A massage feels great… but can it also have true and positive effects on our immune systems? The good news is, yes, it can!
It is a well-known fact that people who suffer high levels of stress, especially in the long-term, are more prone to illness and injury. When we are stressed our bodies produce stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, which can have a negative effect on our heart rate, weight, blood pressure and sleep. Massage has the opposite effect on the body as it induces a state of relaxation, which counterbalances stress. We are living in a world where the demands placed on us are becoming greater and greater, and while we may not be able to control the amount of stress in our lives, we can certainly do things to help counter it.
In addition to having an impact on our stress levels, massage also has a direct effect on our circulatory system. The circulatory system is responsible for transporting oxygenated blood around the body and filtering and removing waste from the body. Our white blood cells (leukocytes) are housed in the circulatory system and their primary function is to protect us against illness and disease. They are essentially immune cells which means that a healthy circulatory system is an imperative part of a strong immune system. Massage works directly on the circulatory system encouraging blood flow to the heart and aids in the removal of toxins.
Massage can often help to relieve pain, which can have a direct effect on the immune system. Pain has a significant immunosuppressive effect on the body and massage can counteract this effect and help the immune system to function better.
While massages are often considered to be a luxury or a treat, there is more and more research proving that massage can have significant health benefits and goes way beyond being something that just ‘feels good’.