The Perfect Reward

Not only does getting a massage or acupuncture help you relax, but studies show that they also support your fitness training or weight loss program making them the perfect rewards for a week of good habits.

Studies show that massage therapy reduces stress, increases mental alertness and self esteem.  Some forms of massage help muscles recover faster and have been used to help people overcome serious addictions or insomnia.

You don’t even need a masseuse to get the benefits of a massage. A study reported by Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed that machine-assisted massage therapy used to increase circulation and heighten body contour. The study was based on 85 women (ages 21 to 61) with various body types and weights. Half-way through the 14-session study 46 women experienced a body circumference reduction of 1.34 cm and after the final session 39 women showed a reduction of 1.83 cm. Weight changes were not included in the report, which means diet was not a factor.

Here, Jillian Michaels breaks down the different types of massage and their benefits.  Jillian has a free video series on Youtube called the Daily Dose (just search Jillian Michaels Daily Dose), where she offers simple workout and dieting tips to viewers every day.

Acupuncture works in a similar way to massage in that it has been used to reduce anxiety and promote healing.  The International Journal of Obesity published a review of 31 studies on the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of obesity.  The systematic review was comprised of 3013 individual cases where acupuncture was used to reduce body weight.  The results showed that compared to control of lifestyle, acupuncture was associated with a significant reduction of average body weight of 1.72 kg and was associated with an improvement in obesity. Acupuncture significantly reduced a body weight of 1.56 kg on average, compared to placebo or sham treatments. Acupuncture also showed more improved outcomes for body weight than conventional medication.

Unlike massage however, acupuncture is not something you can do from home!

Rewarding yourself for small successes is crucial to making long term changes in your life.  Ideally, you want your rewards to be meaningful to you, immensely enjoyable, and supportive of the lifestyle you wish to achieve.

Related post: Building New Habits