Massage Aids in Improved Immune System Function

Our bodies have a network of organs, cells and tissues that work together to protect us from disease and infection. This network includes the tonsils, spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and white blood cells, called lymphocytes. Without a properly functioning immune system, we are vulnerable to the effects of invading organisms and toxic substances. It is therefore imperative to identify and treat factors that can weaken the body’s defense. A depressed immune system can be caused by congenital or acquired disorders, lifestyle, or a combination of these factors. Poor diet is a major contributor, especially those high in sugar and fat. Sugary drinks and snacks greatly diminish the germ fighting effectiveness of white blood cells, while obesity can overtax the lymphatic system and hamper the production of white blood cells and antibodies.

There are several choices that one can make to improve and maintain immune system function. Proper nutrition and hygiene, physical activity and stress management are key to keeping the immune system functioning correctly. Research has been conducted to determine massage’s value in improving immune system function and the results are encouraging. Several independent studies have shown a direct correlation between massage therapy and increased activity of natural killer cells as well as enhanced white cell production. Massage targeting the lymphatic system releases congestion from the lymph nodes and boosts the drainage of waste and fluid. Improved circulation supports the body’s defense by aiding in the distribution of nutrients to muscles, organs and tissues and massage’s calming effect on stress and anxiety has also been shown to have a positive impact on immune system function.

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