By Megan Murphy, CMT
One of the many health benefits of regular massage is a healthy immune system! With the cold and flu season upon us, now is a perfect time to learn how massage can benefit your immune system. Some people seem to sail th
rough the flu season without a sniffle, while others have a cold that lingers for weeks. If you are not sure if your immune system needs a boost there are 6 signs, according to Prevention Magazine, that could help determine if your immune system needs some extra help to get through this year’s cold and flu season.
- You have a sweet tooth. Studies from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 100 grams of sugar, which equals approximately 3 cans of pop, decreases the body’s ability to produce infection fighting white blood cells for up to 5 hours after being consumed.
- You don’t drink enough water. The body needs water to eliminate toxins.
- Being overweight. Excess weight can cause hormonal imbalances and inflammation that impairs immunity.
- Long-term stress. Being over stressed leads to increased levels of cortisol in the body that reduce the body’s ability to fight off infection.
- Your nose is dry. Mucous in the nasal cavity is necessary to trap and eliminate viruses from the body.
- You always have a cold.
So, how does massage directly benefit the immune system? According to a study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, patients who received 45 minutes of massage had an increase of white blood cells, which defend the body from disease. Another important physical change found after massage was a decrease in cytokines, which play a role in inflammation. Reducing the number of cytokines in the body is important because chronic inflammation is associated with asthma, cardio vascular disease and depression. A reduction in the stress hormone cortisol was also found after massage, which is vital because the strength of our immune system is directly related to our emotional state. Last, but also important to immune function, is stimulation of the body’s cleansing lymphatic system through massage
If you recognize a weakness in your immune system, regular massage is a natural and effective way to strengthen it. When immune system problems are addressed through massage the whole being is influenced and restores the bodies self-balancing capacity. Regular sessions are recommended for continued health and maintenance.