Immune Function and Massage

  • Weekly Swedish massage increased lymphocytes and decreased cytokine production. Twice-weekly massage produced increased OT levels, decreased AVP, and decreased CORT. (Mark H. Rapaport, Pamela Schettler, and Catherine Bresee. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.  -Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0071. Full Article)
  • Study shows that a single session of massage therapy produces measurable biologic effects on the immune system. These findings may have implications for managing inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. (Rapaport, M., Schettler, P., Bresee, C. A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, October 2010, 16(10): 1079-1088.) Abstract
  • Thirty women either received massage in the form of a full-body light pressure effleurage treatment, or a control visit. Light pressure effleurage massage decreased the deterioration of natural killer cell activity. Furthermore it lowered heart rate and systolic blood pressure. (Billhult, A., Lindholm, C., Gunnarsson, R., Stener-Victorin, E. The effect of massage on immune function and stress in women with breast cancer — A randomized controlled trial. Autonomic Neuroscience, Volume 150, Issues 1-2, 5 October 2009, Pages 111-115.) Abstract
  • Study measured the effects of a 20-minute massage on spouses of patients with cancer randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group. The major dependent variables including natural killer cell activity, heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mood, and perceived stress were measured at the three time points to examine the effects of massage. Findings suggest that massage may enhance mood and reduce perceived stress, thereby preventing stress from negatively affecting immune function. (Goodfellow, LM. The Effects of Therapeutic Back Massage on Psychophysiologic Variables and Immune Function in Spouses of Patients with Cancer. Nursing Research, 2003 Sep-Oct; 52(5): 318-28.) Abstract