Woman Goes Viral for Flat Stomach Technique but Experts Warn Against It


Looking for a simple way to get a flat stomach? One woman in a viral TikTok video has said that routine massaging of her abdominal area has helped her get a toned tummy.

The clip was posted by Alessandra Leon (@missalessandraleon on TikTok), a content creator based in Miami, and has received more than 4 million views. The footage shows her massaging her stomach area with her hands using circular and vertical motions. Leon is later seen massaging her stomach using different wood tools to flatten out the area. A caption shared with the post reads: “Routine #woodtherapy #routine #snatched.”

Leon told Newsweek that she added these massage moves to her “healthy routine” lifestyle. The massages have been 100 percent effective in helping her stomach look more toned and flat. However, Leon added “this is not a magic pill… you need to add exercises and eat healthier.”

From left: Alessandra Leon, posing in a bikini on a beach; and a woman with her hands over her stomach. A video has gone viral on TikTok of the content creator in Miami saying that routine massaging of her abdominal area has helped her get a flat tummy.
Provided by Alessandra Leon @missalessandraleon on TikTok; iStock / Getty Images Plus

The video says these techniques are used for lymphatic drainage and help with shaping the waist area. Lymphatic drainage is a form of massage used to relieve swelling in parts of the body due to a retention of fluid left behind after blood is sent to your tissues and organs.

Seth Forman, a licensed massage therapist (LMT) based in New York, told Newsweek: “While massage can have various health benefits, it’s important to approach claims like these with caution.”

Adam Cardona, an LMT and certified personal trainer based in New York, told Newsweek that “achieving a flat stomach does not solely rely on massage or lymphatic drainage. In fact, one could argue it does not have an overall long-term effect.”

Can Massaging Your Stomach Give You Flat Abs?

Previous research has shown a link between obesity and lymphatic function and how massaging may help with bloating.

A May 2020 study published in Frontiers in Physiology explained that the lymphatic system has many functions, including fat absorption and the regulation of immune responses.

The study said “impaired lymphatic function in obesity may contribute to the pathology of obesity in other organ systems in a feed-forward manner by increasing low-grade tissue inflammation and the accumulation of inflammatory cytokines [small proteins that are important for immune system cells].”

A February 2015 study in Taiwan, conducted among patients with malignant ascites (fluid buildup in the belly often due to severe liver disease), saw patients be administered a 15-minute gentle abdominal massage, using straight rubbing, point rubbing, and kneading, twice daily for three days.

The results of the study, which was published in the Research in Nursing and Health journal, found that the abdominal massage improved various symptoms, with the greatest effect on perceived bloating.

LMT and certified personal trainer Cardona, who is the owner of Elite Healers Sports Massage in New York City, said: “The human body is complex, and there’s no universal solution for achieving a flat stomach or specific fitness goals.”

Cardona added that massage treatments, including abdominal massage, offer “overall well-being benefits,” such as relaxation, improved circulation, and stress reduction.

He said that lymphatic drainage can have short-term effects, such as reducing temporary bloating and “creating the illusion of a flatter stomach.”

However, “achieving and maintaining long-term fitness involves diet, exercise, genetics, and lifestyle factors,” Cardona added. “It’s also important to remember throughout your fitness journey that what works for one person may not work the same way for another.”

LMT Forman agreed, stating: “Achieving a flat stomach typically requires a combination of factors, including appropriate dietary habits, regular exercise, sleep, and overall lifestyle choices.

“While certain massage techniques may promote relaxation and help with bloating temporarily, they are unlikely to be the sole reason behind a flat stomach. Consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert for a well-rounded approach to achieving your fitness goals,” Forman said.

‘This Is Not a Magic Pill’

Leon says in the video that many claim she has had a “BBL [Brazilian butt lift]” or some other surgery, or that her flat stomach is down to her family genes.

However, the content creator told Newsweek: “I do exercises and eat healthy.” She added that “wood therapy was something I added into my healthy routine.”

For over five years, Leon regularly went to a medical spa, where she realized this massage technique worked. She wanted to see if doing it at home on a daily basis would be more helpful and said she saw results.

Leon’s meals look different throughout the week, consuming fewer carbohydrates on Mondays and Tuesdays, and she also does intermittent fasting. Her exercise routine typically entails 30-minute cardio sessions and an hour of strength-training with weights, she added.

While she never had a belly, Leon said that she has lost 10 pounds so far and has had a flat stomach for about a year now. “It was very hard to lose the bottom part of the stomach to be flat.”

The footage in the latest clip shows Leon massaging her abdominal area, pushing her palms flat against her stomach in a vertical downward motion. She is later seen using several wood tools to massage her stomach area.

When using her hands to massage the area, she goes at a slow and nice pace, the voice said, so “the poop and pee that I have is gonna go down,” she says in the clip.

Leon said that doing these massages for around five minutes a day “will send me to the bathroom.”

When she uses the wooden tools to massage the same area, she goes a little harder. The cylindrical wood tool is used to break the fat, while the flatter tool is for lymphatic drainage.

Leon also wears a corset-type waist device while working out to help shape the stomach area, doing 30 to 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, she says in the clip. The footage shows the woman doing several jumping lunges on a balcony.

Leon is later seen in a bodysuit, which is from Skims, the bodywear brand. She is also seen wearing a waist ring over the bodysuit to further help shape the waist, the voice says as the video concludes.

Leon warned that the stomach massaging will help, but this is not a magic pill.

She said: “Maybe if you’re bloated or have water retention, yes, it will help you. But you need to add exercises and eat healthier.”

Do you have a fitness-related tips to share? Let us know via [email protected] and your story could be featured on Newsweek.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here