Massages are well known because it’s a great way to relieve tension and stress and promote relaxation, but a new study that was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine has revealed that massages also provide a measurable, therapeutic benefit to the immune system. Dr. Mark Rapaport and his team of researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical center in Los Angeles, California evaluated 53 people, 29 received a 45-minute Swedish massage, one of the most common massages in the U.S. and 24 received a gentle lighter touch massage.
Researchers took blood samples of all participants before and after their massages and found out that those who had the Swedish massage experienced significant, positive change in blood composition.Dr. Rapaport explained “This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you. People often seek out a massage as part of a healthy lifestyle but there hasn’t been enough physiological proof of the body’s heightened immune response following massage until now.”
Other than experiencing an increase in lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help fight and prevent diseases, the Swedish massage group participants experienced a decrease of cortisol levels, cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal gland in the response to stress. The Swedish massage participants also experienced a decrease in arginine vasopressin, a hormone linked to aggressive behavior. So for your own health and benefit get massages often, to avoid the common cold and to keep your body from life’s everyday stress.