Holistic Massage School Shares Research on: How Massage Therapy Benefits the Immune System

“While massage has been known for its relaxing effects for decades, new studies are showing that its benefits to the Mind and Body go much deeper” said Harmony Curtiss Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health– Laguna Hills.   “Studies at Touch Research Institute (TRI) and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, support the conclusion that our immune systems can be strengthened by Massage in just one session!   This is great news for Professional Massage Therapists, as it demonstrates that massage plays an essential role in any holistic health program”, she added.


A study conducted at Cedars-Sinai measured a substantial increase in the number of white blood cells in subjects who received just one, forty-five-minute massage.  Since white blood cells play an important part in defending the body from disease, it was clear evidence of Immunity System support.   The study found that Massage positively impacted hormone levels also. Not only did it reduce the stress-hormone Cortisol it increased ‘good hormones’ like: Serotonin, Oxytocin and Dopamine.


Massage has also been found to lower levels of ‘cytokines’ which contribute to inflammation.  As such, it reduces risk factors for a wide range of illness including: cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, Asthma and Arthritis to name a few.


Another study which involved HIV+ gay men who received massage regularly for 1 month further supported the above conclusion.  At the end of just one month, these men reported feeling more relaxed with reduced anxiety levels and increased optimism.  Their blood work revealed a substantial decrease in the stress hormone, Cortisol.  Once again, the benefits correlated with an increase in white blood cells and enhanced immune function.


One study conducted by Touch Research Institute on female patients with Fibromyalgia found similar evidence of Massage facilitating a boost to the immune system.    In that study, subjects reported feeling less anxiety and depression which was evidenced by lowered Cortisol levels immediately following their therapy sessions.


As Professional Massage Therapists, the Faculty at Healing Hands understands that most chronic conditions people experience are a result of stress.  As more studies prove that massage not only relieves stress, but can reverse its deteriorating effects, it will gain recognition as an essential component to holistic and rehabilitative wellness.


 Benefits of Massage Therapy as found by massage studies conducted by TRI include:


  • Reducing depressive symptoms
  • Diminishing pain
  • Lowering stress hormones
  • Alleviating insomnia
  • Increasing clarity and attentiveness
  • Facilitating weight gain in pre-term infants
  • Facilitating shorter labors for pregnant mothers
  • Less post-partum depression
  • Reduces high blood-pressure


To find out more about the study of massage and its application in science and medicine, visit Touch Research Institute online at: https://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/About.html or Cedars-Sinai research at: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Research.

To learn more about the 80+ massage therapy and holistic health classes offered at Healing Hands, visit us on-line at www.healinghandsschool.com  or call us at (760) 746.9374 in Escondido, or at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills or (858) 505-1100 in San Diego (Kearny Mesa).


(Cit https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Research/Research-Areas/Immunology-Infectious-Disease/index.aspx)

(Cit: Ironson, G., Field, T.M., Scafidi, F., Hashimoto, M., Kumar, M., Kumar, A., Price, A., Goncalves, A., Burman, I. , Tetenman, C., Patarca, R. & Fletcher, M.A. (1996). Massage therapy is associated with enhancement of the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity. International Journal of Neuroscience, 84, 205-217.)

(Cit: Sunshine, W., Field, T.M., Quintino, O., Fierro, K., Kuhn, C., Burman, I. & Schanberg, S. (1996). Fibromyalgia benefits from massage therapy and transcutaneous electrical stimulation. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2, 18-22.)