If you’ve ever gotten a massage before, you must have a good idea of how relaxing it is. The feeling of being touched in the points that matter by the hands of a well-skilled masseuse is not one to forget easily. Massage is well known to help with pain and stress, among other things. Now, did you know that pain and stress affect your immune response? Let’s see what this is all about.
Pain acts to suppress immune activity in the body. Scientists have found out that pain reduces the levels of certain components of the immune system that deal with infection and fight off cancer. However, it should interest you to know that stress has a bigger effect on our immunity than even pain. We will soon see how.
High levels of stress is a risk factor for several medical conditions. Most of these effects happen because stress stimulates the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that has wide-reaching effects on multiple systems of the body. It is known to prevent weight gain, elevated blood pressure, cause headaches, digestive problems, sleep problems, heart disease and affect memory and concentration. These take a toll on our immune function and this is why many people fall sick when stress builds up. There are many ways to deal with stress, and getting chiropractic massage near you is one of them.
Perhaps the most intriguing study on massage therapy of all is the one that demonstrates that a single session of massage is enough to significantly alter immune and endocrine function. The researchers evaluated these responses only after a 45-minute session of Swedish massage or light touch. One striking observation was the increase in lymphocytes, cells that play an important role in a healthy immune system. Another observation was decreased levels of arginine vasopressin (AVP), a hormone associated with increased stress hormone (cortisol) levels. Also, a decrease in inflammatory cytokines which are usually produced when the white blood cells are mounting a resistance against infection was noticed.
So, does massage improve the immune system? Yes, it does. Getting a massage does not only sound and feel good, it is good for you. So, next time you’re going in to get a massage, know that your immune system thanks you for it.