Massage Research

massage effectsMany people who receive regular massage know first hand the positive effects it can have on their health and wellbeing, however there’s nothing like a good study to show us exactly what’s going on in our bodies during and after a massage.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles ran a study with 53 healthy adults and randomly assigned 29 of them to a 45-minute session of deep-tissue massage and the rest to a session of light relaxation massage. The participants were fitted with intravenous catheters to enable researchers to take blood samples before the massage and again an hour afterward.

The Results | Effects From Massage

The results showed that a single session of massage was able to cause biological changes in the participants which even surprised many massage professionals.The participants that received relaxation massage displayed a significant decrease in the level of cortisol in their blood and saliva, and also in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol.

The participants also had an increase in the number of lymphocytes which are white blood cells that make up part of the immune system.participants that had relaxation massage showed a larger increase in oxytocin, which is a hormone associated with contentment, than the deep tissue massage group, and larger decreases in adrenal corticotropin, which triggers the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.

The Cedars-Sinai Medical study was published online in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The lead author, Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, chairman of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai, said the findings were “very, very intriguing and very, very exciting — and I’m a skeptic.”

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