Most of us probably know that a massage can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience and that it can contribute to stress reduction. Now a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Contemporary Medicine tells us that massage may have even more benefits than we earlier thought – that even a single session of massage could cause immediate, significant biological changes.
In the study conducted at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles by Mark Hyman Rapaport and colleagues, it was seen that a 45 minute Swedish massage session could result in significantly lowering levels of arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can increase cortisol levels. The massage also resuted in the lowering of cortisol levels in the blood by a small amount.
Study participants who received light massage were seen to have higher levels of oxytocin, which is the hormone associated with feelings of contentment.
This shows that both deep massages such as Swedish massage, as well as lighter massages can be beneficial to receive. It is estimated that the positive impact of the massage could last for up to a week and that the biological impact for women could be particularly positive.
However, according to massage therapist Adina Rosenberg, massage is not a onetime fix and it could take quite some time to reduce the stress of those muscles that take time to get stressed in the first place.