Benefits of Massage Protecting Your Immune System
While most people might consider going to a massage therapist as a luxury, you can drastically improve your physical and mental health with the benefits of massage.
Your immune system particularly loves it and that makes it something worth trying!
The Magic of Your Lymph System
The lymph system is the foundation for your total immune system. It’s a complex network of tissue and organs (tonsils, spleen, adenoids, and thymus) that help flush dangerous toxins and waste products from your body.
Lymph fluid is propelled through dedicated lymph vessels and filtered through hundreds of lymph nodes. The lymph system is similar in concept to your circulatory system (something most people are familiar with). You have more lymph fluid than blood!
Infection and pollutants are detected by the spleen, which stimulates the production of lymphocytes (white blood cells) to fight the foreign invaders. The nodes at your neck, armpits, and groin are closest to the surface and may appear swollen as they fight toxins, parasites, fungi, viruses, and bacteria.1
Protecting your lymph system is vital to your total body health. To function properly, it relies on two things: deep breathing and body movement.
The Immunity Benefits of Massage
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, sit a lot, suffer from random aches and pains, can’t seem to lose weight, feel sluggish, have trouble concentrating, or get sick from colds, flu, or other infections often – your lymph system could definitely benefit from massage.
The mental health benefits are well-known. They might be a little harder to identify but you’re definitely going to feel them if you make massage therapy a regular part of your life.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of Massage
- Improved mood and mental clarity
- Better quality of life
- Sense of happiness and well-being
- Natural stress relief
- Eases the symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Relief of past emotional trauma2
Physical Benefits of Massage
- Improved circulation and breathing
- Relaxed muscles
- Improved flexibility
- Reduction in inflammatory proteins (cytokines)
- Fewer headaches, body aches, and common colds
- Better sleep quality
- Reduction in some symptoms of depression
- Lower blood pressure
Various scientific studies proved that massage therapy causes the release of brain neurotransmitters (and “feel good” chemicals) dopamine and serotonin while lowering your levels of cortisol (known as the “stress” hormone).
There’s a direct (and immediate) impact to your lymph system. The deeper, relaxed breathing during massage as well physical stimulation of your lymph vessels helps to push unwanted toxins through your body (and out).
Researchers with Cedars-Sanai determined that participants in their study saw a boost in white blood cell production (lymphocytes – your infection fighters) following massage, a decrease in cortisol, and a decline in Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) levels, which has been linked to heightened feelings of aggression.3
Mark Rappaport, MD, the lead investigator in the study, explained, “This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you. It appears that a single massage may deliver a measurable benefit.”
Another study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) found that massage boosts skin tone and health, lowers blood pressure, and results in fewer illnesses such as the common cold.4
Massage benefits your body and mind. Adding it to your self-care regimen is something you should consider for yourself, your significant other, friends, and loved ones. It’s become so popular that the cost is not excessive. It’s no longer a “luxury” purchase. It makes an excellent gift for someone who could use a bit of pampering.
Whether you choose a lighter, relaxing massage or one that targets knots in deep muscle tissue, you’re going to feel better inside and out.
Arnold Kelly, licensed massage therapist, who works in coordination with UAB, stated, “Immediately following massage, you can experience reduced tightness in the muscles, improved blood flow and breathing, plus reduced anxiety and stress. Long-term, the benefits of massage accumulate; massage can increase a person's range of motion, strengthen the immune system, and provide an improved sense of well-being.”5
Take Simple Steps to Improve Your Quality of Life
No matter your age or current level of health, you must take steps to preserve your mind, body, and spirit to last you into oldest age. The goal must always be to remain strong, independent, mentally aware, and (of course) happy.
1 Live Science: Lymphatic System: Facts, Functions & Diseases
2 Everyday Health: Massage and Emotional Wellness
3 Science Daily: Adults demonstrate modified immune response after receiving massage, researchers show
4 Huffington Post: Massage Benefits: 9 Healthy Reasons To Make An Appointment Today
5 Science Daily: The right massage can relax the body and improve health