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The Secret Benefits of Massage

The Easiest Way to Combat Stress & Fight Fat
  -- By Mike Kramer, Staff Writer

Just got a professional massage yesterday. First one ever. Swedish. Unbelievable relaxation. Took me out of my daily chaos and melted me right into the table. Sound faded into a shadowy haze. Muscles reawakened. Ability to speak--gone.

In other words, I liked it.

It's true what we're learning. Stress can cause you to store fat right where you want it the least--in the belly. And what fights stress better than a luxurious massage? It may be the single most enjoyable way to keep the weight off.

If you think adding massage to your lifestyle sounds too good to be true, let's look at how and why it works:

High Anxiety = Heavy Anxiety
Tension and stress lead directly to weight gain. Stress produces the cortisol hormone. Cortisol, besides causing major damage to tissue and nerves when stored up, also signals the production of insulin. Some extra insulin sounds harmless enough, except that it tells your body to store fat in the abdomen, as more and more studies are showing.

To fight this, you can either burn off the cortisol through exercise (still recommended by the way), or keep it from producing in the first place by staying relaxed. Like, say, through a massage.

Junk Food Is No Accident
Storing more fat isn't the only outcome of needless insulin production. It also causes you to crave sugary, high carb foods and snacks. So maybe those traumatic urges to binge aren't just in your head. They're biological reactions to stress.

You get hit with a double whammy. While stress is promoting fat storage, it's also getting you to eat more food that can easily turn into fat. More massage means fewer munching binges.

TLC For Your Muscles
Finally, the touch and pressure of massage stimulates blood flow and may help boost your metabolism. You can actually feel your body temperature rise during a massage. And we all know what a higher metabolism can do for keeping weight off. Not only that, but the contact loosens your muscles, which helps with muscle tone and appearance.

This has all convinced me to get another massage, soon. Sure, it comes with great mental benefits of well-being, peacefulness and human connection. But next time, I'll also feel good that I'm not just enjoying myself - I'm working hard to fight that fat!