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Massage Therapy Boosts Your Immune System

Research shows that a massage can boost your immune system and increase the production of white blood cells. This helps fight off germs and bacteria that can cause various diseases.

Massage Therapy

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Many people struggle with high levels of stress in their lives. Whether it is due to work, family, health, or other factors, it is important to relieve stress as much as possible. Massage therapy has proven to be an effective way of relieving stress and improving overall mental health. This is why it is included in many wellness and fitness programs. During a massage, the body naturally activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the body’s main pathway to calm the mind and body during stressful times. This relaxation helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, which are common side effects of stress.

The ambiance of a massage spa can help reduce stress hormones as soon as you walk in the door. This includes soothing music, relaxing lighting, and aromatherapy. This atmosphere coupled with the personal attention from your massage therapist can significantly lower stress levels. The kneading and gentle pressure of a massage can also relieve stress by stimulating the release of serotonin, which is the brain’s inherent “happy” hormone. This hormone promotes mood stability and aids in essential functions like eating, digestion, and sleep.

During a massage, the body also experiences decreased blood pressure, which is another natural stress reducer. In addition, the body’s epinephrine and norepinephrine levels are reduced during massage. Epinephrine is a chemical that is triggered by psychological stress and increases heart rate and blood pressure, while norepinephrine is a calming hormone that decreases heart rate and blood pressure.

Massage can also increase the immune system, which is another way that it reduces stress. Stress can wear down the immune system, causing it to take longer to recover from illness or injury. This lowered immune response can lead to more stress, as the body is less able to fight off infection. Massage can help boost the immune system, which can lead to lower stress levels and a healthier, happier life.

So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try scheduling a massage. Even if you only have one session, the benefits can be long-lasting. The key is to communicate with your therapist if you need more or less pressure, if the music is too loud, or if any part of the massage is uncomfortable.

Relieves Anxiety

Most people who have had a massage can attest to its stress-relieving powers. The scientific reason behind this is quite simple—massage elicits a physical relaxation response, slowing down your heart and breathing rates. It also induces an emotional connection and can foster mindfulness, two strategies that help alleviate anxiety.

This occurs through the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers and painkillers, which counteract the body’s natural stress responses. At the same time, massage reduces cortisol levels, another primary stress hormone.

In addition, massage relieves tension and soothes the nervous system by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming your body and mind. When you have an anxiety disorder, your sympathetic nervous system is constantly triggered, keeping you in the “fight or flight” state that often leads to panic attacks and chronic tension.

Studies have shown that massage can lower both trait and state anxiety in those with generalized anxiety disorder. In one study, 68 people with generalized anxiety disorder were randomized to receive either therapeutic massage, thermotherapy or relaxing room therapy for ten sessions over three months. The results showed that patients in the massage group saw greater improvements in their Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale than the control group.

While this is promising, it’s important to note that more research is needed on how massage specifically helps those with anxiety disorders. However, this is a promising start, and it’s a great way to complement other forms of treatment.

The human touch that is inherent in most massages also serves to make you feel cared for, which can ease some of the more underlying psychological issues that cause anxiety. This can help you build trust with your care providers and may even be a precursor to talking about more difficult or sensitive psychological issues that are associated with your anxiety disorder.

There are many types of massage, and the best type for you depends on your symptoms and what you’re looking to get out of the experience. Remedial massage uses the kneading, tapping and pinching techniques to release tight muscles and promote relaxation. Chinese massage, on the other hand, uses acupuncture-like pressure points to release energy and calm the mind.

Reduces Pain

A massage therapist manipulates the soft tissues of your body to release tight muscles. This relieves the pain caused by spasms and contractions, and improves flexibility and range of motion. It also helps reduce chronic pain by stimulating the release of endorphins, hormone-like substances that function as natural painkillers.

The specialized touch of massage releases tension from the muscles and tendons that can cause joint pain, back problems, headaches and muscle aches. It can also help reduce the chronic stress that can lead to these issues. In fact, a recent study found that massage decreases the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that contributes to inflammation and stress. The massage therapist can also help to increase the flow of lymphatic fluid, which clears toxins from the body and supports the immune system.

Studies have shown that massage is able to alleviate chronic pain by interfering with the transmission of painful messages to the brain. In addition, it can increase the flow of blood to the area, thereby reducing swelling and limiting inflammation. Massage therapy can also help prevent a vicious cycle where pain and muscle guarding cause the pain to intensify.

Another way that massage can help with pain relief is by relieving the pressure on nerves. This happens when the muscles are tight and tense, they compress the nerves around them. By loosening the muscles and increasing circulation, the nerves are no longer compressed and can send normal signals to the brain. The heightened blood flow allows nutrients, oxygen and other vital substances to reach the muscle cells and allow them to function normally.

Besides releasing endorphins, massage has been shown to promote relaxation and enhance mood. It can be especially beneficial for people with mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. A massage can also help them to feel cared for, which makes them more open and receptive to treatment options and counseling. It can also encourage communication between patients and their medical providers, as it fosters a sense of trust. This is particularly important for hospitalized patients who may be dealing with stressful situations and conditions, such as dementia or a terminal illness.

Boosts Immune System

Many factors can negatively affect the immune system, including stress, lack of sleep, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle. Fortunately, massage therapy has been proven to improve immune function, thanks to its ability to relieve chronic muscle tension and pain. Regular massage reduces the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that decreases immunity, and it increases the body’s production of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. It also improves the circulation of lymph, which eliminates toxins from the body and boosts the immune system’s natural defense mechanisms against infection.

The sedative effects of massage also help to promote a good night’s rest, which is another factor that improves immunity. A study by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that people who regularly get a massage have higher levels of white blood cells, which are the body’s first line of defense against germs and infections.

While a relaxing massage is the primary reason most people get a massage, this type of massage isn’t necessarily the best for boosting immunity. Deep tissue and shiatsu massage are more beneficial for immunity, as these types of massage involve finger pressure on specific points along the energy pathways, or meridians, that run throughout the body. They can also be augmented with the use of essential oils that have immunoenhancing properties, such as eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender.

During a massage, the manipulation of muscles stimulates the release of happy hormones and stabilizes neurotransmitters, thereby improving immune function. It also helps to boost the activity of natural killer cells, which are responsible for attacking and killing cancer cells and other pathogens.

When choosing a massage type for immunity, you’ll want to avoid the overly vigorous techniques that may cause inflammation and increase stress levels. Aromatherapy massage, in particular, can be very effective for immunity as it uses a combination of both physical manipulation and therapeutic aromatic oils that have been shown to be helpful for the immune system. Incorporating massage into your health routine can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body, but it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before starting a new massage regimen to ensure that it won’t interfere with any existing conditions or medications you may be taking.