Ask Susie: Health Benefits of Massage
Does massage have “real” physical benefits? This is a not only a question that I am asked now and then but one that the New York Times answers with a resounding, yes!
The article quotes a new study that showed a single session of massage (45 minutes in this case) caused positive biological changes.
Here is the scoop. Researchers, from a division of the National Institute of Health, conducted a study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in which one group of adults was given a deep-tissue massage and another group was given a light massage. Blood samples were taken before and after these 45 minutes massages.
The participants who received the deep-tissue massage displayed (among other favorable results) decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in white blood cells, an essential part of the immune system.
Those who received the lighter massage had an even greater decrease in cortisol and increase in white blood cells, as well as an increase in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment.
The study was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
I found it amusing that the article mentioned the researchers’ reaction to the results of the study as “a surprise.”
Well… it’s certainly not a surprise to any of us in the industry – nor to most people who have had a massage and felt the physiological effects. Massage reduces stress – plain and simple.