A good massage can do wonders to decrease your stress level, relax tense muscles, and help you get a better night’s sleep. Countless studies have been done on the positive impact massage therapy has on the body, and the evidence continues to grow. Massage therapy is so good for so many reasons and is safe for all ages and most health conditions.
One of the areas in which massage therapy can make a difference is with your immune system. When we experience a great deal of stress or even depression, our immune system can be affected. We may see it as “coming down with something,” but it may be our body’s way of responding to a trauma or chaos. Millions of Americans suffer from some type of autoimmune disease, about 20% of the population, according to The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. When an immune system is functioning properly, the body is protected as the system defends against viruses and bacteria. When the immune system is not functioning as it should, there can be a delay in illness recovery and little or no response to treatment for infections.
Massage therapy is a healthy, natural way to feel relaxed and less stressed. But it can also give a boost to your immune system.
Massage Therapy and Immune System Boost
Science backs up the idea that massage therapy may give your immunity a boost by upping T-cell activity (those cells that help us fight viruses). In a study involving adults who received a Swedish massage, researchers saw a decrease in AVP, a hormone associated with aggressive behavior. The conclusion was that Swedish massage provides measurable biologic effects, and if carried out properly, massage therapy may aid in a healthy immune system.
In a separate 2012 study which looked at the effects of massage therapy on preterm infants, daily massage resulted in an increase of NK (natural killer) cells. NK cells are an important part of the immune system, providing aid to cells infected with viruses.
Massage as Alternative Medicine
As massage therapy is offered as a complementary and alternative form of care, scientific studies prove the benefits for several complaints:
- Tissue injuries
- Joint pain
Of course, any type of treatment you seek for a specific condition should be discussed with your physician first. Always choose a reputable professional who is licensed, certified, or state-registered. Ask friends and family for recommendations, and do not be afraid to ask questions about the professional’s training and experience. Your massage time should be beneficial, not painful, and you should feel free to speak up if there is any level of discomfort.
For a Better, Healthier You
Massage therapy is a great way for you to take control of your health and well-being. Whether it’s for a boost to your immune system, a way to relieve stress, or as a cure for tight muscles, massage can be a powerful tool in your desire to stay healthy and live well.