Massage and your Immune System

I recently got tagged on Facebook by a friend telling me to watch a video showing and immune response following massage. I have always known that one of the many benefits of massage includes boosting your immune system, but this blog will give you all a little insight.

Massage and Immune response

A study covered by the BBC shows that compared to baseline results, after a massage the participants showed a 70% boost in white blood cells.

“The immune system is complex, and it’s not simply the case that increasing the white blood cell count in a person who already has healthy levels will improve their health. However T-lymphocytes do perform a wide array of functions in the body involved with growth and repair, which could in part explain why massage has been reported to help with so many conditions.”

This is one study, but that is a significant increase in white blood cells, even if you’re health it is important to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Massage is a simple way to help you stay fit and healthy.

Massage and Stress

It’s a fact that high level of stress makes you more prone to injury and illness. Reduction of stress, is another benefit of massage. Stress increases your heart rate, you create more stress hormone cortisol, which leads increased blood pressure, headaches, lack of focus and sleep issues (I could name more). These all effect our immune system and make you physically ill.

Research has shown that receiving regular massage therapy helps boost our immune system and increase blood flow throughout the body. Massage increases the activity of white blood cells that help our body fight diseases and may help with reduction of cortisol.

Massage is a complementary therapy to conventional health care. It’s not meant to take place of, or stop you seeing, a health care provider for any medical or mental issues. Here are a few tips for reducing stress and boosting your immune system.

Massage and the Cancer

This is an area I am really interested in, can massage help cancer patients?

This study consisted of 34 post-surgery breast cancer patients, diagnosed with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer. They were divided into a massage therapy group receiving 30-minute massages three times per week for five weeks and a control group.

On the first and last day of the study, participants were assessed for both their psychological state and levels of immune system markers in their urine samples. The study found that immediate effects of massage therapy included reduced anxiety levels, depression and anger, while longer-term benefits showed direct impact on the body’s immune markers — such as increased dopamine, improved serotonin values and better lymphocyte levels.

They concluded that breast cancer patients experience significantly improved immune, NK-cells (natural killer cell) and neuroendocrine function after receiving massage therapy. Therefore, it could be argued that massage does in fact help – it could be psychological help but at the end of the day if it makes a patient feel better then why not give it a go?

Massage and COVID

“There is still so much unknown about the coronavirus, but having a healthy, functioning immune system will always be helpful in reducing the effects of the virus, if contracted, and, could possibly be helpful in prevention of even contracting the virus at all. Because massage therapy aids in improving the immune system, it is generally assumed that it could help reduce the risk of coronavirus infection,” said Vicky Karr LMT, a CE provider and owner of Spa Success.

My Thoughts

Okay, so this is some studies I am sure there are hundreds out there that contradict what I have said but most of the time they all do say there is some evidence of a positive immune response.

I am NOT starting a debate about COVID and massage – but surely if massage helps to keep the population healthy then why are so many spas, massage therapy clinics etc all not allowed to work? I know we need to limit the contact with others, but if we are in full PPE, purchase tests etc then why can’t we continue? (Okay I will stop now)

I for one know that I feel less stressed, more relaxed and generally feel better post massage. It is a holistic approach to your health, even 1 massage has huge benefits so why not give it a go?

I will be opening a waiting list again for when I am allowed to reopen for everyone – keep an eye on my social media to be added to the list.

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