Massage & The Immune System


Massage Boosts Your Immune System!!

According to studies, the white blood cell count was significantly raised, which is a positive effect, in subects following as little as a 45minute massage, but was also additive, & sustained during a course of treatments. White blood cells are known as the Natural Killer Cells. They play an important role in defending the body from disease, & can detect virally infected cells, & destroy them.

The practice of massage started around 3000BC, & is evident in written records from ancient China and Eygpt. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, regarded massage highly, & recommended it for injured warriors. Massage went hand in hand in the ancient world as a way to keep your body healthy & fit, & we still regard this as true today. But unfortunately, in today’s high stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often, that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal, which results in chonic stress, & high levels of the stress hormone Cortisol.

Cortisol is a very important hormone, secreted by the adrenal glands, particularly during a stressful time. It takes part in very important functions of the body such as: Metabolism; Blood Pressure Regulation; Immune Function & inflammatory reponse. However, prolonged high levels of cortisol in the blood stream have been shown to have negative effect, such as:

  • impaired cognitive function
  • suppressed thyroid function
  • blood sugar imbalances
  • decreased bone density
  • decrease in muscle tissue
  • higher blood pressure
  • lower immunity & inflammatory responses in the body ie; slow wound healing

I’m sure you’ll agree that keeping white cells up, and cortisol low is very important! A good way to do this is through meditation, excersise and MASSAGE!

Another study on effects of massage by Miami School of Medicine, conducted on women diagnosed with breast cancer, also reported findings of increased levels of Natural Killer Cells, AND increased levels of Dopamine.

What’s so special about Dopamine??

It’s a neurotransmitter in the brain that can help several complex functions within it such as:

  • Memory-balanced levels of dopamine help in improved working memory (if it decreases or increases above normal, memory suffers)
  • Attention- dopamine helps us to focus
  • Cognition- dopamine helps us to problem solve
  • Social Functioning-low levels of dopamine receptors are found in people with social anxiety & phobia
  • Pain-dopamine has analgesic capacity

It’s no wonder that subjects of the study reported feeling less angry, less depressed & having more vigor after a course of massage therapy!!!!