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Many muscles in the front and back of the upper body are accessory respiratory muscles, she explains. “When any of these muscles are chronically tight and shortened, they can restrict normal breathing and disrupt breathing patterns,” she explains. “Massage techniques to lengthen and relax these muscles improve breathing capacity and function.”
Regular therapeutic massage sessions provide significant benefits beyond the immediate relaxation we enjoy. People who experience high levels of stress tend to get sick more than others. Combine stress with lack of sleep and poor nutrition, and our immune system’s ability to naturally protect itself against bacteria and infection is greatly reduced. So the question is: What are the benefits of massage on immune system?
Clinical studies have indicated that regular massage not only helps alleviate stress, but can naturally increase the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity (the activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells”) and decrease the number of T-cells, which improves the body’s immune functioning overall. In one study by Gail Ironson, M.D., HIV positive men were given 45 minute massages five days a week, for a month. They showed an increase in serotonin and an increase in cells that are viewed as the first line of defense in the immune system.
Massage therapy is a beneficial treatment for maintaining and improving flexibility and motion. By working on muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints, regular massage can improve your flexibility and range of motion, keeping your joints more fluid and making them less injury prone.
We’ve all suffered from the soreness associated with an overly exuberant exercise session. But did you know that most Americans experience neck, back and muscle pain from another less-strenuous activity? Surprisingly, it’s sitting. Chronic back pain, which is the second most common cause of disability and a top reason for missing work, can be the result of improper posture while sitting and standing.
Stress is universal, and it’s not always bad. Whenever you jump to catch a badly thrown ball, feel especially energetic before an important meeting, or hit the brakes in time to avoid a car accident, stress is doing its job. The adrenaline boosting your heart rate and the cortisol boosting your blood sugar, while diverting energy away from your digestive system and immune responses, are exactly what prehistoric humans needed to fight or flee attackers.