Massage can improve the functioning of your immune system
Multiple studies, although often small, have linked massage to better functioning of the immune system. In one 2010 study, researchers at Cedars-Sinai's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences found that healthy adults who undergo massage experienced measureable positive changes in their body's immune and endocrine response.
In the study, 29 subjects received 45 minutes of Swedish massage and 24 received 45 minutes of light touch massage. Each participant underwent informed consent, a physical and mental evaluation and was deemed to be physically healthy and free of any mental disorder. Massage therapists were trained in how to deliver both Swedish and light touch massage using specific and identical protocols. Prior to the massage, blood samples were taken form the study participants through intravenous catheters. Then participants were asked to rest quietly for 30 minutes. Following the rest period, blood samples were collected from each person five minutes and one minute before the massage began. At the end of the 45-minute massage session, blood samples were collected at one, five, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes after the massage.
The results: 1-People in the Swedish massage group experienced significant changes in lymphocytes counts and percentages. (Lymphocytes are white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body from infection and disease.) 2-Swedish massage caused a large decrease in Arginine Vasopressin (AVP)- a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior and linked to helping cause increases in the stress hormone, cortisol. 3-Swedish massage caused a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
"This research indicates that massage doesn't only feel good, it also may be good for you," said Dr. Mark Rapaport, MD, the principal investigator of the study. "More research is ahead of us but it appears that a single massage may deliver a measurable benefit."
Read the entire report: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094809.htm
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