3 Evidence-Based Massages For Weight Loss

Get rid of those stubborn pounds while releasing tension and strain from your muscles.

By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Weight loss massage is a relaxing way to lose weight and reduce cellulite (1), (2).Research shows that a balanced diet, exercise, and massage designed for weight loss is an effective strategy to lose weight fast (3), (4). Moreover, you will get long-term weight loss benefits. This post tells you how massages work for fat loss and the three scientific ways to massage your body to shed pounds. Read on!

Benefits Of Massaging – Does It Work For Weight Loss?

Fit and athletic woman massaging her arm with a tool

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Massage can stimulate weight loss in many ways. Here’s how they work and the benefits you will reap:

  • Reduces Abdominal Fat: Belly fat is a point of concern for many. Thankfully, a study shows that massaging the abdominal area with aromatic oils 5 days a week helps reduce abdominal fat tissue and waist circumference. It was also found to improve body image (1).
  • Increases Blood Circulation: A full body massage helps increase blood circulation (5). This helps to get rid of the toxic waste in your body and improves metabolism.
  • Tones The Muscles: Weight loss massages can help in toning your body, especially the muscles. They can also decrease stiffness and soreness in the muscles (6).
  • Improves Digestive Functions: A healthy gut also helps in weight loss. Massaging helps stimulate gut activity, thereby improving bowel movement, reducing constipation, and decreasing abdominal pain (7), (8).
  • Reduces Stress: Stress leads to toxin build-up in the body, which can lead to metabolic slowdown and overeating. Massaging helps reduce stress and releases “feel good” hormones (9). This helps reduce the production of hunger hormones and prevents excessive eating (10).
Massage promotes sleep and relaxation which curbs overeating

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  • Improves Sleep Quality: A full-body massage helps relax the muscles. This, in turn, stimulates good-quality sleep. Since sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain, improved sleep quality through massages can help nullify the effects of poor sleep (11).
  • Lower Blood Pressure: High blood pressure due to stress or unhealthy food habits can lead to inflammation and water retention. Deep tissue massage and aromatherapy massage can help lower your high blood pressure (12).
Stylecraze Says
Massages complement exercises. A good massage after an exhausting workout can reduce your muscle tension and stiffness and increase your motion range.

It is clear from these benefits of massaging that it directly or indirectly aids weight loss. The question is, which massages are best for weight loss? Scroll down to learn all about the three most effective massages for weight loss.

3 Effective Massages For Weight Loss Backed By Science

1. Skin Fold And Vacuum Massage For Weight Loss

Woman receiving skin fold massage on the abdominal region

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Cellulite is mainly found in the thighs, hips, and abdominal area. It makes the skin look dimpled. And, getting rid of it can be a task. Thankfully, a skinfold massage can help get rid of cellulite. A vibrating device is used to massage the affected area.

Research shows that a skinfold massage could help smoothen the skin (13). Sixty minutes of vibration massage five times a week also showed promising results in reducing cellulite (14).

Vacuum massage is another non-invasive technique to reduce cellulite. It helps in collagen restructuring, releases tension in the muscles, improves skin elasticity, reduces skinfold thickness, increases collagen, and decreases muscle pain (15). Go to a professional vacuum therapist to do this massage.

2. Lymphatic Massage For Weight Loss

Woman receiving lymphatic massage on legs for drainage of extra fluids

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Lymphatic massage helps in lymphatic drainage, i.e., flushing out extra fluid from the waist, wrist, ankles, and legs. It reduces puffiness and bloating.

A study found that lymphatic drainage massage or manual massage could help reduce thigh and belly fat (16), (17). People who play sports use this massage often to heal injuries (18). For lymphatic massage to be effective for weight loss, you must eliminate unhealthy food from your diet. Get a licensed lymphatic massage therapist to get the massage done on a regular basis.

3. Aromatherapy Massage For Weight Loss

Close up of hands with essential oils for massage

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Aromatherapy massage is a special type of weight loss massage that cuts down the desire to binge eat. It also helps reduce stress. Special aromatic oils made from the extracts of flowers, fruits, leaves, barks, and seeds are used to massage the problem areas or the whole body. One hour of aromatherapy massage with grapefruit oil, cypress oil, and other oils for six weeks was found to help reduce abdominal fat and waist circumference (1).

People who use this massage have often said that they sleep better and have reduced muscle pain. Aromatherapy massage also helps reduce stress and depression (19), (20). This, in turn, can reduce the desire to binge eat or eat nothing at all (which leads to slow metabolism and weight gain) (21), (22).

