New study finds how massage affects stress hormone levels
Recently published in The Journal of Alternative and Contemporary Medicine, researchers tested the blood of 53 adults via intravenous catheters before and up to an hour after they received deep Swedish massages or light massages.
According to researcher Mark Hyman Rapaport and his colleagues at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, one session of massage may lead to immediate, significant positive biological changes.
The 29 adults who received 45-minute Swedish massages had small decreases in levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and large decreases in levels of arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can increase cortisol levels.
The 24 adults who received light massages had greater increases in levels of oxytocin, a contentment hormone, than those who received Swedish massages. This may mean light massage is just as beneficial as a deeper Swedish massage, which involves therapists using “long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping,” according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
based on The New York Times / The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine