Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions revolve around losing weight. These are also some of the easier resolutions to fall into arrears on, especially after you leave the first month of the year. For many people, the issue stems not from a lack of self-control but from a lack of direction. Other than diet and exercise, what you should and should not include in your process isn’t always clear. Because of that, many people are surprised to hear that massage can help with their weight loss journeys.
Let’s be clear about one thing. Don’t confuse this with spammy advertisements claiming that adding one thing to your life will instantly melt away the pounds without any effort on your part. As with any goal, hard work is still required. But massage can augment things you’re already doing to help you lose weight. Whether you started in January or long before, here’s why you should include massage in your weight loss regimen.
When a person decides they want to lose weight, their first step is typically joining a gym. This is embodied by the surge of gym memberships that always occurs at the start of the year. Massage comes packed with benefits for your workout, especially if you’re new to exercise.
Reduces Workout-Related Pain
It’s easy to start working out. What’s difficult is waking up the next day with a dull ache blooming in your muscles and then getting back on the elliptical. This pain, known officially as delayed-onset soreness, comes from a series of small tears throughout the muscles that are trying to heal. People new to exercise are more likely to make mistakes, such as pushing their bodies too hard or straining a muscle. Both can cause pain that can make it hard to keep working out. Enjoying a massage just after a workout can speed healing by reducing tension and improving circulation to the injured areas.
Improves Range of Motion
Along with helping you recover from past workouts, massage can also help you prepare for future workouts. As you work the muscles with massage, tension releases and flexibility improves. The same occurs in the tendons, joints, and connective tissue. This gives you greater mobility, allowing you to perform your next workout even better than before.
Changing their eating habits is the next step in most people’s weight loss plans. Massage can help you get the most out of your diet.
The effects of massage go deeper than the muscles themselves. Massage also affects the gastrointestinal system, supporting several key functions, such as:
- Producing digestive enzymes
- Improving movement within intestines
- Releasing tension within organs
- Improving waste elimination
These effects allow the body to break down foods and absorb them more effectively. They also help the digestive system pass food out of the body. Some people who switch suddenly to healthy diets find themselves battling constipation, and regular massage can help them avoid this problem. All of this detoxifies the body, improving overall mood.
As it relates to weight loss, metabolism describes the process in which your cells break down the fats, sugars, and nutrients into energy and other substances the body can use. People who have “fast metabolisms” have the ability to turn food into energy at a higher rate, and they thus tend not to gain weight as quickly. One way to increase your metabolism is to improve your circulation. And because massage improves circulation, it can help the body burn calories and absorb nutrients more effectively.
Health Conditions That Cause Weight Gain But That Massage Can Help
Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)
The thyroid is a small gland located at the base of the neck, just under the Adam’s apple for men. Its main function is to release hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. For people with hypothyroidism, their thyroids are “underactive.” In other words, they don’t produce enough hormones, causing the body’s metabolism to slow down. This can make weight loss more difficult. Fortunately, because of massage’s role in helping circulation and metabolism, massage can also support the thyroid.
Someone who has diabetes has perpetually high blood sugar. To manage this, people with diabetes have to take insulin, which helps their bodies absorb the excess blood sugar. However, insulin often absorbs too much blood sugar, which is then converted into fat. Nothing can replace insulin itself for managing blood sugar levels. However, massage has been known to lower glucose levels, helping people sustain their blood sugar levels.
Other Factors That Affect Weight
Most people have experienced food cravings during moments of intense stress. That’s because when you’re stressed, your body produces the hormone cortisol. This hormone has a number of side effects, including increased appetite and cravings, specifically for high-calorie foods. This leads to habits such as extra snacking or binge-eating. Finding ways to reduce stress can help you kick these bad habits, and one of the ways you can do that is through massage. Massage directly reduces cortisol levels, allowing you to feel more relaxed.
Another condition that builds bad snacking habits is a lack of sleep. Food is energy, after all. And when your body hasn’t gotten enough energy via sleep, your body may seek to replenish that energy with food. That’s one of the reasons why people tend to turn to comfort food when they’re tired. Along with this, some research suggests that sleep disorders can negatively affect metabolism. This is bad news if you have insomnia and you’re trying to lose weight. Fortunately, massages are designed to promote relaxation by reducing tension and increasing the production of serotonin, which leads to an increase in melatonin. All of this helps get your body’s sleep rhythms back to a healthy schedule and keep sleep cravings at bay.
Weight loss is a challenging goal, but for anyone stepping up to the challenge, we want you to be aware of all the tools available to you. At Relaxacare, we have award-winning Homedics massage equipment and other health and wellness products.