Massage and Weight Loss: Too Good to be True?

If something tastes good or feels good, the tendency is often to think, “This can’t be good for me.” Right? Happily, that is not the case with massage for weight loss. 

Indirect Benefits of Massage for Weight Loss

The two most common approaches to weight loss involve exercise and reduction of caloric intake. Indeed, there is a formula (often in flux) about the degree of difference either makes in a weight-loss regimen. The first way massage can be an important part of that plan is by making you more enthusiastic more prepared for your workout. 

If you want to lose weight, most of us know that an approach, whether diet or exercise, must be sustained. You simply can’t lose weight in a short time and then go back to your old habits without seeing the weight (and more) creep back. Exercise, while beneficial, sometimes has consequences. Stiff muscles, new injuries, or scar tissue from old injuries may make us reluctant to continue an exercise program and “fall off the wagon.”

Massage treatment, whether by a professional or from a premium massage chair, can improve both feeling and function in those tired, sore or damaged muscles and ligaments. 

But Wait! There’s More!

While massage is helping improve flexibility and range of motion, it also improves circulation. By improving blood flow to injured or sore muscle tissue, massage promotes healing. Deneen Rhode, a massage therapist who teaches fitness classes, says, “Massage relaxes the nervous system and takes the body into what is known as the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic state is very restorative to the body—it is where the body needs to go to heal itself.” So, massage assists your own healing process and decreases recovery time.

Keep Your Expectations Reasonable

The idea that massage can be part of an effective weight loss program is still somewhat controversial. “Spot” weight loss—the idea that anyone can, by any means, in any program, target fat in a specific part of the body—is widely disputed. And if you encounter grand claims from anyone about fast results with a few treatments, be wary. Commitment to a program and change toward healthier life habits are necessary in any approach. 

But don’t hesitate to add massage treatments—by a technician or from a massage chair—to your plan. When it feels good to be in your body, you are more likely to take additional steps toward sculpting the new you!

Charet, Genevieve P. “Weight Loss and Bodywork.”, 9 Sept. 2016,

Gomez, Alexandria. “Can Massage Therapy Really Help You Lose Weight?” Women’s Health, Women’s Health, 25 May 2018,

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