Want to Stave Off the Sniffles? Get a Massage!

A little luxury can boost your immune system this cold and flu season

Cold and flu season is quickly approaching, and if you’re like me you’ve already got the zinc lozenges in your purse, a full pack of Airborne in your desk and hand sanitizer strategically placed around your house. Good news from a new study: Adding a massage appointment to your calendar can further strengthen your immune-boosting, germ-fighting efforts.

After a massage, your body boosts production of the cells and proteins that improve your body’s immune response, according to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Massage also lowers levels of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone.” Because stress can weaken your immunity, less cortisol helps your body win the battle against the germs that can make you sick.

The kind of massage you get does matter. In the study, by Researchers at Cedars-Sinai's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, 29 people received a 45-minute deep-muscle Swedish massage and 24 received a light-touch massage. Blood samples taken after the massages showed that those who received the more intense Swedish massage saw “significant” increases in the number of lymphocytes, an immune-boosting white blood cell, and a “large” decrease in cortisol. The same was not true in the light touch group.

I love a good massage (who doesn’t?) but it feels like a luxury. And between work and kids and a good ole’ dose of guilt over doing anything for myself, massage always feels like a splurge I really can’t justify. Until now. If a massage will help keep me from catching one of the slew of cold viruses I know my kids will be bringing home this school year, then it’s worth the investment. After all, the only thing more stressful than the kids getting sick is mommy getting sick, too. Who has time for that?

Do you think a massage could help keep you healthy? Chime in below!

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