When most people think of massage, they think massage is used to promote relaxation and well being. And while this is certainly one aspect of massage therapy, it can also be used to boost the immune system. In fact, the regular application of massage can promote an increase in white blood cells, which are responsible for attacking foreign invaders within the body like infections and cancer.
It’s unclear as to what causes this reaction, and more study needs to be done, but preliminary research suggests a reduction in stress allows the body to heal itself more efficiently. When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol. This hormone reduces the number of white blood cells in the body and leaves you more susceptible to infections and diseases. But if the cortisol level is reduced, the number of white blood cells increases, which also helps to improve immune function. Massage is thought to help accomplish this.