret Benefits of Massage

The Easiest Way to Combat Stress & Fight Fat


Just got a professional massage yesterday. First one ever. Swedish. Unbelievable relaxation. Took me out of my daily chaos and melted me right into the table. Sound faded into a shadowy haze. Muscles reawakened. Ability to speak--gone.

In other words, I liked it.

It's true what we're learning. Stress can cause you to store fat right where you want it the least--in the belly. And what fights stress better than a luxurious massage? It may be the single most enjoyable way to keep the weight off.

If you think adding massage to your lifestyle sounds too good to be true, let's look at how and why it works:

High Anxiety = Heavy Anxiety
Tension and stress lead directly to weight gain. Stress produces the cortisol hormone. Cortisol, besides causing major damage to tissue and nerves when stored up, also signals the production of insulin. Some extra insulin sounds harmless enough, except that it tells your body to store fat in the abdomen, as more and more studies are showing.

To fight this, you can either burn off the cortisol through exercise (still recommended by the way), or keep it from producing in the first place by staying relaxed. Like, say, through a massage.

Junk Food Is No Accident
Storing more fat isn't the only outcome of needless insulin production. It also causes you to crave sugary, high carb foods and snacks. So maybe those traumatic urges to binge aren't just in your head. They're biological reactions to stress.

You get hit with a double whammy. While stress is promoting fat storage, it's also getting you to eat more food that can easily turn into fat. More massage means fewer munching binges.

TLC For Your Muscles
Finally, the touch and pressure of massage stimulates blood flow and may help boost your metabolism. You can actually feel your body temperature rise during a massage. And we all know what a higher metabolism can do for keeping weight off. Not only that, but the contact loosens your muscles, which helps with muscle tone and appearance.

This has all convinced me to get another massage, soon. Sure, it comes with great mental benefits of well-being, peacefulness and human connection. But next time, I'll also feel good that I'm not just enjoying myself - I'm working hard to fight that fat!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Page 1 of 1  
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

Member Comments

  • Wish there was an affordable ebswer yo thid.
    Thanks for posting some of the health benefits of getting a massage. I didn't really think about how massage could help with high anxiety. It makes sense because it is supposed to relieve stress and make you more comfortable. I will have to keep this in mind next time I am stressed. Thanks for the help!
  • Love getting them, but I especially enjoy the "hot stones" therapy during the message session!!! Nothing beats that for me.

    Thanks for reminding me of how good massages really are!!!
  • I purchased a book Called the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook that was extreamly educational and showed me where to locate my trigger points and how to properly massage them myself. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn how to manage and diminish their own pain without having to see someone else and pay expensive fees. It wasn't to difficult to understand or learn and with a little practice you can relieve your own pain and feel mobility once again.
  • I've been getting regular professional massages for 15 yrs now. They really help relieve my muscle pain and tension. I think the author is a bit overly optimistic in his assertions that massage can prevent weight gain or even aid in weight loss. I do not believe this is true, except maybe indirectly--- people are less likely to stress eat when relaxed. Whether or not massage helps with weight control, I recommend it.
  • I love them. My hubby aalways give me one. It feel so great.
  • Ahhh luv a massage!
  • Massage = high anxiety for me. I don't like strangers touching me.
  • Tips for communicating with your MT-
    Know your goal for that session. If it is relaxation, great. If it is mostly relaxation and relieving tension in your upper back and shoulders, great!

    Let your therapist know your workout schedule and a basic idea of what you do. If you compete, that schedule is important. You don't want a 90 minute Swedish session the day before a race.

    Once on the table or mat, let the therapist know if you want more or less pressure. If your therapist hits a sore spot, let her/him know. Likely it was noticed, but verification is nice.

    After the massage, drink water.
    Fluids have been moved all over your body.

    And to respond to the lactic acid comment.
    It is true that massage within an hour of exercise moves lactic acid, basically wringing it from the muscle fibers.
    After an hour the metabolic system has cleared it up.
    Other waste products are present, and can be moved with massage.
    Post event massage in the two to 24 hour period is not clearing lactic acid in healthy people. It isn't present.
    I agree,its makes sense,we eat more when stressed,we exercise less,our body has more aches and pains,its a vicious circle ! As well as a good massage I advocate 'a time out meditation'..a walk in the woods or by sea works wonders,eyes shut listening to some medative music whilst laying on my bed also does it for me..its finding a time to find that space where we can be still and peaceful and relaxation is automatic. Thank you for this article
  • I agree. Massages are great. I did a two hour massage the other day and was in heaven. Wish I had the time and money to do that every week.
  • I have Fibromyalgia and for me, a massage is the greatest thing ever! The Winter months really make me hurt worse,and I try to schedule a massage every other week. I found a great therapist that does deep tissue, and because I go so often, she cuts me a nice break on the price. The trick is to find someone who is able to massage you the way you like. I think I went through 10 people before we connected. It will be worth the effort to finally have some relief and relaxation.
  • I can't tolerate a regular massage but did very well with a massage water bed my chiropractor had in her office. The warm water pulsates against your body amazingly, and the speed and pressure can be adjusted. The pulses move from your ankles to your head (and the bed can also be set to target specific areas) and back again. My dear chiro said it releases so many toxins, she urged patients to drink at least 4 glasses of water afterwards.

    Several months after my beloved died, my chiro gave me a gift certificate for a therapeutic massage from an excellent practioner, but I was in such a state of meltdown, she could barely touch me.

    I just want to highly recommend the massage bed for those who cannot tolerate a massage from a person. I have no idea how you find out where you can find one!
  • I love this line of reasoning....I'm going to schedule a massage for next week and think of it as a necessary expense towards my weight loss goals. Thanks, Mike!
  • TMR0011
    I agree. I'd have a massage daily if I could afford it. So considering that a decent massage is easily going to run you $60; is there any information on how often you need to get a massage to receive the benefits written about in the article? Somehow I don't think my twice a year splurge gets it done.

About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

x Lose 10 Pounds by September 1! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.