Massage - a tempting alternative for training or waste of time and money?

Does it make sense to use massage during dieting?

Massage - a tempting alternative for training or waste of time and money?
Written by Our: Morning Runner
Medical Fact Checked by: Dr. Bryan Havoc
Last updated:

Everyone who dreams about slim figure would like to achieve it with minimum exertion. That’s the reason why beauty salons with slimming massage are so tempting. Wouldn’t it be great if we could lie down and let someone massage us and then stand up one kilogram lighter?

To avoid physical exertion we’re willing to pay for everything what is promising a fat tissue loss without getting tired during exercises. Unfortunately most of these wonderful solutions cause only sliming of our budget not waist and thighs. So how is it with a massage?

There are many different kinds of massages - performed manually or with different kinds of devices. Their common feature is that they mainly work on skin, which after massage is warmed up and better supplied with blood.

Some kinds of massage, for example that performed manually, reach deeper - to subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) and muscles. But also here the effect is like with skin - better blood flow, and additionally muscle tissue relaxation. By massage you can also support strengthening of muscles.

Isometric massage is a type of massage perfect for this. It’s performed on a tight muscles and unfortunately it’s not the most pleasant. It’s for people with muscle atrophy and sometimes for sportsmen. It’s also worth to mention that by massage you can help eliminate swellings because it improves lymph circulation.

Muscles and skin with no doubt can enjoy massage. And what about fat tissue? That one located right under the skin is also influenced by the masseur and some massage devices. The result is similar - better blood flow. But what kind of effect does it bring?

For figure of massaged person - unfortunately no effect. But masseur can lose weight thanks to that! Those who are massages just lie down and undergo treatment but their physical exertion equals zero. Masseurs stand and work intensively with their all body and that’s big physical exertion.

Losing fat tissue requires physical exertion because to get rid of fat you have to - colloquially speaking - burn it.

Burning involves the use of fat as energy. The bigger exertion the more energy spent by organism and vice versa.

The truth is that after massage some of body circuits can decrease - for example size of thighs, calf, arms. But this effect is just a result of reduction of swelling, not the reduction of fat tissue volume.

And what about massages performed with complicated equipment, for example ultrasonic?

Such messages are advertised as “breaking” fat. They’re supposed to release fat from fat cells and transport it to lymphatic system where it is supposed to be naturally excreted from the body. Sounds promising but only for those who have slight knowledge about anatomy and physiology of the body, so for most of people. So it’s time for a short lesson about human body.

Fat together with food goes into the digestive system, and then to the blood. Blood transports it to working muscles where it’s converted to energy (burned), or to fat cells where it’s stored as energy reserve, or to the liver which converts it into cholesterol and triglycerides.

The way of fat in other direction, from fat tissue out of the body, looks differently. Fat from fat cells can be released to blood (it’s getting there also from lymphatic system). Blood transports it to the muscles where it’s converted into energy, or to the liver.

Fat from fat tissue never comes back to the digestive system, so it cannot be excreted along with undigested food.

It’s not filtered from blood by kidneys neither. So fat cannot be excreted with urine. Do you know any other ways of natural excretion? Removal of carbon dioxide from breathing and sweating comes to our mind. Is it possible to get rid of fat by one of these ways? No.

And what happens with the fat which goes to lymphatic system, so with that released during for example ultrasolar massage? The lymphatic system is connected with circulatory system, but it doesn’t have its own pump as circulatory system has in heart. Lymph from all body parts is collected by lymphatic vessels and it goes to veins, and then to the heart as a blood component.

So it goes to the same place where the fat absorbed from the digestive system - to the blood, and from there to muscles, fat tissue and liver. So if it won’t be used up by muscles or liver, it will go back to the fat tissue.

So does it make sense to use massage during dieting?

Of course it is! Massage can help a lot with keeping skin elastic and as we know, skin after losing a lot of extra kilograms can lose elasticity. Therefore, to have a satisfying slimming effect it’s worth to add massage to the diet and exercises. Exercises will eliminate fat tissue and massage will improve skin elasticity.

Extra advantage of massage is that it brings your body to the state of relax, which prevents excessive secretion of cortisol - stress hormone which causes fat tissue deposition around belly. So massage can be a really helpful element of slimming process, which still it should be based on the diet and exertion.


*This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.