The Immediate Impacts of Massage
Last week the New York Times reported on the results of a new study about massage, and it’s clearly of interest—the piece is still being featured as top-read content. To find out just what happens to us after a massage, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited some 53 healthy candidates to receive some treatments.
About half of the group was assigned Swedish deep-tissue massages and the others a lighter-touch style of rubdown. All subjects were strapped with gear to take blood samples right before and immediately after the one hour massages. Here are the results:
Volunteers who received Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.
Volunteers who had the light massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment … and bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.
Even skeptics are having a hard time ignoring these exciting outcomes. To celebrate, Siobhan and I both went for great cheapie massages this weekend. I’m definitely partial to deep tissue, but it looks like all different kinds could offer benefits.
Do you get regular massages? And if not, does this study inspire you to?