We all know that massage feels good, but new evidence suggests that it can be even better for your health than previously thought. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles noted that while some small studies had shown the health benefits of massage, their larger investigation revealed that Swedish massage triggers measurable and beneficial changes to both endocrine and immune system responses. The researchers recruited 53 physically healthy volunteers who had no mental disorders and divided them into two groups: 29 of the volunteers received 45 minutes of Swedish massage while 24 received 45 minutes of light touch massage. Prior to massage, all the participants were fitted with intravenous catheters so that blood samples could be taken at intervals before and after massage. Results showed significant changes in lymphocytes, white blood cells that are key players in immune system responses; a large decrease in a hormone (arginine vassopressin) believed to play a role in aggressive behavior and linked to prompting increases in the stress hormone cortisol; a decrease in cortisol levels, and a decrease in inflammatory cytokines, which are immune system mediators.
Other health benefits of massage.