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  • Writer's pictureJuliette Easter

Can Massage Improve the Immune System & Prevent Viruses?

As we all know massage therapy has a long history. Evidence from India points back to massage therapy existing as far back as 3000 BC where it was regarded a sacred practice and a vital part of Ayurvedic traditions. Noted in ancient civilisations across the globe, the knowledge held by massage therapists has always been seen to help with a range of ailments.

The benefits of massage therapy include;

  • reduced tension in the muscles

  • a reduction in hormones associated with stress

  • increased flexibility in the joints

  • increased mobility

  • improvements in circulation

  • aids with insomnia and improves sleep in general

  • assistance with high blood pressure

  • improvement to the visibility of scars

  • enhanced recovery of soft tissue injuries

  • reduction in the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression

  • enhanced sense of relaxation

  • to alleviate nausea and fatigue in cancer patients

  • with the appropriate training massage can support women through the back pain associated with pregnancy

  • stimulates the lymphatic system which soothes the nervous system

  • can help treat colic and constipation in babies

But studies have also shown that massage therapy can help boost the immune system, a benefit that could prove vital to patients with conditions like HIV where the body sees a reduction in the white blood cells known as T Lymphocytes.

Tested in a clinical trial with mice scientists found that after applying stroking techniques for 8 days with both hands and brushes the results support the theory that massage therapy might be valuable in the treatment of immunodeficiencies, as the treatments delivered by hand provided the most benefits.

In studies focused on the field of affective immunology, results suggest that emotional and immunological systems share more than a similarity of functions. This study also suggest that future trials should explore "how different life events permanently mark immune cells and make them more prone to develop an exacerbated immune response", a topic which would help support the idea of massage therapy being able to help reduce this effect by helping ease stress and other difficult emotions.

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