Massage And Immunity

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CHARLOTTE – Whew! I just had a bout with the flu and I tell ya, it’s been hard to get over. Even though I’m in pretty good health and have started a better nutrition regimen, but I was still knocked off my feet for a good 7 days. This got me to thinking, how does massage affect immunity?

I’ve seen a few claims that say massage increases blood and lymph flow, thus allowing healthy fluids to move throughout the body and promote good health. We already know that massage helps with stress reduction and stress ‘stresses’ our immune system, so that is certainly plausible. Massage decreases pain and we already know pain has a significant impact on how your immune system functions. And we know that massage can positively affect mental health, which in turn unburdens the immune system. What I found interesting is that, according to Shawn Linn, CMT, BCTMB, massage can affect the level of lymphocytes in the body.

I sought out my trusty pubmed goup and sure enough, there’s data in support of this. There seems to be cumulative biologic effects on healthy individuals, but the dosage does matter. For instance, twice-a-week massage vs weekly massage. Weekly massage increased circulating phenotypic lymphochyte markers and decreased mitogen-stimulated cytokine production with a minimal effect on HPA function. Twice-weekly massage appears to potentiate neuroendocrine differences. What does this mean in layman’s terms? It means that even though more studies/more data collection is needed, we can say massage can help increase immunity.

-Lisa Lane, 13098, has been a licensed and bodywork therapist in Mint Hill for 10 years. Visit her website at to make an appt.

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