How Massage Helps Improve Immunity

There are certain steps we take when we feel illness approaching. When it comes to the cold and flu, we immediately set about dosing with Vitamin C, and washing our hands obsessively. Those are all great steps to take, but we forget one major ally in the immunity process.

When we think about massage, we immediately think about the relaxation that it brings, and how stress falls away like layers of an onion. Not only does massage relieve stress and improve circulation, but also according to the Mayo Clinic, it has a profound influence on our immune system.

Dr. Gail Ironson, of the University of Miami, completed a study with a group of HIV positive men being given a 45-minute massage, five days a week over the course of a month. These men saw a serotonin increase and an increase in the white blood cells that are viewed as our immune system’s first line of defense.

As it heightens the immune systems response, massage is a natural painkiller. Studies have shown that just one massage will have an immediate benefit on your immune system, while regular massages offer a cumulative long-term benefit.

Massage lowers stress hormone levels, while increasing white blood cell counts. It’s a highly effective therapy for boosting immunity. It is one of the most enjoyable and affordable methods of staying healthy.

Rising stress levels leave us struggling to sleep, feeling worn down, fatigued, and unfortunately, at greater risk of illness. While there are plenty of ways to help reduce stress levels, regular massages are the greatest way to boost immune levels when part of a healthy lifestyle.

The Dos

  • Add massage to your wellness routine. It should be a part of a lifestyle that includes a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and a healthy sleep cycle. Including massage in your regimen can add an extra boost to your body’s ability to fight infection and stay healthy. It encourages better sleep, as well as aids in muscle recovery which helps you stay on track with your exercise regimen. That healthy diet adds the necessary nutrients and fuel to your body to keep you moving.
  • Always check the credentials of your massage therapist, they should have the necessary expertise and education and hold the relevant licenses.
  • If you can’t afford regular massages, you can keep your stress levels down between therapies by meditating, practicing yoga, and enjoying hot baths. This will help keep your stress at a low, and keep your immune system healthy.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t wait until you’re battling illness before booking a massage. It might seem like the perfect way to relax, but it has the opposite effect in these instances. Massage increases circulation, which can make it more difficult for your body to pinpoint the areas in need of healing. This can result in an overtaxed spleen and kidneys, both are vital to the immune system.
  • Don’t think of a massage as an annual affair. It has long-lasting benefits, but they are cumulative. Illness is often caused and/or exacerbating by stress- massage therapy can be considered as preventative medicine.
  • While we’re not suggesting that you break the bank, fitting in a massage once a month is highly effective. Look for professional clinics that offer an affordable monthly membership.
  • Your massage session is about you, so it’s important that you feel totally relaxed and comfortable. That means if you don’t love the music, the volume, the lighting, temperature, or technique that you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and voice your concerns. A professional will understand and be accommodating- a professional won’t take offense.
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