Massage to Boost Your Immune System

Massage to Boost Your Immune System

It’s cold and flu season again!  Does your immune system need a boost?

As we move into the colder months ahead we tend to spend more time indoors with each other, raising the chances of catching many of the bugs going around this time of year.  Coupled with the stress of preparing for the holidays and Christmas shopping at those extremely busy malls, our immune system starts to get bogged down.

We need to take a look at three hormones to gain an understanding of what’s behind our immune systems function: Cortisol, Serotonin, and Dopamine.

Cortisol: As stress levels rise, so does this culprit.  It is an end product of the sympathetic nervous system (the flight or fight response).  It has been shown to kill the body’s immune cells such as natural killer cells, which are used by the body to kill cancer and viral cells.

Serotonin and Dopamine: When stress increases these helpful hormones start to decrease, and this takes a toll on the body as well.  Serotonin and dopamine are used in the body to counter cortisol, decrease depression, and maintain a healthy immune system.

So what can regular massages do to help?  In a study done by Field, Tiffany, et al. “Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy.” International Journal of Neuroscience 115.10 (2005): 1397-1413. regular massage therapy sessions were shown to on average to decrease cortisol levels by 31%, and increase serotonin levels by 28% and increase dopamine by 31%.

So treat yourself to a massage this winter, your immune system will thank you!

Clayton Giles, RMT