Are massages just good for treating yourself to relaxation?
Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited 53 healthy adults and assigned 29 of them to a 45 minute session of deep-tissue massage, and the other 24 to a session of Swedish massage.
The subjects were all fitted with intravenous catheters so that blood samples could be taken immediately before the massage began, and up to an hour afterward.
To the researchers surprise they found that a single session of massage therapy caused a biological changes.
Subjects who received deep tissue massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Subjects also had increased numbers of white blood cells that are part of the immune system.
Subjects who received Swedish massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment, than the deep tissue massage group. They also received a larger decrease in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.
Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport who lead the study said the findings were “very, very intriguing and very, very exciting- and I’m a skeptic.”
The study was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
There you have it! Massage offers more than just skin deep benefits. What are you waiting for?
You deserve it!
This article was published in the New York Times.
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