Dr. Andrew Weil highlights research supporting biochemical benefits of massage.
Jonathan Seiler Jan 23, 2014
Everyone imagines a massage feels great and has physical benefits, but a recent study performed at the renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles supports the biochemical benefits of massage. In this study 53 healthy adults were offered them two types of massage. 24 of the participants were given a session of light massage while the other 29 were given deep tissue Swedish massage. Each of these participants had blood samples drawn prior to their massages and after one hour. With only a single massage session, the study noted discernible benefits to both the heart rate and blood pressure of the study's participants.
The study was published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and highlighted in the book, Spontaneous Happiness, written by Dr. Andrew Weil. Educated at Harvard, Dr. Weil is a physician who founded and directs the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine located at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Those people who received the Swedish tissue massage showed a significant reduction in the cortisol levels in both their saliva and blood. Another significant drop was noted in the hormone, arginine vasopressin, that is associated with elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. They also showed an increase in the number of white blood cells. The participants that received the light massage also noted benefits. They experienced a drop in a hormone, ACTH adrenocorticotropic, that stimulates the release of cortisol by the adrenal glands. In addition, they showed an increase in the hormone, oxytocin, known for making a person feel content.
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