How Massage Therapy Keeps Your Body Strong
Your body is under attack from bacteria, viruses and disease constantly. Your first line of defence is a well-functioning immune system that contains Natural Killer Cells and Lymphocytes that will seek and destroy any invaders that are detected in your body. Your lymphatic system is the “sanitation crew” that will clean up the bad cells, allowing your body the capacity to heal itself. In order to destroy the protective coating around these bad cells, the lymphatic system uses enzymes to dissolve their defensive armor, destroying and eliminating them from existence. Some enzymes are produced by our body, others are consumed through good nutrition.
When you are under stress, the hormone produced to initiate the stress response is called Cortisol. It is released from the pituitary gland and sends a message to the adrenal glands located above your kidneys. The adrenals then produce adrenaline that speeds up your breathing, increases heart rate (increasing blood pressure), tenses up muscles, decreases digestion and affects short-term memory. Your long-term memory continues to function, giving you laser-focused recall in recognizing danger and remembering past experiences to make quick life-saving decisions.
For your body to be able to produce the hormones needed to react to stress and to help with other bodily functions, it relies on enzymes to produce them. Eating poorly and being run down can deplete our bodies of enzymes. This is where the valuable nutrients of the immune system become vulnerable. The very enzymes needed to protect the body are resourced out to the hormones so that the body can continue to survive what is causing the stress.
When the stress is removed, the body goes into repair mode. Adrenaline and Cortisol are now stopped in their tracks by endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers. The nerves calm down, breathing restores to normal, muscles relax, and the body begins the healing process. Most of all, the digestive system regains normal function. The largest immunological organ in your body, producing over 70-80% of the antibodies to fight viruses and bacteria, is the intestines (part of your digestive system).
Cortisol kills off the Natural Killer Cells from our immune system. By neutralizing Cortisol, the immune system gets a boost of the Natural Killer Cells, increasing your immunity. Stress results in slower healing and increased susceptibility to infection.
Massage therapy can grant immunity in one fell swoop – with the relaxation response from receiving regular massage therapy, studies have shown that those with severely compromised immune systems have seen increases in the ability to fight infection and speed up healing. In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami on women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, the women received regular massage therapy (three times a week for five weeks), with 80 percent showing improved immune function.
Why not start your year off right with a healthier immune system? The more you can arm your defences against disease, the better you will feel in the long run.
Featured Essential Oil
Thieves Essential Oil
For the immune system, there is nothing better than our essential oil, Thieves by Young Living. Thieves got its name from England during the plague years. The thieves who stole from the sick and dying on the streets wore satchels of spices and herbs that would protect them from contracting the dreaded disease. Those spices and herbs are captured in this aromatic blend of 5 essential oils.
The highly antiviral, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic properties of the 5 single oils contained in this blend help protect the body from the onset of colds and flu.
- Clove – an immune stimulant that may influence healing and help to create a feeling of protection
- Lemon – promotes health, physical energy and purification.
Antisepticthat is great for the respiratory system
- Cinnamon Bark – powerful oxygenator, enhances the activity of the other oils, stimulates
radiata– profound antiviral effect upon the respiratory system.
- Rosemary cineol – reduces mental fatigue, balances heart function.
Diffusing this oil periodically for 20-25 minutes throughout the day or apply to the bottoms of your feet using a carrier oil like almond oil. We diffuse this daily during cold and flu season at Therapeutic Kneads. You can use the Vitality Thieves if you would like to put a drop in hot water and drink as a tea.
Sandy Saldano, Lic. Massage Therapist
Owner of Therapeutic Kneads, Ltd.