Did You Know?
Research shows that massages, combined with laser light therapy, are more effective in reducing subcutaneous fat and improving cellulite appearance (23).

Weight loss massages are a great way to reduce excess fat. They can decrease abdominal fat, increase blood circulation, tone the muscles, improve digestive functions, and lower blood pressure. Skinfold massage, lymphatic massage, and aromatherapy massage for weight loss are some effective massage therapies backed by science. However, consult a licensed massage therapist and get the right type of massage for weight loss. They can provide the right guidance to maximize the benefits of massage therapies. Also, regular exercise and eating healthy will help prevent gaining that excess fat back.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do massages burn calories?

Massage helps increase circulation and metabolism. It also improves your range of motion, tones your muscles, and helps you feel rejuvenated to remain physically active enabling you to burn more calories.

Is massage better than exercise?

While there is no direct comparison, massages can help relax your sore muscles after exercise.

Does a massage count as exercise?

No, a massage is not considered an exercise, but it can have similar beneficial effects on your mind and metabolism.

Is massage every day good for you?

Massage helps you destress, improve your mood, and promote relaxation, So a few minutes of massage every day can be pretty beneficial.

Does massage tone your legs?

Yes, massage helps tone your muscles and can help in sculpting your arms and legs.

Is too much massage harmful?

Yes, it could be harmful if done with the wrong technique, posture, or amount of pressure. You should, therefore, be clear in communicating any discomfort or pain during a massage.

Is it bad to shower after a massage?

It is advisable to give some gap and take a shower after about an hour of the massage.

Can massage help slim thighs?

Yes, lymphatic and deep tissue massage can work on the fat and lymph build-up and help tone your thighs, giving a slimming effect.

Should I wear deodorant to a massage?

While perfumes are not recommended before a massage, deodorants are encouraged.

Key Takeaways

  • Massages not only help you relax and destress but also aid weight loss when done right.
  • These massages work on dissolving your cellulite and fat buildup to help you get back in shape.
  • Vacuum massage, aromatherapy massage, and lymphatic massage are a few of the most effective massages for weight loss.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Effect of aromatherapy massage on abdominal fat and body image in post-menopausal women
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17615482/
  2. Effect of Combined Manual Acupuncture and Massage on Body Weight and Body Mass Index Reduction in Obese and Overweight Women: A Randomized Short-term Clinical Trial
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25952121/
  3. Physical and physiological effectiveness of an overall health care program for middle-aged Japanese women with mild obesity: A pilot study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488103/
  4. Use of complementary and alternative medicine for weight control in the United States
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17388764/
  5. Comparison of blood flow changes with soft tissue mobilization and massage therapy
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25420037/
  6. Therapeutic effects of massage and electrotherapy on muscle tone stiffness and muscle contraction following gastrocnemius muscle fatigue
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5300827/
  7. Effects of abdominal massage in management of constipation–a randomized controlled trial
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19217105/
  8. Massage therapies
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071543/
  9. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16162447/
  10. Stress cortisol and other appetite-related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6-month changes in food cravings and weight
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5373497/
  11. The beneficial effects of massage therapy for insomnia in postmenopausal women
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4521661/
  12. Acupoint massage nursing conducive to improve curative effect of the obesity patients who are complicated with hypertension and are treated by oral drugs
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4565394/
  13. The effectiveness of massage treatment on cellulite as monitored by ultrasound imaging
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27333491/
  14. The Impact of Vibration Therapy Interventions on Skin Condition and Skin Temperature Changes in Young Women with Lipodystrophy: A Pilot Study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560364/
  15. The physical and physiological effects of vacuum massage on the different skin layers: a current status of the literature
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027633/
  16. To be or not to be obese: impact of obesity on lymphatic function
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5330919/
  17. Effects of mechanical massage manual lymphatic drainage and connective tissue manipulation techniques on fat mass in women with cellulite
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19627407/
  18. The Effectiveness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage in Patients With Orthopedic Injuries
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26458244/
  19. The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy for Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241490/
  20. Effectiveness of Aromatherapy Massage and Inhalation on Symptoms of Depression in Chinese Community-Dwelling Older Adults
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29565630/
  21. Association of major depression and binge eating disorder with weight loss in a clinical setting
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18070746/
  22. Starvation-induced changes in metabolic rate blood flow and regional energy expenditure in rats
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3779521/
  23. Reduction of subcutaneous fat and improvement in cellulite appearance by dual-wavelength, low-level laser energy combined with vacuum and massage https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19093288/
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Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

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