Akana Holistic Therapies | Massage and immunity
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Massage and immunity

01 Sep 2011 Massage and immunity

Once considered an indulgent luxury, massage is increasingly accepted as therapeutic on many levels. Massage can be a remedial, as well as a preventative treatment. Its therapeutic effect goes beyond releasing muscle tension.

Last Thursday’s article was about Massage and stress. With stress being these days’ favourite culprit for dis-ease occurring, we could straight away conclude that having massage strengthens – or at least protects – our immunity. But, to be more scientific, I have compiled the below list of articles, most of which include specific measurements in favour of the immune system being strengthened as a consequence of massage treatment. Massage recipients saw significant decreases in stress hormones and increases in the body’s production of various cells that boost immune system response.

The lymphatic system is a very important part of our immune system that protects us from disease. Hence, lymphatic drainage treatment is believed to be particularly supportive to our immunity.



A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals, by Mark Hyman Rapaport et al, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. October 2010, 16(10): 1079-1088.

Back massage therapy promotes psychological relaxation and an increase in salivary chromogranin, a study by Yuka Noto et al, Journal of Anesthesia, Volume 24, Number 6, 955-958

Effects of intelligent turtle massage on physical symptoms and immune functions of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, by Wang Ji‑hong et al., JTCM March/June 2009.

Impact of a Massage Therapy Clinical Trial on Immune Status in Young Dominican Children Infected with HIV-1, by Gail Shor-Posner et al, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. July/August 2006, 12(6): 511-516.

Leg massage therapy promotes psychological relaxation and reinforces the first-line host defense in cancer patients, a study by Yuka Noto et al, Journal of Anesthesia, Volume 24, Number 6, 827-831.

Massage After Exercise-Responses of Immunologic and Endocrine Markers: A Randomized Single-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study, by Arroyo-Morales et al, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2009 – Volume 23 – Issue 2 – pp 638-644.

Natural killer cells and lymphocytes increase in women with breast cancer following massage therapy, by Hernandez-Reif M et al, 2005, Vol. 115, No. 4 , Pages 495-510.

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