By Gemma King – Massage Therapist
You may not think of massage as being one of the ways that may help fight off sickness, but there are several studies that show us it can and for several different reasons.
Firstly, circulation. The physical action of massage helps promote blood flow throughout the body and massages can improve the quality of our movement, in turn increasing blood flow. This is important in keeping us healthy as our blood transports nutrients, oxygen and white blood cells, vital in fighting off illness. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that just a 45-minute massage increased the number of lymphocytes (the white blood cells that are responsible for attacking anything harmful in the body) and found that after a massage, patients had a lower level of cytokines (molecules that can increase inflammation in the body).
We are all aware that stress is not good for our bodies. I’m sure you’ve experienced how at stressful and busy periods it seems you are more likely to become ill. This is because stress can impair our body’s inflammatory immune response, which means we may be more susceptibility to infection, according to research published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. Stress also causes the release of a hormone called cortisol. This ‘fight or flight’ hormone has the side effect of lowering white blood cells and some types of lymphocytes which are essential in fighting off sickness. Other studies have found that massage therapy reduced anxiety levels, depression and even anger, and longer-term benefits of massage also include increased dopamine and improved serotonin. These positive impacts on our mental health can carry over to our physical health too. Looking after our mental wellbeing allows our bodies to concentrate on fighting off illness and keeping us healthy. All types of massage offered at The Thornbury Clinic can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Though if this is a main goal of yours, we recommend talking to us about our relaxation massages and how that may be of benefit to you.
Pain is another factor that can have a measurable negative effect on immunity, according to the National Center or Biothechnology Information. Similar to stress, pain can release cortisol into the body and have an impact on our bodies ability to keep us healthy. Scientists have also found strong evidence that pain reduces the levels of important parts of the immune system that deal with infection and even help fight cancer. By decreasing pain levels in your body, it makes it much easier for your body to fight off illness. At The Thornbury Clinic, we are dedicated to relieving your pain and getting you back to your happy, healthy selves. Whether this is through massage or with help from our other practitioners at the clinic.
We hope to help keep our community happy and healthy throughout the year and look forward to your visit. If you have any questions or health concerns, we may be able to help with, please get in contact with us or book a massage appointment in either our Yate Active or Castle Street, Thornbury clinics.