Tuesday, September 14, 2010


You can buy your very own trickling water fountain here.

Ever had a massage?

I remember my first - and sitting nervously in a posh spa waiting room. After only ten minutes, I had already gone to the bathroom twice, possibly due to anxiety but probably in response to the sound of tasteful but constant trickle of water fountains in every corner of the room. The massage was a gift from a friend, who had been relentlessly prodding me to just go and use the darned thing. So we did - together. She had already been whisked away by a receptionist to her masseuse and I was left fretting and wondering what was in store for this old body.

The bulk of my anxiety regarding the massage focused on the fact that a complete and total stranger would be rubbing my body with her hands.


Fortunately, the staff was respectful and competent. After my massage I lay facedown on the table, relaxed to the point of melting. I was certain that if I tried to stand up, I would immediately glop to the floor in one big ooze.

Ahhhh. Bliss.

I was reminded of this experience as I read this interesting news item today, which discusses the results of a study conducted by Cedars-Sinai's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. The study concluded that massage actually modifies the body's immune response:

Prior to the massage, study participants were fitted with intravenous catheters in order to take blood samples during the study session. Then participants were asked to rest quietly for 30 minutes. Following the rest period, blood samples were collected from each person five minutes and one minute before the massage began. At the end of the 45-minute massage session, blood samples were collected at one, five, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes after the massage.

The study participants had measurable changes in blood immune and endocrine components after the massage, including a noticeable decrease in cytokines (some of which create inflammation) released by white blood cells.  You can read more about the relaxing results here

Want to refresh your memory about immune components in YOUR blood? Read this, courtesy of the Merk Manual site.

1 comment:

annie said...

It feels like you are being drained of all energy after a massage experience.On the contrary, it leaves you pain free and re-energized (at least for a little while)and feeling great. What a nice experience.