Conditions treated by therapist using myofascial massage:
- Cellulite reduction
- Collagen retention and production
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Tired, tight or sore muscles
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress relief
- Soft tissue strains
- Sports injuries
The Medical Facts on Fat:
Fat is known to have two main purposes, says Susan Fried, PhD, director of the Boston Obesity and Nutrition Research Center at Boston University and a long-time researcher in the field.
- Fat stores excess calories in a safe way so you can mobilize the fat stores when you’re hungry.
- Fat releases hormones that control metabolism (Metabolism includes all the things your body does to turn food into energy).
Various types of fat — brown, white, subcutaneous, visceral, and belly fat:
Brown Fat (the good fat)
In recent studies, scientists have found that it is not the mostly worthless fat doctors had previously believed. Lean people tend to have more brown fat than overweight people, and that when stimulated it burns calories. Currently, the best way to stimulate brown fat is by applying daily massage; especially to the problem fat storage areas of your body.
Medical scientists now think of brown fat to be more like muscle than like white fat. When activated, as by daily massage, brown fat burns white fat.
It is known that children have more brown fat than adults, and it’s what helps them keep warm. Brown fat stores decline in adults but still help with warmth. “We’ve shown brown fat is more active in people in Boston in colder months”, says Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a research associate at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, leading to the idea of sleeping in chillier rooms to burn a few more calories.
Although leaner adults have more brown fat than heavier people, even their brown fat cells are greatly outnumbered by white fat cells. “A 150-pound person might have 20 or 30 pounds of fat,” Dr. Cypess says. But, “They are only going to have 2 or 3 ounces of brown fat”. However, “that 2 ounces, if maximally stimulated (as by daily myofascial massage), could burn off 300 to 500 calories a day – enough to lose up to a pound in a week”.
Your body has much more white fat than brown. The job of white fat is to store energy and produce hormones that are then secreted into the bloodstream.
Small white fat cells produce a hormone called adiponectin, which makes the liver and muscles sensitive to the hormone insulin, in the process making us less susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. But, when people become overweight (enlarging the white fat cells), the production of adiponectin slows down or shuts down, setting them up for disease, according to Dr. Fried.
Subcutaneous fat is found directly under the skin. It is the fat that is measured to estimate your total body fat. It may not cause as many health problems as other types of fat, specifically the deeper visceral fat. But according to Dr. Fried subcutaneous fat cells, on the tummy, is another story. There is medical evidence that the health problems caused by big tummies lies not only in the deep visceral fat but also with the subcutaneous fat.
Visceral Fat (Belly Fat) – The Most Dangerous
Visceral or “deep” fat wraps around the inner organs and is a major health problem. How do you know if you have it? “If you have a large waist or belly, of course you have visceral fat,” states Rachel Whitmer, PhD, research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., who has studied the links between fat and brain health.
Dr. Whitmer says visceral fat drives up your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even dementia. Visceral fat is also known to play a large role in insulin resistance, which boosts the risk of diabetes, and a worse effect on blood lipids, boosting heart attack and stroke risks.
In a study investigating the link between visceral fat and dementia, Dr. Whitmer evaluated the records of more than 6,500 members of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, a large health maintenance organization, for an average of 36 years, from the time they were in their 40s until they were in their 70s.
Dr. Whitmer found that people with the biggest tummies have a higher rate of dementia than those with smaller bellies. The link was true even for people with excess belly fat but overall of normal weight. She speculates that leptin, a hormone released by excess tummy fat, has an adverse effect on the brain. Leptin plays a role in appetite regulation, and in learning and memory.