Massage, A Great Stress Buster: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

 

Bust stress with a good massage! Pic Courtesy: massagetherapybellevue.com

 

Do you think getting a massage is just a wasteful indulgence? Looks like it is not! A recent research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine talks about how massages have the potential to reduce stress levels in the body.

As per the recent study, massaging decreases levels of the stress hormone, cortisol in the body.  For the purpose of the study, 53 adults were studied. Out of these 29 of the participants were made to undergo a 45-minute Swedish massage once a week or twice a week for a five-week period. The rest of the participants underwent a lighter touch massage schedule, as compared to the Swedish massage.

What is a Swedish massage? As per WebMd, Swedish massage involves, soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on uppermost layers of muscles. The masseur in this massage technique also helps to loosen the muscles, by gently indulging the joints in movement.

The group receiving these Swedish massages, apart from experiencing low stress levels, experienced a surge in the oxytocin levels and a slight increase in the white blood cells. Now, that’s a lot of health benefits from a mere massage, I say.

The report published in the journal concluded, that while there are continued cumulative biologic actions for the massage and touch interventions, which continue for several days, the benefits of the massage depends a lot on the frequency of the sessions, and hence further studies were required.

Huffington Post shared the views of Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, study researcher, chairman of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Hyman said,

Very, very intriguing and very, very exciting — and I’m a skeptic.

From personal experience I can say, massages can be extremely relaxing. Massages are a great way to unwind and get the much-needed me-time in the quiet confines of a room. So go for it, if you have some time to spare.

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