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Massages Actually Relieve Stress!

Photo by FoundryParkInn

When people say that they are taking a spa day, people are skeptical. But, according to a new study massages lower levels of stress hormones in the body. According to this study, people who have regular massages have substantially lower levels of cortisol and higher levels of white blood cells compared to people who do not get massages regularly.

Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, the chairman of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said, ” […] the findings are very intriguing and exciting, and I’m a skeptic!”

The study consisted of 53 adults. 29 of these adults were given a 45 minute Swedish massage once or twice a week for 5 weeks. The other 24 adults in the study were given light touch massages for the same time period. After the 5 week trial, the adults who had received the Swedish massages had significantly lower levels of cortisol, significantly higher levels of oxytocin, and slightly higher levels of white blood cells than those who had received the light touch massages.

The Mayo Clinic points out that regular massages can help to alleviate stiffness, pain, anxiety, depression, and maintain a regular blood pressure. The health benefits of massages are endless!

For more information on the health benefits of massages go to:


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  1. henroids

    Well if you don’t have time to get a massage every week there are other ways to lower your cortisol levels. According to a quick workout, or a low carb diet are both effective in lowering your stress.

  2. ilikebioha

    I was a little surprised when you said that the patients who got the massage had higher levels of “oxytocin” then those who didn’t. The only response i new of that oxytocin is responsible for is maintaining the production of milk in the mammary glands of a women after she has given birth(via a positive feedback look). So after looking it up it turns out that there are many more roles Oxytocin has, and recent studies have investigated the role oxytocin plays with anxiety.

    Link for oxytocin:

  3. sciencegirl025

    Wow! that’s great! I recently read an article from the Huffington post about other health benefits of massages which include boosting immunity,increasing brain alertness and even reducing wrinkles! You should check it out:
    I definitely think people will start getting massages not just for the relaxation it brings but also for the health benefits, like you mentioned!

  4. leahna

    Given that long-term exposure to stress is bad, it makes sense that stress relief is healthy. (

    If only we could have massages every week!

  5. thephilosopher

    Interesting Post. I’m glad to see that the ~15 billion dollar massage industry isn’t a total scam. Given the preponderance of expensive and unregulated “alternative” treatments in existence that do nothing but take advantage of the placebo effect, it’s refreshing to see one with actual scientific evidence to its name.
    In another study on massage published in Science Translational Medicine, scientists biopsied the legs of men who had massaged after exercise and found that they had significantly reduced signs of inflammation than those who had not been massaged. According to the scientists who performed the study, massage acts in similar way to conventional anti-inflammatory drugs.

    More information and source:

  6. saysquad

    Wow! This is super interesting. Now I am going to start getting massages on a regular basis. According to the article below, sleep also reduces cortisol levels.


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