Beth’s Blog

Adults Demonstrate Modified Immune Response After Receiving Massage, Researchers Show

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094809.htm

Sep. 9, 2010 — Researchers in Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences have reported people who undergo massage experience measureable changes in their body’s immune and endocrine response.

Although there have been previous, smaller studies about the health benefits of massage, the Cedars-Sinai study is widely believed to be the first systematic study of a larger group of healthy adults.

The study is published in the October printed edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

“Massage is popular in America, with almost 9 percent of adults receiving at least one massage within the past year,” said Mark Rapaport, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. “People often seek out massage as part of a healthy lifestyle but there hasn’t been much physiological proof of the body’s heightened immune response following massage until now.”

In the study, 29 subjects received 45 minutes of Swedish massage and 24 received 45 minutes of light touch massage. Each participant underwent informed consent, a physical and mental evaluation and was deemed to be physically healthy and free of any mental disorder. Massage therapists were trained in how to deliver both Swedish and light touch using specific and identical protocols.

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.

“This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you,” said Rapaport, the principal investigator of the study and the Polier Family Chair in Schizophrenia and Related Disorders. “More research is ahead of us but it appears that a single massage may deliver a measurable benefit.”

Among the study’s results:

  • People in the Swedish massage group experienced significant changes in lymphocytes ,(lymphocyte numbers and percentages white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body from disease.
  • Swedish massage caused a large decrease (effect size -.74) in Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior and linked to helping cause increases in the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Swedish massage caused a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Swedish massage caused a notable decrease in most cytokines produced by stimulated white blood cells.

Massage Combined with Resistance Reduces Hamstring Tightness

http://www.massagemag.com/News/massage-news.php?id=14308&catid=1&title=Massage%20Combined%20with%20Resistance%20Reduces%20Hamstring%20Tightness#

posted 9/14/2013

New research shows massage combined with eccentric elastic resistance significantly improves hamstring flexibility.

“A great deal of research has been conducted on a wide variety of techniques that improve hamstring flexibility,” explained Jeffrey Forman, Ph.D., N.C.T.M.B. “However, little research has been done on the effects of combining deep stripping massage strokes (DSMS) with eccentric resistance.”

This research investigated the effects that DSMS alone and combining DSMS with eccentric resistance have on hamstring length and strength.

Sixty-four people between the ages of 18 and 62 who had one or both hamstrings tight, and with no history of knee, thigh or lower back problems for one year before the study, participated. For the study, a tight hamstring was defined as a 15-degree or more deficit in passive knee extension.

On the more flexible hamstring, or non-dominant if of equal flexibility, participants received a deep stripping massage, which consisted of 15, 10-second DSMS that covered the entire breadth of the hamstring from insertion to origin at a pressure of seven out of 10 on a verbal pressure scale.

On the tighter hamstring, eccentric resistance was added using a Green Thera-Band® professional resistance band. To perform the Active Muscle Therapy intervention, the participants were prone with the band attached to their ankle with a Thera-Band extremity strap. The other end of the

band was attached to the massage table so that there was no slack through out the full range of knee extension motion.

After being passively placed into 90 degrees of knee flexion, they lowered their leg against the pull of the resistance band for a 10-count while a massage therapist provided the same DSMS that were applied to the other leg. On both hamstrings, the massage therapist used a Green Thera-Band Hand Exerciser as a shock absorber in their massaging hand and Prossage® Heat as a lubricant.

The participants’ hamstring flexibility and strength were recorded before and after the two interventions. Both techniques resulted in significant increases in hamstring flexibility; however, the hamstring receiving the deep stripping massage with eccentric resistance increased significantly more than the hamstring receiving massage alone.

Massage alone increased 6.3 percent, while massage with eccentric exercise increased 10.7 percent. There was no significant change in strength after either intervention.

“The results of this study indicate that utilizing DSMS with eccentric resistance improved flexibility to a greater extent than DSMS alone,” said Forman.

The study was conducted at De Anza College in Cupertino, California, in collaboration with the Wichita State University Department of Human Performance Studies. Their findings were published ahead of print in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.