Does massage have “real” physical benefits? While those of us in the spa industry would of course say yes (there have been many studies)…how nice when the New York Times said it for us this time!
The article that was in last Tuesday’s paper titled “Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep” talks about a new study that showed a single session of massage (45 minutes in this case) caused positive biological changes.
Here is the scoop. Researchers, from a division of the National Institute of Health, conducted a study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in which one group of adults was given a deep-tissue massage and another group was given a light massage. Blood samples were taken before and after these 45 minutes massages.
The participants who received the deep-tissue massage displayed (among other favorable results) decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in white blood cells, an essential part of the immune system. Those who received the lighter massage had an even greater decrease in cortisol and increase in white blood cells, as well as an increase in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment. The study was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
I found it amusing that the article mentioned the researchers’ reaction to the results of the study as “a surprise.” Well… it’s certainly not a surprise to any of us in the industry – nor to people who have had massages regularly. Massage reduces stress – plain and simple.