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Massage Can Improve Your Immune System, Lower Stress Hormones

Massage Can Improve Your Immune System, Lower Stress HormonesListening to music on an iPod in a quiet place may be cheaper, but I can't think of too many things more relaxing and enjoyable than a massage. If you been looking for health-related reasons to justify having them on a regular basis, consider today's post your ticket to paradise, a better bodily immune system and a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol that slows down healing, according to a recent study.

Scientists studied the effect of different kinds of massage on two sets of healthy patients. One group received 45 minutes of light touch massage while the other experienced a Swedish massage for the same duration. Before their massages, patients were hooked up to IVs so that blood samples could be drawn before, during and after their massages.

For those receiving Swedish massages, the benefits were very obvious, as scientists noted increases in the level of lymphocytes (white blood cells that defend the body from disease), and drops, not only in cortisol levels, but arginine vasopressin (a hormone contributing to aggressive behavior and increasing the amount of cortisol in the human body) and cytokines (signaling proteins produced by white blood cells).

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine September 1, 2010

ScienceDaily September 9, 2010

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