Healthy Immune System
We are living in what many refer to as “the new normal.” Never has our society been more concerned with healthy immune systems. Of course, there are many things you can do to help protect and strengthen your immune system. Some of these are:
- Regular exercise
- Diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables
- Plenty of water daily
- Take supplements for a deficiency you may have
- Get adequate and consistent sleep
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid smoking and drink in moderation
- Minimize stress
These things have been taught to us since grade school. But did you know that regular massage is another way to help your immune system?
Massage Improves Our Ability to Fight Disease
Take note of the word “regular.” One massage definitely has its benefits, but research shows that regular massage helps boost our immune system and flush toxins, increasing blood flow throughout the body. Massage increases the activity of white blood cells that help our body fight diseases and may help with reduction of cortisol – the stress hormone.
Stress, your Immune System, and Massage
The immune system is very vulnerable to the effects of stress. Cortisol increases inflammation in the body, inflammation that can decrease the function of the immune system and make you more vulnerable to illnesses such as a cold or the flu.
Massage techniques are used that help to relieve not only emotional or mental stressors, but also help to improve circulation in the body and decrease inflammation, relieving the sources of physical stress that can seriously injure the immune system. Clinical research also suggests that regular massage naturally increases the healthy immune system’s ability to kill certain cells, while decreasing the number of T-cells, for an improvement of the body’s overall immune function.
T Cells and B Cells and Massage
We’ll give this rich information on T cells and B cells its own section. According to the Southern California Health Institute, “Your body’s main line of defense against infectious organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, is the collection of structures and processes that comprise the immune system. At the center of the immune system are the cells known as lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are born in the bone marrow and migrate through the body to the lymph nodes and spleen where they face off against the invading antigens and kill them.
T cells and B cells are the key to a high-functioning immune system and research indicates that massage can play a direct role in increasing not only the quantity of these cells within your body, but also the strength and effectiveness of the cells. T cells are especially important; they not only release hormones that help B cells develop into antibody-producing cells, but also aid in the formation of specialized T cells called cytotoxic T cells. Cytotoxic T cells kill antigens directly, then stimulate the production of memory T cells that remember the antigen and are prepared for a more speedy and effective response when they attack again.”
Pain, Mental Health, and Massage
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, pain has measurable negative effects on immunity. Massage has an enormous impact on decreasing pain, which makes it easier for your body to fight off illness.
Massage is great for mental health. The mind and body are directly linked and a healthy mind promotes a healthy body. We have more power in our mind than we realize!
Adding Oils to your Massage
If you are looking to add respiratory benefits to your massage experience, there are invigorating options that will have you breathing easier.
- Tea Tree
- Clary Sage
In our “new normal” it is vital that we understand how to better take care of ourselves. Don’t stress over your health to the point of creating issues that will need attention. Remember, your mind is directly connected to your body and stressing won’t help you. Simply making healthy decisions and not worrying about things that haven’t happened yet is enough for every day. A very wise and loving man once said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” We realize there are life issues that are scary and demand our immediate attention. We are not minimizing those things. We are simply encouraging you to keep it simple, smart, and don’t forget to enjoy each day you’ve been given. Don’t live in fear. Live every day to its fullest, remember to love those around you, and laugh whenever you can.
Blanchard Valley Health System
Southern California Health Institute
Bible Gateway – Matthew 6:34