The weight loss industry is a thriving one. With the increase in busy schedules, hectic lifestyles and easy availability of fast foods, weight gain and obesity are on the rise. Instead of focussing on eating healthy, with a calorie-controlled diet and getting enough physical activity each day, people are looking for easy and quick fixes in order to lose and maintain weight.
Mechanical massages and many other non-invasive body contouring and weight loss techniques have gained popularity to cater to those looking for quick fixes and immediate results. They use tools that stroke, create friction or vibrate against the skin of the area that it is working on. For example, vibration belts, ultrasonic techniques, electro lipolysis machines, radio frequency, etc. But do they really help? Experts and researchers suggest that such massages can work great as a temporary solution but are not a permanent fix. So, if you are hoping that a massage will help you get rid of your cellulite, decrease your belly fat or shrink your arms and thighs, you are likely to be disappointed.
Dimpling of skin is a result of accumulation of fat, better called cellulite. A massage may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Vigorous massages combined with laser energy or radio waves can improve blood circulation as well as stimulate the movement of lymphatic fluids within the treated area. This may reduce the dimpled appearance of the skin associated with cellulite, but the results are only short-lived. These massages cannot fix the problem permanently. It is believed that mechanical stimulation on the surface of the skin sends a signal deep down to the fat to provoke a physiological response like activation of lipolysis. However, based on the current research evidence, the myth that mechanical massage is an effective treatment for fat loss is busted. It may aid weight loss, provided you cut back on calories.
Improvement in the appearance of cellulite cannot be linked to fat loss. This is because, the massage is not really doing anything to break up the fatty deposit or reduce your body fat percentage. Fat cannot be targeted like in the idea of spot reduction. Massaging a certain area of the body may help to improve the contour for a short period of time, but it is not doing anything to stimulate fat loss. Reducing body fat is another story. The only way you can do this is by a caloric deficit and exercise.
When it comes to weight loss, what you eat matters the most. Losing weight is the perfect combination of a healthy diet and a regular workout. There is no substitute to that for long term weight loss and overall health. Whether manual or mechanical, a massage does nothing to change the way in which your body metabolises food. So, you are not experiencing any increase in the calories you burn. Since calories are key to weight loss, a massage is not able to reduce the size of your waist, thighs or buttocks.
Massages simply knead your skin, muscles and other bodily tissue. There are many wonderful benefits to a massage. They are:
- Reduction in stress levels
- Relaxation of the muscles, lowering muscle tension
- Relief from sore muscles after a workout, reducing stiffness
- Improved blood circulation leading to better metabolism
- Stimulating endorphins resulting in improved mood
- Improved range of motion
- Better sleep
- Keeps the skin firm and supple
Massages done by trained specialists are considered safe. However, in some rare cases, they may cause nerve damage if pressure and technique used is incorrect. It is advisable that people who have a history of medical issues like osteoporosis, fractures, etc. should first consult their doctor before deciding to take any kind of massage.