You’ve had a fabulous holiday season - you’ve enjoyed your family and friends, the presents were wonderful and as always, you had plenty to eat and drink! The only trouble is, now you’re faced with your annual weight gain and your annual New Year’s resolution to get it off and get back in shape! Of course, the first thing on your mind is to start dieting and to get into a regular exercise schedule. You know eating right and exercise are two sure-fired ways to recover from the holiday fun. Now, there’s a new addition to your annual “get back in shape” plan – this year add therapeutic massage to your New Year’s resolution. Scientists now confirm what massage therapists have always known: massage can be a powerful and effective weight-loss tool. Massage is known to lower stress, improve circulation, increase mobility and speed recovery from overdoing it at the gym. Here’s how massage therapy specifically applies to your weight loss plan. Massage improves circulation and the supply of nutrients to the muscles. After muscles are exercised, vital nutrients must be supplied to them so that they can recover and rebuild themselves. Massage maximizes the supply of these nutrients and oxygen through increased blood flow, which helps the muscles grow and burn more calories. Massage also helps break down scar tissue built up from damage to the muscles, which further helps circulation as well as mobility. Also, massage helps flush toxins from the body, meaning your body can focus on the healthy foods you are eating and not the environmental toxins that build up over time, and especially during the holidays. For those on an aggressive workout schedule, massage can greatly improve your flexibility and range of motion. This will make you less likely to hurt yourself, meaning more productive and pain-free hours in the gym which will result in greater calorie burn. Massage also helps reduce soreness by stretching, kneading and rubbing the muscles to keep them loose. With all this, there’s no taking off days from the gym, rather it’s easy to stay on a normal workout schedule. If you’re new to massage or one who’s gained more than a few pounds during the holiday festivities, it’s understandable if you feel a little self-conscious about disrobing for a massage. But don’t worry, massage therapists are sensitive to your feelings and realize that nudity is the number one concern for many people experiencing a massage. Massage therapists are used to seeing all shapes, sizes and conditions of the body and they have an entirely clinical perspective, no different than any other health-care giver. Additionally, all clients are discretely draped under a sheet with only one body part being uncovered at a time. Of course, you can always undress to your level of comfort, leaving on portions of your clothing or undergarments. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or a diet of any sort, always consider incorporating massage into your weight-loss routine with a bi-weekly or weekly treatment. Losing weight is never easy. But thankfully it’s simple to incorporate massage in the healthy lifestyle that you’re building and to make it a regular on-going part of your life. It’s also a good idea to talk to your massage therapist or a doctor up front to let them know your weight loss goals, fitness routine and to determine how often you are getting massage. Don’t be surprised if there are more massages recommended at the beginning of your plan – this is normal and helps your massage therapist know your body’s way of handling stress and exertion. Regular massage is just as important a component as a regular workouts and correct nutrition in any fitness and weight loss program. Elements Therapeutic Massage will work with you to create a plan for regular, ongoing massage therapy sessions that will fit with your budget and your schedule.