This just in from The New York Times: Massage therapy has been shown to decrease levels of hormones that cause stress and increase levels of hormones that cause contentment and well-being.
While we’ve written about the proven stress-busting abilities of massage therapy, as well as its ability to improve mood, it’s always nice when the leading source of information in the world backs you up.
The article, published in yesterday’s edition of the paper, reports on a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which took blood samples of individuals before and after they received massage therapy.
In the study, recipients of Swedish massage therapy “experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol” and “saw increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.”
The benefits of massage therapy were not just limited to those who received professional and thorough Swedish massages. There was also a group in the study who received only “light” (not deep-tissue) massage therapy, and they too “experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment” and “bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.”
Again, massage therapy’s ability to decrease stress, boost the immune system, and increase well-being has been well documented in this blog (click here, here, or here, among others), but it’s nice when a respectable publication backs up these claims with reporting of its own. Let’s just hope The New York Times doesn’t continue to get scooped by this Massage Blog!