New research from Cedars-Sinai finds that people who undergo even one session of massage experience significant changes in their immune and endocrine responses.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, found that participants who underwent just one session of massage had a significant increase in levels of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), an important signaling molecule that helps regulate the immune response.
They also had increased levels of cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), two hormones that play key roles in the stress response.
"Massage has long been associated with reducing stress, but our study shows that massage also has a direct impact on how our bodies handle stress," said John Denninger, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai and lead author of the study.
"Our findings suggest that massage may be an effective low-cost strategy for individuals who are under chronic stress to help improve their immune function and health."