How Massage Can Help Immunity by Increasing White Blood Cell Count
Amazing new research from the University of Roehampton in London has revealed that a simple regular massage can boost your immune system and help fight infection and disease by increasing your white blood cell count.
White blood cells are crucial in the function of our immune systems and when the count is low, it means our bodies can really struggle to heal and repair organs and tissue. When our white blood count is healthy or boosted, it means that our bodies are able to fight infection and diseases at a much quicker rate.
The link between massage and boosted white blood cells
The research into the link between massage and white blood cells was initially prompted after a study that found patients with HIV had a boosted white cell count after receiving massage. As HIV is a disease that affects particular white blood cells called T Lymphocytes and attacks the immune system, these finding were seen as extremely important.
In a recent BBC documentary called ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’, a leading immunologist - Professor Fulvio D’Acquisto – invited seven volunteers for a massage to see if massage treatments could have the same effect on people who don’t have serious immune conditions.
First a blood sample was taken from each of them and analysed for the number of T Lymphocytes which served as a baseline reading. Then as a control reading, the volunteers were asked to lie down and relax for an hour after which another blood sample was taken to make sure the experiment could show that any changes in the white blood cell count were due to the actual massage and not simply the effect of an hour of relaxation.
Then the volunteers were treated to an hour’s worth of full body massage after which they took a third and final blood test.
The results of massage on white blood cell count
The results were incredible – it showed a massive boost of 70 per cent of white blood cells in the group. A much higher result than they found in just relaxing for an hour.
It was found that because white blood cells are stored in certain glands which are connected to the skin through nerves, a massage serves to stimulate the nerves, allowing these glands to release white blood cells into the body’s circulation. T-lymphocytes perform various functions in the body involved with growth and repair, which could explain why massage has been reported to help with so many conditions.
Professor D’Acquisto commented: “What we’ve seen is that during the resting phase white blood cells increase just a tiny bit but when you actually have a massage this increase was massive. It was significantly higher.”
So given that white blood cells have such a range of effects, could this be helpful in a wide range of conditions? Professor D’Acquisto added: “Absolutely. This has to do with lots of other things like healing and repair so if you have a good number of white blood cells in your body then automatically this process is actually improved.”
Massage has frequently been linked with helping a whole range of conditions, from back pain and sore muscles, to alleviating the side-effects of some cancer treatments and helping people with a general sense of wellbeing. But many people just see it as an occasional treat. Perhaps that will change now this new research provides concrete evidence as to why your health on many spectrums can be improved by just simple regular massage.
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