We all know how good a massage feels but now researchers writing in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine have found just how good it is for you, as well.
A research team from the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles divided a group of adult test subjects into two groups: members of one were given a 45-minute session of Swedish massage; those in the other group received a 45-minute session of light massage.
By analysing the subjects' blood samples at intervals following the two different massage treatments, the researchers found that those study participants having the Swedish massage exhibited substantial changes in their immune response, including greater numbers of lymphocytes (white blood cells that engulf and destroy incoming potentially hazardous viruses and bacteria) and a significantly lower level of the stress hormone cortisol.
Swedish massage is a relaxing yet invigorating style of massage, with particular emphasis on kneading, stretching and friction to relax the muscles, as well as long, soothing strokes towards the heart to boost circulation. To find a qualified Swedish massage therapist near you, visit the Australian Traditional Medicine Society.
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