What researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found out, after recruited 53 healthy adults and assigned 29 of them to a 45 min. session of deep tissue Swedish massage and the other 24 to a session of light massage.
To their surprise, it was found that a single session of massage caused biological changes:
People who received Deep Tissue/Swedish Massage had significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone Cortisol in blood and saliva samples. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are the immune system’s first line of defense.
Volunteers who had the light massage, had increases in Oxytocin – the feel-good hormone. This group also had a bigger decrease than the other group in the adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenals to release cortisol.
(Study published online in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine).
“The findings are very intriguing and very exciting – and I’m a skeptic.”
Dr. Rapaport, chairman of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedar-Senai, lead author of the study.